Christie’s Auction in Geneva – ‘Important Watches’ May 12, 2014
With one of this year’s biggest vintage watch auctions organised by Christie’s in Geneva coming up (tomorrow) we thought to bring our favourite pieces that we managed to get our hands on! All of the 440 lots definitely hold high value in the world of horology and many will appeal to hundreds of collectors around the world. However we decided to pick what we consider the very best and most interesting watches for our audience and give a brief presentation on each of them.
First up – Lot #058 is a Patek Philippe 18K pink gold chronograph reference 1463. What is most notable on this 35mm cased Patek is the two-tone silvered dial and its great condition. In fact it is believed to be only the second ref.1463 seen by the public like this since its production in 1952! And for a gold watch made over 60 years ago it looks like it almost hasn’t been worn, thus the estimate between 150’000 – 250’000 CHF ($170,909 – $284,848)
Next lot #281 is yet another Patek Philippe chronograph ref. 1463 made of 18K gold and unlike the previous lot it is the third series of this reference. Usually that would mean that the dial for this model is changed because it was not as successful as the previous two series, but this model stays 100% original and in a good condition, manufactured in 1969. What is even more notable is the ‘Tiffany & Co.” writing at 6 o’clock of the dial because this model was retailed by Tiffany. The estimate ranges between 150’000 – 250’000 CHF ($170,909 – $284,848), just like the lot#058.
Finally – lot #181, last but definitely not least ref.1463 is the one made in stainless steel. On a bracelet. In 1942. That could have been all, and price of this very collectible watch would be high enough, but there’s more! In 1945 it was bought by Arnold Schweizer, founder of Caran d’Ache (Swiss brand for high-end writing tools), and before servicing in 1995 it had the initials of his wife engraved into the back case. Today the watch is in good condition and ready to be sold for the estimate of 180,000 – 300,000 CHF ($205,091 – $341,818).
Moving on from the Patek Philippe chronographs we visit the best of A. Lange & Sohne and the lot #392 – a unique white gold tourbillon Pour le Merite number 101/150 made in 1998. And even though it’s numbered 101 it really is a unique piece due to a specially made black solid silver dial and white rhodium-plated dagger numerals that only exists on this particular watch and is backed up with a certificate. We all know and value Lange’s tourbillons for great precision and skill and craftsmanship that went into creating every single watch, so there is no doubt this piece is a great collectible, with an estimate of 150’000 – 250’000 CHF ($170,909 – $284,848).
Next up is definitely one of the highlights for Patek Philippe lovers lot#048 – a well known reference 5002, otherwise known as the Skymoon Tourbillon and one of the most complicated watches in the world, carrying a minute repeater, a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, sky chart, age and orbit display of the moon, sidereal time and much more. Manufactured in 2001 it is one of the rare Pateks that almost every collector dreams about. This is definitely not a timepiece that we could describe in one paragraph but that is one of its non-materialistic features – it would never get boring. With an estimate of 750,000 – 1,200,000 CHF ($854,545 – $1,367,273) it is definitely one of the bigger pieces of the event.
Lot #043 is another Patek Philippe, and even though not a Skymoon Tourbillon this ref.5970 perpetual calendar chronograph is one of my most adored complications from the brand. The Platinum case along with the black dial add to the look while the fact that it is the last of its kind to be stamped with a Geneva seal (as opposed to the new Patek Philippe seal) adds to the value. Estimated at 100,000 – 150,000 CHF ($113,939 – $170,909).
And for the ones who have been waiting on a Rolex made for the Sultan of Oman how about 14 lots all following each other in the auction from #191 to #205?!
Starting with #194 it’s a full 18K pink gold ref.1005 with the national emblem of the Sultan (6-8’000CHF), to the beautiful lot #197 ref.1601 and its majestic ‘Lapis Lazuli’ blue dial estimated at 15’000-25’000 CHF.
Next khanjar dagger-featuring Rolex we saw is the lot #200 ref.1680 made of 18K yellow gold – it’s a great combination of the ‘nipple dial’ with a midnight blue colour, going for an estimate of 18’000-25’000 CHF.
Lots #201-202-203 are all day-dates but done in different materials and colour combinations. All of them have bracelets and while the lots 201 and 202 are estimated at 37’000-60’000 CHF the 203 is valued higher (45’000-70’000 CHF) due to the Platinum casing and bracelet and a diamond setting of the bezel and markers.
And if you want an Omani khanjar-crested Rolex but don’t need the day function there is the lot #191 Datejust in new old stock case condition never worn before for a super low estimate of 5’000-8’000 CHF!
Now some of these pieces are not your regular Rolexes made for the Sultan of Oman, they are even more special, just like the lot #196 – a very rare Seadweller made for the Sultanate of Oman and retailed by Asprey in 1972 estimated at 100,000 – 200,000 CHF ($113,939 – $227,879) or the 18K gold lot #205, which is a very rare cosmograph for the Sultanate of Oman with a champagne dial estimated at 240,000 – 400,000 CHF ($273,455 – $455,758). Both pieces have the red signature of His Royal Majesty Sultin Qaboos and that is also a sign of some of the most valuable collectible Rolexes out there.
And another great collectible piece from His Majesty’s collection is this Rolex lot #204 Cosmograph ref.6265 that has been given out as a gift by the Sultan and never before seen an auction. Its value and great condition put the estimate as high as 140,000 – 300,000 ($159,515 – $341,818) but we think this piece can do even better.
Not an Omani Sultan Rolex but still one of the most desired pieces by all big collectors – lot #206 is the extremely rare 18K yellow gold double reference 6270/6263 Cosmograph set with diamonds and sapphires. It is literally impossible not to notice this watch on one’s wrist and it is irresistible to most Rolex fans, even if you are not into diamond set pieces. Made in 1985 it still holds a very good condition and will be estimated at 460,000 – 800,000 CHF ($524,121 – $911,515), though again, we think the final price can go even higher if there is a serious battle between collectors.
Slowly drifting from the Cosmographs we enter the classier side of Rolex starting with the lot #152 – rare and beautiful 18K ref.8171. Made in 1952 this reference got an unofficial name ‘Big pan’ due to its large size by the standards back then. It features a moon phase indicator, triple calendar and a two-toned dial, all in the beauty of a case that was barely even worn in the last 60 years! Estimate price is 120,000 – 250,000 CHF ($136,727 – $284,848).
Another triple calendar by Rolex is lot #080 ref.6036 and it’s also a chronograph called ‘Dato Compax’ and since the year of its manufacture 1953 it was kept in a nice condition. Estimate is 120,000 – 180,000 CHF ($136,727 – $205,091).
And if you thought this was special how about lot #242 that is also a Dato Compax triple calendar but made for the Italian market and extremely rare today. It is distinguished by the red markers in Italian and apparently is very closely associated with sports as it was just discovered that this model was sold to Adalberto Lepri, a 9-times winning wrestler in Italy who had demanded this watch for the Olympic Games of 1956. The extreme rarity of the watch and its story put the estimate at 300,000 – 500,000 CHF ($341,818 – $569,697).
Now last triple calendar in this Rolex spree is the lot #147 – fourth and final version of this chronograph made by Rolex, and probably the most successful one – known by its other name ‘Killy’ after one of the biggest names in the world of Olympic Skiing – Jean-Claude Killy. It is also one of the most complicated Rolexes ever produced and the two-tone silver dial definitely adds a lot of dynamic and awesomeness to this model. Rare and famous this ref. 6236 is estimated to sell at 200,000 – 300,000 CHF ($227,879 – $341,818).
This brings me to lot #262 ref.6062 calendar and moon phase Rolex that is possibly a piece unique as it’s the only one of its kind with a black dial. The reason behind it is the retailer in Vienna who has acquired the piece in the 60s. And not only is it considered to be unique but also in good condition and one of the most respected and desired Rolexes out there. This explains the high estimate of 500,000 – 800,000 CHF ($569,697 – $911,515).
And finally arguably one of the biggest pieces of the auction is lot #207 – Rolex ref. 5029/5028. This double reference is in fact believed to be the first ever Rolex to be a cloisonne enamel watch, it was made in 1949 and the unusual 36 mm case holds one of the most fascinating dials till today, made by Marguerite Koch. Never been subject to restoration it has kept the original look and charm as well as an immense value for the collectors. Truly a masterpiece it is estimated to go for 500’000-1’000’000 CHF! ($569,697 – $1,139,394).
Moving to the very best of the Patek Philippe we have some serious and historically important references. First is lot #440 – a ref.3450 that is an 18K gold perpetual calendar with a moon phase indication in very good condition manufactured in 1981. It offers a very elegant and simple-looking dial perfect for a dress watch and apart from that it holds great historical value by being one of the extremely rare early prototypes of the reference. Estimated for 250,000 – 350,000 CHF ($284,848 – $398,788).
Next calendar is the lot #326 and it’s the third series of the reference 2499, famous for its design and rarity. Only about 9 of these were made yearly by Patek Philippe and this particular watch was purchased by the father of its owner from Christie’s in 1991 and didn’t change the owner since. The timeless design and rarity speak for themselves and the estimate for this piece is between 200,000 – 300,000 CHF ($227,879 – $341,818).
Now the lot #376 is the ‘grandfather’ of the previous piece, manufactured in 1942 this ref. 1518 is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and valuable Pateks in the world. It features great complications like perpetual calendar and the unique fact about this model is that it actually says ‘CALENDRIER PERPÉTUEL’ above the day and month apertures making it extremely rare, and pricing it at 500,000 – 800,000 CHF ($569,697 – $911,515).
We are finally moving to the last and arguably most important piece in tomorrow’s auction – lot #101 – signed Patek Philippe & Co. from 1927 (!) is possibly a unique minute repeater in Platinum cushion-shaped extremely thing casing. Made for one of the biggest and most loyal Patek clients – Henry Graves Jr this is one of the most important historical pieces ever produced. This is also reflected in the unusual English writing on the dial – “Patek Philippe & Co., Geneva Switzerland”. And even though the estimate for this watch is close to 2 million CHF – 1,200,000 – 1,800,000 CHF ($1,367,273 – $2,050,909) we also need to consider that Mr. Graves has paid a very high price at the time – CHF6,012 (feel free to check how much that is in ‘today’s’ money).
Thank you for reading the article and we hope you got some insight about the upcoming Christies’ auction in Geneva and were not overloaded with information! We are going to attend the auction so be sure to check our instagram (@WatchAnish) as we follow all of the big deals going down!