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Christie’s Auction in Geneva Nov 2013 – Important Watches

Posted by Ed on

On November 11th in Geneva, Christie’s are hosting a very important auction, presenting very rare and desirable watches from brands like Patek Philippe, Breguet, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, etc. The auction is not just meant for the big time collectors, as the estimates are ranging from round $1’500 up to 7 figures with a lot of variety and nice vintage pieces to add to your collection. The event will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, and we will be there to cover it too.

Prior to the hammer coming down, enjoy our look at the watches just before the auction, with some of the highlights we saw recently in the Christies NY offices.


Starting with one of my personal favourite Rolex watches, the Reference 8171, a round STAINLESS STEEL (!) casing with diamond numerals, moon phase and automatic triple calendar. The 8171 was only produced between 1949 and 1951 in yellow gold, with steel models being very rare.

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The piece is truly exclusive; it is one of only two pieces made with diamond numerals placed where they are, with the other model being sold in Geneva back in 2004. The ref 8171 has a snap on case back unlike the only other Rolex moonphase reference, the 6062, which had the more modern screw down version.

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Why I love this piece is also the size. For a classical watch the 38mm diameter is quite large, and it was even called the ‘Big Frying Pan’ by some of the collectors back in the day 😀

Moving from one big name to another – here is the Patek Philippe 1518. This is also a moon phase and a calendar, but on top of that it’s a perpetual one and also features a chronograph. With this particular model produced in 1946 (this reference was made from 1941 until around 1954), the 2499 was the very first watch featuring all these complications together to be manufactured in series by any brand.


The watch is one of the 281 pieces made and it’s of the very first models still keeping its original condition with no polishing or restoration.. #IfYouLikeEmOld


Another Patek being auctioned is the Reference 1463 – an 18K gold chronograph, featuring a pulsimeter, and made in 1948. Now you might wonder (if you are a Patek connoisseur) why does it have a pulsimeter instead of a tachometer… It’s because the person, for whom the watch was specially ordered, was a Med. School graduate, and the dial with special markings was requested to fit his occupation.

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As a unique piece it is already a very collectible piece, but what if I tell you the doctor, who owned the watch was a certain Dr. Kemp Clark, who actually administered the late UD president JFK in the emergency room in Dallas on his assassination -_- Later on the watch also followed Dr. Clark in his neurological career.

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A third and more recently produced Patek is the reference 5074 – the automatic minute repeater perpetual calendar. The watch has an 18K rose gold casing and was made in 2008, creating quite a contrast with most of the vintage pieces at the auction.

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For your visual pleasure, a Vacheron Constantin platinum cased Maltese skeleton tourbillon. Many of our readers probably already know that I love movements showing, and this model from the Malte collection definitely isn’t an exception. The watch has a mesmerizing movement as well as date and power reserve indicators. Also not a vintage but definitely a classic from 2005.

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Finally, last big traditional timepiece from the auction before we get into the mad examples of modern horology is the A. Lange & Sohne ‘Datograph Perpetual’. The Datograph is already one of the most favoured models of many, and the perpetual was the first of Lange’s watches to combine the chronograph and perpetual calendar complications in one watch. As usual the brand delivers a beautiful case back which shows the exceptional movement finishing Lange are now very much known for!

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Moving from the classy to the crazy – the Max Busser & Friends (MB&F) famous HM3 watch. It may not be the biggest rarity in the world of watchmaking, as the piece is not a limited edition, but it definitely is an exclusive, as MB&F is known for creating very few pieces each year. This watch in particular may become a known classic in the world of the modern horology.


With the date, day/night indicators and the huge aggressive rotor in the middle of the case it’s definitely a statement to make. Of course for the money the watch is estimated to sell for you could buy yourself a myriad of other classical watches, and you might even be more respected for doing so in some collector circles, but in my book HM3 definitely deserves much more respect than many of the more traditional pieces on the market.

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Finally, our last highlight of the auction’s watches is the Richard Mille RM011, the Felipe Massa edition. Massa is a famous Formula One racer, and Richard Mille is famous for its collaborations and associations with sports, especially the fast ones 😀 Of course the watch had to be light, and this is made from titanium with a skeletonized movement featuring a flyback chronograph and a annual calendar with big date indicator.

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Now that you’re more familiar with the participants of the auction we will keep you updated on the results, and we’d really like to hear your opinions on the watches!

• Related Story: Live From Dubai – Update from Team WatchAnish #1

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