October 30, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on October 29, 2018

It’s not quite Halloween, but we definitely had a massively scary powerful storm last night. It raged through the whole night and its straggling remains still blow hither and yon, even in the blazing sunshine breaking through cloud gaps this morning. The clouds look like they’ve been in a fight, and now, in daylight bright, are trying to compose themselves into something slightly more coherently cloudish, as opposed to a shredded aftermath of a night in Bedlam.

W. was mildly obsessed over the past three days or so with the $17.5 million auction sale of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona to an undisclosed buyer. He read to me a fascinating account (probably in Watchville or Hodinkee) of the actual auction. Elsewhere, he also happened to be reading about Stalin, who (surprise…) collected watches. It makes me wonder: a mass murdering dictator as watch collector? What does that say? And who bought the Daytona? A Chinese or Russian oligarch?

Turns out Vladimir Putin likes wristwatches – collectible, expensive ones. What if he was the Daytona’s undisclosed buyer? What if collecting “time pieces” bonds him to Stalin? Control of time, by proxy? The universe as a clockwork? Buying a piece of blonde, blue-eyed (Paul Newman) Americana by obtaining the Daytona? There has to be a fetish element for anyone who spends that kind of money on a watch.

Also interesting: the auctioneer (Aurel Bacs) started at $1 million, and a telephone bidder immediately jumped to $10 million, which eliminated the sixteen meat-suits in the room and left sixteen virtual bodies bidding via phone. Whoever bought this watch probably knew of this bold move to hoist the bidding to a “floor” of $10 million (if it wasn’t the winner himself), and in the winning bidder’s mind, he “only” paid $7.5 million, the amount over the $10 million “floor.” If I were rich, that’s what I’d think.

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