Elton John’s Leopard-Print Rolex Daytona Just Set a New World Auction Record

Elton John, of course, is known for his extravagant wardrobe. So it’s no surprise that he would have equally attention-grabbing wrist candy to match.

The Rocket Man’s leopard Rolex Daytona was just one part of the singer’s private collection—which was housed in his former Atlanta condo, no less—that achieved an impressive $8 million on the opening night of Christie’s Collection of Sir Elton John Goodbye Peachtree Road sale. The event placed just 49 lots, including Richard Avedon photos, Versace porcelain, and more, on the block for its first evening, but it was John’s dazzling animal-print timepiece that set a new world auction record for the model.

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The signed ref. 116598 comes with a 40 mm case crafted from 18-karat gold. The watch was made circa 2001, according to Christie’s, but it made its debut at the 2004 Basel Fair, where its outlandish design made waves. Besides that leopard-print dial, the timepiece has a bezel encrusted with 36 square-cut yellow sapphires and hoods donning 48 brilliant-cut diamonds. Eight diamond-set numerals are also displayed on the model, which hammered down for $176,400, or $116,000 more than its high-sales estimate of $60,000.

Elton John's Yamaha Grand Piano and Banksy artwork that sold at Christies New York on February 21.
Elton John’s Yamaha Grand Piano and Banksy artwork that sold at Christies New York on February 21.

Although the zany timepiece is quite captivating, it wasn’t the top lot. That title went to Banksy’s Flower Thrower Triptych, which the “Candle in the Wind” singer acquired directly from the artist. The 2017 work—made with spray paint on canvas—displays a man setting up to throw a bouquet of flowers across three various-sized frames. Estimated to sell for between $1 million and $1.5 million, it ultimately raked in a cool $1,925,500.

A pair of silver leather tall platform boots and Sir Winston Eyeware prescription sunglasses also skyrocketed past their estimates. The former dons red leather letters “E” and “J” and sold for $94,500—19 times its low-sales estimate of $5,000. Meanwhile, the groovy sunglasses, circa 1975, sold for $22,680—which was 11 times the low estimate. Elsewhere, the musician’s 1990 Bentley Continental that traveled with him from Atlanta to the South of France raked in a whopping $441,000. The sum exceeded its low estimate of $25,000.

The singer's 1990 Bentley Continental
The singer’s 1990 Bentley Continental

Two more watches achieved extraordinary results in the sale, too. John’s limited-edition Cartier Crash sold for $277,200, which is nearly four times its low sales estimate of $70,000. A signed Cartier Tank Normale also flew off the block for $176,400, almost nine times its low estimate of $20,000, marking a record sale for the model. Vintage Gianni Versace silk shirts and porcelain dishes, plus a Yamaha Grand Piano rounded out the auction.

“It was a privilege to auction Elton John’s inspiring collection,” says Tash Perrin, deputy chairman, Christie’s Americas in a statement. The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road auction continued on Thursday with the Day Sale. A second session will take place on Friday, and online sales will be open for bidding from February 27 through 28.

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