Apr 9, 2012
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Fans of French star Delon stump up at watch auction

Apr 9, 2012

PARIS - Chinese buyers showed their economic clout in Paris Thursday at an auction of watches owned by French film idol Alain Delon, with prices going through the roof.

Some of the watches for sale at the auction / Photo: Cornette de Saint-Cyr

Auction house Cornette de Saint-Cyr told AFP that the sale brought in a total of 443,875 euros ($590,300) as collectors and fans thronged the room while many buyers, especially in China, took part by phone.

Delon was not present for the sale of 100 watches he had collected over 50 years, including top names such as Rolex, Cartier, Blancpain, Audemars-Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and Breitling.

Before the Paris sale the watches were put on show in Hong Kong where Delon is immensely popular.

The jewel of the sale, an Audemars-Piguet "Royal Oak" worn by Delon in "Comme un boomerang" (1976), "Parole de flic" (1985) and "Ne reveillez pas un flic qui dort" (1988), went to a Chinese buyer for 68,750 euros - way above its 2,500 euro estimate.

Another star was a Cartier Tank, which sold for 68,750 euros compared with a 1,800 euro estimate.

In November Alain Delon's wine collection was sold for a total of 250,412 euros - more than 2.5 times expectations.

The 76-year-old Delon - who was hospitalised for 24 hours this week for heart problems-- has said he wanted to get rid of his collections because he preferred "to do this now" as he "hates posthumous sales."

Born in 1935, Delon has starred in around 100 films over five decades and worked with directors such as Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Pierre Melville, Joseph Losey and Jean-Luc Godard.

Often cast as a ruthless, steely-eyed bad boy - typified by the 1970 gangster flick "Borsalino" - Delon proved his versatility in other roles, such as a morally ambiguous wartime art dealer in "Monsieur Klein".

His personal life has been closely intertwined with film, notably featuring relationships with actresses including Romy Schneider, Mireille Darc and Nathalie Delon.

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