The Best Watches from Fortuna's No-Reserve Auction

On Tuesday, July 9, Fortuna Auction hosted a “No-Reserve Watches” Auction, featuring 106 lots. Usually, lots offered at auction have a “reserve price” and if the final bid doesn’t meet or exceed that price, the lot will be pulled. Since all these watches had no reserve prices, they were all going home with someone new by the end of the night, like a puppy at an adoption center event. Let’s take a look at a few of the watches that sold.

patek calatrava 96

First, doesn’t the photo above illustrate why we always take photos of watches at 10:10? There’s something about this watch being set to 3 o’clock that looks off. Anyway, this is a baby watch from 1944, measuring just 30mm in diameter.

Patek Philippe first introduced the Reference 96 in 1932 and it was in production until the early 1970s. The model was also the first to introduce number references to Patek’s collection. Being a child of the 30s, the Reference 96 was inspired by the minimalist Bauhaus aesthetic of the day, though this particular example does add some flourish with Bregeut-style numerals on the dial.

The reference 96 came in many variations throughout its 40-year production. This particular example dates to 1944, and the syringe hands do give it a sportier, military-style feel than some other Reference 96 examples. Inside ticks Patek’s manual wind caliber 12-120.

Lot 106 price: $6,875

Heuer Monaco Reference 1133G

heuer monaco 1133g

As I began writing about this Monaco, I almost forgot that Hodinkee’s Bring A Loupe featured it a few weeks ago. Being featured there no doubt helped this watch surpass its estimate ($5,000 to $10,000), selling for $11,250. And with everyone going crazy for the 50th anniversary of the Monaco, this watch is having something of a moment right now. As Hodinkee wrote, this particular example is slightly “less loud” than the iconic Steve McQueen colorway, though it’s not entirely possible for an architectural behemoth like this to shrink into the background. Nor do I think you’d want it to if this is your wristwatch of choice for the day. Regardless, with all the hype around modern and 50th anniversary editions, it’s nice to see a classic example like this get the attention it deserves and sell for a hefty sum.

Lot 30 price: $11,250

Heuer Reference 1806 Triple Calendar in Steel

heuer 1806 triple calendar

While Heuer would become known primarily for its chronographs in the 1960s (Carrera, Monaco [see above], Camaro, you know the names), it was making watches with all types of complications in the 1950s. There was the Heuer Twin Time, and of course, Triple Calendars, a staple of Heuer production as early as the 1940s. Here is an example of a Reference 1806 triple calendar from the 50s, measuring 34mm in diameter. While Heuer also started to make triple calendar chronographs around this time, the triple calendars have a nice complicated look without seeming too busy. While a lot of brands were making triple calendars in the middle of the century, Heuers are some of the most interesting (and most affordable) out there right now.

Lot 23 price: $1,250