All eyes are on the million-dollar watch of Vietnam's last emperor

By Vi Vu   May 10, 2017 | 02:06 am PT
Bao Dai bought it in Geneva in 1954, and the watch will be waiting for its next owner in the same city.

Rolex enthusiasts are excited for the Geneva Watch Auction next month, where the most legendary Rolex, once owned by Vietnam’s last emperor Bao Dai, will be up for grabs.

It is a typical Rolex, a small 36mm yellow gold triple calendar moon phase, the rare reference 6062. It has a black dial and a few diamond indices.

The watch ages well. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that its history is making it unique and desirable.

Bao Dai, which means “keeper of greatness,” was the final heir of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last ruling family who reigned in Hue from 1802 to 1945.

Bao Dai was officially emperor in 1926 at age 12, but he did not take the throne until 1932 after returning from study in France.

He reportedly went to shop for the Rolex when he was in Geneva in the spring of 1954 to attend the Geneva Convention, which separated Vietnam into two.

A referendum in South Vietnam in 1955 removed him. He spent the remaining of his life abroad until he died in 1997 in Paris.

In 2002, his relatives consigned the watch for auction at Phillips in 2002. The watch went to a private collector for the then record-setting $235,000.

The watch is currently in New York and estimated at $1.5 million. Phillips and Aurel Bacs have received it for the June auction in Geneva.

According to Bloomberg, collectors believe it can once again become the most expensive Rolex ever sold at an auction, if it can break the $2.5 million bid given to a split-seconds chronograph reference 4113 a year ago.

So if you want to feel like a king, get ready to pay up.

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