By Olivia Cuccaro
Bidding on an important timepiece is as much about the make as it is about the former owner. From influential politicians to leading athletes, owning a timepiece once worn by a US legend is owning a piece of the country’s very history. On June 21, Christie’s will hold its Rare Watches and American Icons auction in New York, set to encompass timepieces from 20th-century greats.
The standout lot is a Cartier 18K gold square-shaped wristwatch belonging to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, wife of President John F. Kennedy. Visible in many famous photographs of Jackie O, the timepiece was presented to her by her brother-in-law, Prince Stanislaw ‘Stas’ Radziwill, in February 1963. The timepiece is engraved with the inscription ‘Stas to Jackie, 23 Feb. 1963. 2.05am to 9.35am,’ in commemoration of the 50-mile hike at Palm Beach on which she, JFK and Prince Radziwill embarked to highlight the fitness of the US military. A painting was gifted along with the wristwatch and will accompany the timepiece at auction.
Another nod to US presidents at this sale is a Hamilton two-tone gold filled asymmetrical wristwatch with center seconds and black dial belonging to the 36th President of the US, Lyndon B. Johnson. The baseball fan will admire a Cartier 18K gold Twenty Dollar Coin watch gifted to New York gangster Bumpy Johnson by Babe Ruth, as well as the Audemars Piguet 18K white gold square-shaped wristwatch, Eska & Relide 18K gold Ten Dollar Coin wristwatch and gilt-brass desk clock belonging to Joe DiMaggio.
Other prominent timepieces up for auction include a Jaeger-LeCoultre stainless steel wristwatch gifted from John Jacob ‘Jakey’ Astor VI, a Jaeger-LeCoultre 14K gold triple date wristwatch belonging to TV personality Bob Hope, a Rolex stainless steel automatic wristwatch worn by scientist John Vanderwalker and an extremely rare Heuer stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with center seconds with Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo.
If you’re more inclined toward iconic jewels than iconic timepieces, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction will feature exceptional fancy colored and colorless diamonds – including the sensational 18.04-carat Rockefeller Emerald.
Christie’s New York is located at 20 Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020. For more information on these lots and upcoming Christie’s auctions, please visit christies.com.