Auction Monday, October 22nd 2012
This autumn the grand art of watchmaking will take centre-stage at Sotheby’s. Following hot on the heels of the landmark sale of “The George Daniels Horological Collection” which takes place in London on 6th November 2012, Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Important Watches will be held at the Hotel Beau-Rivage on 13th November.
Patek Philippe’s Reference 2524/1 retailed by Tiffany & Co. © Sotheby’s
This season, Sotheby’s Europe specialists, Geoffroy Ader and Thomas Perazzi have assembled an exclusive selection of vintage and modern wristwatches covering a wide range of prestigious brands such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, IWC and Panerai. Comprising over 300 lots, estimated between CHF 6 and 8 million, the offering is also highlighted by rare models of complicated timepieces.
“This sale is a celebration of elegance and style”commented Geoffroy Ader, Head of Watches, Sotheby’s Europe. “It includes a selection of rare vintage and modern timepieces which demonstrate that watchmaking falls into the realm of art. Among highlights are two minute-repeating wristwatches by Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin which capture the essence of vintage wristwatches. These watches are most probably unique models which were made by the most important watchmakers in Geneva in the 1940s and 1950s, one of the richest period of modern Swiss horologicalhistory”.
Thomas Perazzi, Deputy Director of the European Watch Departmentadded: “This autumn’s sale has been put together to meet the strong demand for timepieces of high quality and rarity and most notably rare Rolex vintage chronographs. I am especially delighted to present a very rare model of Rolex ref. 6238 with pulsometer scale. The reference 6238 was produced in few examples over a very short period, between 1964 and 1967.The watch in the sale is in exceptional condition and according to our research, it is only the fourth example of this reference with a pulsometer dial ever toappear on the market.”
The exceptional offering of vintage wristwatches is led by two most probably unique wristwatches with a minute repeater, ranking supreme among horological complications. The first is an exceptional example of Patek Philippe’s Reference 2524/1 retailed by Tiffany & Co. Most certainly the only known piece with a dial bearing “Tiffany & Co”, this specially ordered 18 carat yellow gold wristwatch features a movement made in 1954 and cased in 1961 (est. CHF 250,000 - 350,000 / USD 252,000 - 353,000).
The other most probably unique, vintage, minute-repeating wristwatch in the sale is the first model of the celebrated Reference 4261 ever produced by Vacheron Constantin. Minute repeaters are considered the pinnacle of the production of complicated wristwatches by the prestigious Geneva firm. Manufactured in 1943, this very rare 18 carat pink gold minute-repeating wristwatch comes to the market with an estimate of CHF 130,000 - 150,000 (USD 131,000 - 152,000).
The sale also includes a very rare example of Patek Philippe’s Reference 2438-1, the first water-resistant type perpetual calendar wristwatch produced in series by any company. Made in 1958, this fine centre second 18 carat yellow gold wristwatch with moon phases was retailed by Tiffany & Co. (est. CHF 200,000 - 300,000 / USD 202,000 - 303,000).
A prime example of the vintage wristwatch, Patek Philippe’s Reference 3450 combines all the features that collectors look for. The sale will presentwhat can most probably be considered as one of the most appealing examples of this reference coming to the market in recent years. Made in 1985, this 18 carat yellow gold automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon-phases and leap year indicationis in virtually unworn condition and possibly never repolished. It displays very sharp edges, a superb satin finish both on lugs and bands and most interestingly two hallmarks on the band (est. CHF 120,000 - 180,000 / USD 121,000 - 182,000).
Rolex also features strongly in the sale. The section dedicated to vintage chronographs is spearheaded by a very rare example of the Reference 6238, often referred to as the "pre-Daytona" reference. Dating from circa 1965, this stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with registers and pulsometer scale carries an estimate of CHF 60,000 - 90,000 (USD 60,500 - 91,000).
The group of fine vintage wristwatches also includes a rare example of a Panerai Reference 3646 with case and movement signed by Rolex. Made circa 1940, this large stainless steel cushion-shaped diver's wristwatch with early unsigned dial is part of the series of Radiomir watches-water and pressure resistant watches that the Italian Navy ordered from Panerai for their secret unit the 1a Flottiglia MAS (1st MAS Fleet) (est. CHF 30,000 - 50,000 / USD 30,300 - 50,500).
A fine collectible example of vintage Vacheron Constantin wristwatches can be found in a triple-calendar version of a “Cioccolatone”, a model which appears only rarely at auction. Dating from circa 1958, this oversized square triple calendar wristwatch with moon-phases bears an estimate of CHF 24,000 - 40,000 (USD 24,200 - 40,300).
Cartier’s distinct blend of aesthetics and tradition magnificently appears in an 18 carat yellow gold rectangular wristwatch dating from circa 1930 that once belonged to the famous German model from the Sixties, Editha Dussler (est. CHF 7,000 - 10,000 / USD 7,100 - 10,100), while IWC elegant design is illustrated by a very fine and rare 1942 Portugieser model: a stainless steel oversized wristwatch estimated at CHF 25,000 - 35,000 (USD 25,200 - 35,300).
Complementing the offer is a fine group of modern timepieces spearheaded by magnificent models by Patek Philippe. Among them is an extremely rare example of the Patek Philippe 'Celestial' (ref. 5102), an astronomical wristwatch and one of the most important horological complications ever developed. Dating from circa 2006, this 18 carat white gold automatic astronomical wristwatch with sky chart, phases and position of the moon and time of meridian passage of Sirius and the moon carries an estimate of CHF 160,000 - 220,000 (USD 162,000 - 222,000).
Testament to Patek Philippe’s extraordinary craftsmanship and pioneering approach is a 2006 model of the Reference 5004 – a reference which has been hailed as "the most ambitious creation" of the "Grand Complications" with a great future as a collectable.This important platinum perpetual calendar split seconds chronograph wristwatch with registers moon-phases leap-yearand 24-hour indication should seduce sophisticated collectors with a cultivated taste for pieces of understated complexity (CHF 150,000 - 200,000 / USD 152,000 - 202,000).
Further highlights in this section include a fine 18k yellow gold chronograph perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon-phases 24-hour and leap-year indication (Reference 3970E), made by Patek Philippe in 1997 (est. CHF 65,000 - 85,000 / USD 65,500 - 86,000) and a superb 18 carat yellow gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with date, moon-phases, 24-hour indication and zero-reset function, manufactured by A. Lange & Söhne circa 2000 (est. CHF 20,000 - 30,000 / USD 20,200 - 30,300).
Complicated pocket watches
The sale also comprises a fine selection of complicated timepieces and pocket watches, including a rare 18 carat pink gold hunting cased minute repeating perpetual calendar chronograph watch with moon-phases made by Vacheron Constantin in 1916 (est. CHF80,000 – 120,000 / USD 81,000 - 121,000) and a fine 18 carat yellow gold open-faced minute repeating perpetual calendar chronograph watch with moon-phases signed IWC and dating from circa 1990 (est. CHF 50,000 – 80,000 / USD 50,500 - 81,000).
Breguet’s supreme horological art is represented by two antique pocket watches: the first, a fine yellow gold open-faced quarter repeating watch (No. 442) was sold to Monsieur de Labensky on 14 November 1843 (est. CHF 15,000 - 20,000 / USD 15,200 - 20,200); the second is an 18 carat pink gold open-faced minute repeating split chronograph watchpurchased in 1904 (est. CHF 8,000 – 12,000 / USD 8,100 - 12,100). ■
Public exhibition: 10, 11, 12 November 2012
Sale: Tuesday 13 November 2012