Up For Auction: 8 Rare Watches From Michael Schumacher

One Rolex grail, an AP, and no less than six F.P. Journes make a killer 8-watch portfolio.

No one can dispute Schumi’s importance on the track, with Ferrari flashes of red a distinct part of his watches and iconic career. Eight pieces are being auctioned by Christie’s, but it doesn’t remove the melancholy of knowing we might never see him as a trackside elder statesman and motorsport ambassador.

Michael Schumacher was a very private person, and his legend lives on despite the myths of his reclusive life since the 2013 skiing accident that left him severely disabled. Part of the May 14th Rare Watches auction by Christie’s — pushed back by a day after some technical issues at Christie’s over the weekend — shows Schumi’s impeccable taste in watches, with a majority from Genevan Independent maestro Francois-Paul Journe.

Rémi Guillemin, Christie’s Head of Watches Europe and US says: “What an exciting moment it is for all of us at Christie’s to share these masterpieces of horology with passionate collectors around the globe. We are thrilled to present these iconic and unique timepieces belonging to one of the most celebrated Formula 1 legends of all time.”

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph (ref.25960BC)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph (ref. 25960BC)
Photo: Christie’s Images LTD 2024.

The Royal Oak, penned by the much-lauded watch designer Gerald Genta, is today one of the top three wrist grails collectors and red-carpet stars aspire to. And with its sleek, angular design, there is good reason for its popularity, though Schumi’s Chronograph has a more playful character. This reference comes in weighty 18K white gold, with a specially commissioned dial and a wealth of red detail on the tapisserie dial. This includes a racing helmet, trademark Cavallino Rampante (prancing horse, now you know) within a svelte 39mm case. (Estimate: CHF 150,000 – 250,000)

Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” (ref.6262)

rolex auction Michael Schumacher Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” (ref.6262)
Photo: Christie’s Images LTD 2024.

The Paul Newman Daytona is the daddy of all Rolex grails, known for its stratospheric value on the auction block. Paul Newman’s own sold for $ 17.8 million, making Schumi’s steel bezel model seem like a steal, even at its top $460,000 USD estimate. The ref.6262 Daytona with its hand-wound Valjoux caliber is one of the rarest versions of the top dog Rolex, with only a handful being produced between 1970 and 72. This ref.6262 has a monochrome cool broken by a few understated red details. (Estimate: CHF 200,000 – 400,000)

F.P. Journe Vagabondage 1 (Circa 2004, Pièce Unique)

Michael Schumacher F.P. Journe Vagabondage 1 (Circa 2004, Pièce Unique)
Photo: Christie’s Images LTD 2024.

Something is alluring about the hand-crafted wristwatches from the Genevan house of Francois-Paul Journe. And his watches have outpaced Rolex and Patek at auction lately, while the usual suspects have failed to bust their estimates. We’re used to F.P.’s neutral tones and textured gold dials imbued with stealth wealth, but this one-off version of the Vagabondage is the polar opposite. Within the eye-catching Platinum case, the central balance is encircled by red with a less-than-subtle but charming prancing horse, racing helmet, and 7 symbols of his F1 championships. A quirky jump-hour watch and a bold choice for collectors. (Estimate: CHF 1,000,000 – 2,000,000)

F.P.Journe Ruthenium Collection Set

Michael Schumacher F.P.Journe Ruthenium Collection Set
Photo: Christie’s Images LTD 2024.

The dark briefcase containing no less than 5 Platinum watches with Ruthenium-coated movements and dials is perhaps the understated star of the auction for us. And while the watches do not include flashes of red or racing memorabilia, they say more about Schumacher as a seasoned watch aficionado. Seeing these complete sets on view, not to mention at auction and complete, is a very rare occurrence, and they are being sold separately.

Even by calculating the lowest estimates of all 5, you’ll be over USD $1.2 million, so check your savings before entering the race. One of the 5-watch case stars is the Tourbillon Souverain, arguably Journe’s most famous wristwatch model. After its launch in 1999, it received the ‘Aiguille d’Or prize at the Geneva ‘Grand Prix d’Horlogerie in 2004 and won the ‘Watch of the Year grand prize in Japan in the same year.  (Estimate: CHF 300,000 – 500,000)

Also included in the monochrome case is F.P Journe’s quirky Chronograph the Octo Chronographe, with only 313 examples ever made across all production and metals. The Octa has the same basic (understatement of the year) caliber 1300 as other Octa models but with an integrated stopwatch function on the dial plate. The value is on par with the other 4 pieces of Genevan Haute Horology on offer in the five-watch case, including a Chronometre a Resonance and an Octa Calendrier. (Estimate: CHF 150,000 – 250,000)