The Most Popular Watches of 2023

Dawsons delight watch collectors globally


With the year-end fast approaching, we take a closer look at the most popular watches sold at Dawsons over the past twelve months. Our bespoke in-house marketing ensures that watch collectors all over the world are alerted to any timepieces that we sell, which ensures the best prices are achieved for our clients.

In November, we were delighted to offer for sale the watch that many collectors regard as the prototype of what would come to be known as the Rolex Explorer. In fact, the ref 6150 is also known as the Pre-Explorer. This reference was the first to show the black 3-6-9 dial coupled with the Mercedes style hands which are now the accepted hallmarks for any Explorer. The 6150 is an extremely rare reference as it was only produced for one year, 1953.


The Rolex pre explorer

 An incredibly rare Rolex Precision Pre-Explorer ref. 6150 watch

Sold for £19,000


Patek Philippe launched the Nautilus collection in 1976 with the release of, the now highly collectible, reference 3700. Several years later, a scaled down version was produced in an endeavour to widen the appeal of the range, thus reference 3800 was born. In June, Dawsons offered this elusive double-signed Beyer dial Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref: 3800/1JA. The owner was a music producer, and when the watch sold for £19,000 it was certainly music to his ears!


An elusive double-signed Beyer dial Patek Philippe Nautilus Automatic Steel & Gold midi-size Watch Ref: 3800 1JA

An elusive double-signed Beyer dial Patek Philippe Nautilus Automatic Steel & Gold midi-size Watch Ref: 3800/1JA

Sold for £19,000


In the same sale, a Patek Philippe Calatrava Black Dial Ref: 96 went under the hammer. Inherited from the original owner, the vendor had no idea of the value of this watch, and it lay in a drawer for many years before being brought to us. The Calatrava symbol was registered as a trademark of Patek Philippe & Cie, on April 27th, 1887. The name derives from the ornate Calatrava cross, which was first used on the marching banners of the Calatrava knights who defended the Calatrava fortress against the Moors in 1158. Whilst this symbol only started prominently appearing on Patek Philippe watches from the 1960s, the launch of the Calatrava range in 1932 is significant. The Calatrava is considered the most important watch in the history of Patek Philippe, providing a “blueprint” for modern day “time only” dress watches. Therefore, it was no surprise that fierce competition for this watch ended with a closing bid of £18,500.


Patek Philippe Calatrava Black Dial

A Patek Philippe Calatrava Black Dial Ref: 96

Sold for £18,500



In July, we were privileged to sell an Omega Constellation watch owned by a family with roots firmly in South America. Depicting an enamelled observatory scene on the dial, it delighted enthusiasts and collectors alike finally selling for £13,500.

Given to the owner by Middle Eastern Royalty for services rendered in private security, the Dawsons team were excited to offer up for sale a limited-edition Cartier Ballon Bleu XL Platinum ref: 3377. It certainly generated interest from an international audience and eventually sold for £8,800 in our August auction.


A limited edition Cartier Ballon Bleu XL Platinum ref: 3377

A limited edition Cartier Ballon Bleu XL Platinum ref: 3377

Sold for £8,800


This Girard Perregaux Laureato Automatic 81005 watch, featuring a white dial and rose gold bezel, attracted keen interest selling for £7,200 in February.

In May, we were thrilled to offer an 18-carat gold Bulgari 'Serpenti' Tubogas bracelet watch, which formed part of a private North London collection. The Serpenti range was launched in 1948 with a watch and remains a hugely popular collection of jewellery and watches from Bulgari to this day. Inspired by the snake, it featured a teardrop shaped dial representing the head, and a flexible bracelet strap which wraps around the wrist. Bidding was fierce and finally concluded at £8,500.


Bulgari SerpentiAn 18-carat gold Bulgari Bvlgari 'Serpenti' Tubogas bracelet watch

Sold for £8,500



A timeless watch, and considered one of the best investment watches, the Rolex Submariner continues to attract collectors worldwide. In March, we presented ref. 14060M model, with a black dial and Oyster bracelet strap, which sold for £5,500.


A Rolex Submariner ref 14060M

A Rolex Submariner ref. 14060M

Sold for £5,500


From a private estate in North London, in April Dawsons offered a Heuer Carerra 2447 S Poly wristwatch which eventually sold for £5,000.


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Do you have any luxury brand watches that you are thinking about selling?

With a global audience of over 10 million, Dawsons can obtain the best price for you.

Please do get in touch with a Specialist for sales advice. We would be delighted to help:

0207 431 9445 /