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Discussing Marilyn Monroe and her Blancpain Beauty with...
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Discussing Marilyn Monroe and her Blancpain Beauty with Julien’s Auctions

Thursday, 09 March 2017
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William McNish
Strategic Planner at RE-UP

“There is nothing quite as beautiful as the spark in a person's eye when you bring up something they are passionate about.”

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4 min read

Late last year Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles held an exceptional Marilyn Monroe sale which promised nothing less than the largest ever collection of items once belonging to the world’s most famous starlet. The show’s star? A Blancpain cocktail watch, which hadn’t been seen since 1962.

The auction itself broke a world record and raised almost $11 million with the platinum and diamond cocktail watch pulling in a massive $225,000. It was won by Marc A. Hayek, Blancpain President and CEO who was quoted saying “We are thrilled to have this exceptional timepiece, which was once owned by America’s most iconic star, return to its original home in Switzerland.”

The HH Journal caught up with Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien’s Auctions to see what he had to say about the iconic auction and the star herself.

In a year with so much hype around Marilyn Monroe, what made the auction so special?

This was a very special auction celebrating Marilyn’s life and career in what would have been her 90th birthday. This auctioned not only celebrated Marilyn as the screen icon she was, but also as a talented poet, a writer and an artist.

Why do you think Monroe still manages to captivate audiences and auctions in 2016?

Marilyn Monroe passed away at age 36 and her youthful blonde image is captured in our hearts and minds today as she was one of the most photographed people of all time.

Marilyn Monroe's Blancpain cocktail watch
How was the mood of the audience during the auction?

The auction room was filled with nervous bidders, excited fans and media from around the world who witnessed this historic event celebrating the life and career of Marilyn Monroe, a true icon.

What effect do you think a piece being owned by Marilyn Monroe has on it (other than the price)?

Marilyn Monroe’s legacy lives on in her movies, her photographs and the items she owned or wore or touched in her short life. Museums and fans and collectors/investors from around the world want to own something owned by Marilyn Monroe helping to keep her memory alive.

Is there more interest from specific demographics?

Marilyn Monroe is a global icon beloved all over the world and this was reflected in the auction with bidders worldwide competing to take home something to keep her memory alive.

Was the watch the most expensive Blancpain piece you’ve ever sold?

The Blancpain watch was one of the most expensive watches we ever sold. Of course the dress that Marilyn wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden sold for $4.8 million setting a world record.

What made the watch ultimately stand out?

The Blancpain watch was highly sought after because it was such a beautiful piece but also because it was the only piece of fine jewellery owned by Marilyn Monroe to be auctioned and therefore there was a bidding frenzy.

A bit of prediction: which actress or icon of our times could be the next Marilyn in 50 years, if any?

Marilyn Monroe is a true bluechip icon and the value of her collectability increases every year with great interest from Asia and worldwide. It’s hard to predict who the next bluechip icon will be but we are certainly watching closely.

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