The whereabouts of the most famous fake watch in the world and the one that could easily fetch the highest ever price at auction are unknown. Buzz Aldrin’s perfect replica Omega Speedmaster, worn when he walked on the moon shortly after Neil Armstrong had taken his famous first steps (the latter left his own Speedmaster on the lunar module as back-up), went mysteriously missing on its way to the Smithsonian Museum where it was due to be displayed shortly after Aldrin’s return.
No ransom note emerged, the postman didn’t find it at the bottom of his sack, and it hasn’t been seen since.
In hindsight, at a time when ownership by a mere actor, never mind a world-famous astronaut, can add several zeros to a watch’s value, it’s astonishing that the security around Aldrin’s luxury fake watches uk was so lax.
Today it would be delivered in a bomb-proof truck with an armed guard or two. But Aldrin, perhaps suffering from some kind of post-mission cosmic comedown, shipped it in a cardboard box by standard post. Big mistake!
Aldrin’s watch could turn up one day—Scott Carpenter’s best replica Breitling Cosmonaute, the first wristwatch in space, recently resurfaced after going missing for sixty years—but until then we can only guess at the kind of figure it would bring.
Missing Moonwatch aside, there are a host of other high quality replica watches with famous owners that have vanished over the years, pieces that would have wealthy watch collectors reaching for their cheque books faster than you could say ‘Newman Daytona’.
Here are five we’d love to see resurface one day.
Sugar Ray Robinson’s Fake Patek Philippe
Back in the 1950s, before Muhammad Ali had swung his first punch, Sugar Ray Robinson was the king of the ring, achieving 109 of his 174 wins by knockout. Outside of the ring he was a flamboyant personality credited with being the first athlete to be surrounded by an entourage – friends, agents and sycophantic flunkies catering to his every whim.
Known for his unerring sense of style, Robinson purchased a rare rose-gold version of a cheap replica Patek Philippe 1518—a perpetual calendar chronograph of which just 281 were made—at the official AAA quality fake Patek Philippe boutique in Geneva in the 1950s. Alas it was stolen from his dressing room during a fight in Italy a few months later.
Given that an identical copy watch online (pictured) sold at Phillips for $2.3 million in 2019, it’s safe to say that if Robinson’s was discovered and came up for sale it would trump that.
Hunter S Thompson’s Replica Rolex GMT-Master
While the cheap fake Rolex GMT-Master frequently worn by literary loose-cannon Hunter S Thompson is probably in the possession of his widow, Anita, it hasn’t been seen since he died in 2005. Should it ever show up for auction, it would attract serious interest from buyers and be a very cool watch to own, given its previous owner and his notoriety.
Thompson, who wore a 16700 ‘Coke’ version similar to the ‘Pepsi’ one pictured above, made several references to his high quality replica Rolexes (he is believed to have owned more than one during his lifetime) in his writing. In one memoir he writes of being in Saigon at the tail-end of the Vietnam War and selling a Swiss copy Rolex for $200 so that he could pay his tailor.
Could that super clone watch turn up in a Vietnam pawnshop one of these days? Even if it does, we’ll probably never know.