The Classicist: The Ultimate Steve McQueen Sale
There are only six Steve McQueen lots in Antiquorum's Important Collectors' Wristwatches auction in New York on June 11, but they include the famed King of Cool's two favorite timepieces and as such the sale represents an extremely important occasion for any enthusiast. As we've noted in the past, McQueen's rugged sportiness, authentic masculinity and innate good taste have inspired countless fashion designers, not to mention scores of other actors who followed in his wake. His watches are style icons in and of themselves.
Foremost is his Heuer "Monaco" chronograph, which he wore during the filming of the classic 1971 racing movie Le Mans (above). The Monaco was originally launched by Heuer in 1969 in honor of the Monaco Grand Prix. It's an unusual, square convex, water-resistant, stainless steel self-winding wristwatch with chronograph and date; Tag Heuer recently released a new version in tribute to the great actor. Following the filming of Le Mans, McQueen presented the watch to his financial advisor in appreciation.
Antiquorum has set a ridiculously low estimate of $10,000 - $20,000 on the timepiece, no doubt to encourage more people to bid. As we mentioned just the other day, however, McQueen memorabilia has been fetching high prices at auction. One collector just paid $42,700 - more than four times its estimate - for an International Driver's License issued to the actor in 1964. The watch could easily fetch 10 times its estimate, if not more. Perhaps Brad Pitt, a huge McQueen fan who's said to be playing the actor in an upcoming biopic, will snap it up.
Gallery: Steve McQueen at Antiquorum
Finally, Antiquorum is offering one of McQueen's most valuable vintage motorcycles as well, a 1929 Scott 596cc Super Squirrel restored, painted and pinstriped in the 1970s by the legendary Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard. The bike features the infamous Von Dutch 'flying eyeball' logo affixed in cloisonné to the toolbox, while the Scott Motorcycle Company logos are all hand-painted and finished in gold leaf. Prior to his death McQueen gifted the bike back to Von Dutch, who later sold it to a collector. Until recently the bike was on display at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and is estimated at $80,000 - $120,000.