Christie’s will host this end-of-year sale, always a cosy affair, at the Rockefeller Plaza.* While proposing fewer lots than the spring auction, a number of exceptional timepieces will still set collectors’ pulses racing. “Americans love all watches but they especially appreciate complication models, particularly when they are fresh to the market,” revealed Aurel Bacs, International Co-Head of Watches at Christie’s.
Christie’s New York is playing the historic card and proposing a magnificent Patek Philippe Ref. 177483 pocket watch in yellow gold, ordered by Henry Graves Jr. (lot 79, 1913) and offered in public for the first time (estimate USD/CHF 40-60,000 – EUR 30-45,000). The back of the case is engraved with the family crest and motto Esse Quam Videri (To Be Rather Than To Seem). Another timepiece having belonged to Henry Graves still holds the record for the world’s most expensive watch. Also by Patek Philippe is the Ref. 130 wristwatch (lot 410, 1945), owned by Douglas Fairbanks Jr., actor and husband of Joan Crawford (est. USD/CHF 30-50,000 – EUR 22-38,000), and the collection of the Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia.
One of the world's most diamond-studded watches
With appetites whetted, bidders can then marvel at lot 47, the dazzling Kanthara by Piaget, one of the most diamond-studded watches in the world. Manufactured in 1999, its oval case, dial and bracelet are entirely paved with baguette and emerald-cut diamonds for a total 87 carats. This incredible timepiece, naturally a highly limited edition, is expected to fetch between USD/CHF 200,000 and USD/CHF 300,000 (EUR 150-225,000).
Eighty-five Patek Philippe watches, including 28 pocket watches, will be sold at the morning and afternoon sessions. Two to look out for are Ref. 1518 (lot 411, 1948), a yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, estimated USD/CHF 220-280,000 (EUR 166-212,000) and Ref. 1463, a stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with Breguet numerals (lot 412, 1955), retailed by Tiffany & Co and never before offered in public (est. USD/CHF 250-350,000 – EUR 190-265,000). Equally noteworthy are the Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 (lot 198, 1982), which features on the catalogue cover, an extremely fine and rare yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases (est. USD/CHF 250-350,000 – EUR 190-265,000) and the final lot of the day, no 420, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2820, a fine platinum rectangular chronometer tourbillon wristwatch with 10-day power reserve, produced in 2004 and estimated between USD/CHF 200,000 and 300,000 (EUR 150,000 and 225,000). Lot 104, a solar desk clock with cloisonné enamel (1963) is expected to sell above its estimate of USD/CHF 50-70,000 (EUR 38-53,000).
Over eighty Rolexes
Rolex, which is well represented at the sale with more than eighty lots, is always in demand among American bidders who should find what they are looking for given the range of prices. Especially worthy of interest are the Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman Ref. 6239 (lot 277, 1967), estimated at USD/CHF 40-60,000 (EUR 30-45,000), and the fine and rare Ref. 6062 automatic triple calendar wristwatch in yellow gold (lot 179, 1952), estimated between USD/CHF 60,000 and 80,000 (EUR 45,000 and 60,000). An exceptional Breguet limited edition platinum minute-repeating perpetual calendar tourbillon wristwatch with guilloché dial Ref. 3857 (lot 327, 1997) is estimated at USD/CHF 250-350,000 (EUR 190-265,000). It is one of three highly complicated pieces produced by Breguet to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Seventeen Panerai watches, always popular in the United States, will come under the hammer, including the Rolex for Panerai Ref. 3646 (lot 305), an extremely rare stainless steel diver’s wristwatch from 1943, estimated at USD/CHF 70-90,000 (EUR 53-68,000). Finally, in the modern wristwatch section, three models by Hublot, five by François-Paul Journe, six by Franck Muller, eight by Ulysse Nardin and a dozen by IWC will come up for sale.
*20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York.
December 14th, sessions at 10am (lots 1-198) and 2pm (lots 199-420).