We’ve just found out that a quartz Seiko watch from the 1980s, that was owned and worn by Steve Jobs, just sold at auction for $42,500 – and we’d bet cash money that’s the highest price anyone has ever paid for a simple quartz Seiko reference 6431-6030. The sale was part of an auction that included several other pieces of Steve Jobs memorabilia, authenticated by his long-time house manager, Mr. Mark Sheff (a letter of authenticity is also included).
The watch itself is pretty much as unremarkable as a watch can get: an inexpensive quartz Seiko that Jobs, if the condition of the strap is any indication, bought and then wore daily, probably without giving it a lot of thought. However, the thing that elevates it to historic treasure status is that it’s the watch Jobs was wearing in 1984 when one of the most iconic photographs of Apple’s co-founder was taken: that of him with the very first Macintosh computer sitting on his lap.
The photo is from a session with Jobs by world-famous photographer Norman Seeff (whose work you’ll recognize instantly if you don’t already know it) and took place at Jobs’ home in Woodside, California, in 1984.
Seeff would later go on to tell Time magazine, “We were just sitting, talking about creativity and everyday stuff in his living room. I was beginning to build a level of intimacy with him, and then he rushed off, and came back in and plopped down in that pose. He spontaneously sat down with a Macintosh in his lap. I got the shot the first time. We did do a few more shots later on, and he even did a few yoga poses – he lifted his leg and put it over his shoulder – and I just thought we were two guys hanging out, chatting away, and enjoying the relationship. It wasn’t like there was a conceptualization here – this was completely off the cuff, spontaneity that we never thought would become a magazine image.” You can view more of Seeff’s work, including a shot of Jobs at his desk in Cupertino, right here.
There was other Jobs memorabilia in the auction (including a pair of Birkenstocks that went for over $2,000, which is probably also a record) and you can see the whole listing right here (though you’ll need to register with the auctioneers, Heritage Auctions, in order to see it).
Whoever got this watch just got a memento of an instant in time when the world as we knew it really was poised to change in ways no one could have expected. Not a horological extravaganza by any means, but here at HODINKEE our office runs on Apple and for that reason alone, this is a piece of Jobs ephemera we’d have loved to have.
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