WHAT SEALED THE DEAL: The long game, or why it took me 10 years to buy this Daytona

WHAT SEALED THE DEAL: The long game, or why it took me 10 years to buy this Daytona

Julian Sack

I have been collecting for many years now and I have learned to be patient. It must be said, though, that my patience has often cost me a few pieces, as I felt they were too expensive, or not good enough, and another would be found for a better price or in better condition (read, every Paul Newman I have ever been offered and turned down, but that’s another story).

Take, for example, this watch. I first learned about it about 10 years ago when the owner proudly disclosed that he had a pristine Daytona with box and papers in his safe. He was not sure of the reference number, but it had a black dial and TWO bezels. One black acrylic on the watch, and the original stainless steel one. My interest was piqued and I enquired further.

Are you interested in selling?

Maybe? Make me an offer?

I hate these conversations … make me an offer is an open invitation to paying premium prices. So, I made him an offer (a very generous one for 2008). He said he’d think about it, and I never heard back. I dropped it, until we caught up a few years later.

How are you? Are you still thinking of selling?

Yes, sure, make me an offer.

So, I did. Obviously a few times more than five years previously. Again, he was interested, but he was also thinking about keeping it for one of his sons. I know how it goes, but I told him to let me know if he ever changed his mind.

We meet up often in the next few years. The Daytona comes up, but nothing ever comes of it. Then, earlier this year, Phillips hold the Daytona Ultimatum auction and suddenly the interest to sell is back. Figures are thrown back and forth, but no decisions are made. Two weeks later, I get a text asking for an absolute final number. In two seconds flat he has his answer. Silence for two days.

Then: Yes! The watch is yours.

I’m sceptical but slightly excited. To complicate the picture, I have never seen the watch in person; only had it described to me. No case number either, which worries me a little. I comfort myself with the fact that I had made my offer based on a perfect watch, with matching case and dial. If things don’t add up, I can always retract my offer.

I get a pic taken with an iPhone. Looks promising.

The first time Julian ever saw the watch, in a pretty average iPhone picture.

We meet and he brings the watch. It’s a ref. 6265 with Bakelite bezel, but he’s got an original stainless steel bezel. Lovely silver sigma dial, too.

Now with stainless bezel.

I take it into Rolex and ask them to change the bezel. They’re happy to oblige, as long as I get it fully serviced for $1600. I say, thanks but no thanks. I do manage to learn that the case number is a perfect match for the dial. I take it to my watchmaker who pops off the Bakelite bezel and puts the perfect stainless steel bezel on.

It’s all in the details.

The watch is perfect. After 10 years of waiting, the Daytona is mine.