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Geneva auctions are set to thrill: Christie’s

Geneva auctions are set to thrill: Christie’s

Wednesday, 04 May 2011
By Danièle Chambas
Danièle Chambas

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3 min read

Auction fever will descend on Geneva from mid-May as Antiquorum, Sotheby’s and Christie’s prepare to dazzle bidders with some 1,280 lots in all. Christie’s will close the spring sales.

Christie’s many collectors and tifosi will gather on Monday May 16th at 9.30am, at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, to bid for the 429 timepieces which International Co-Head of Watches Aurel Bacs has stringently selected, as always with a special emphasis on Patek Philippe and an increasingly marked penchant for pocket watches.

Of course, not every season can deliver such an incredible record as in May 2010, when Aurel Bacs brought down his gavel on a Patek Philippe Ref. 1527 for CHF 6.2 million (US$ 7.1 million / €4.8 million), blowing away the pre-sale high estimate of CHF 2.5 million (US$ 2.85 million / €1.93 million). The lots at this ever popular spring sale have been given a global pre-sale estimate of CHF 13 to 17 million (US$ 14.9-19.5 million / €10-13. million). They include some one hundred exceptional watches, certain of which could set records of their own.

The highlight of the sale will be a 1928 Patek Philippe single-button chronograph in white gold. This wonderfully elegant and possibly unique watch features a cushion-shaped case and silvered dial with Breguet numerals (lot 81; est. CHF 1.5-2.5 million / US$ 1.71-2.85 million / €1.16-1.93 million). Previously sold by Christie’s for CHF 1.7 million (US$ 1.95 million / €1.31 million) in 2005, it promises some early-morning excitement as a bidding match very likely breaks out between Italian collectors and possibly the Patek Philippe Museum, which already owns two identical models but in yellow gold.

Rolex looks set for a record

Rolex is virtually guaranteed to break a record on the day with the exceptionally rare Ref. 4113, a split-seconds chronograph from 1942 (lot 129). Only 12 were ever manufactured of which eight are known to have survived. The watch was never made publicly available: Rolex is believed to have given all twelve as gifts to famous racing drivers in the 1940s. Estimated at CHF 600,000-1,000,000 (US$ 686,350-1,143,900 / €463,550-772,600), it could well exceed its high estimate. The race is on!


Lot 129: Rolex Ref. 4113 split-seconds chronograph from 1942; est. CHF 600,000-1,000,000 © Christie's Images Ltd. 2011
Lot 129: Rolex Ref. 4113 split-seconds chronograph from 1942; est. CHF 600,000-1,000,000 © Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

One to follow among the important selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century enamelled pocket watches is lot 71 (est. CHF 250,000-350,000 / 290,800-407,150 / € 194,950-272,950), a gold and enamel model by Charles Ducommun (1820). It incorporates an exceptional automated scene of the miracle of Moses striking a rock in the desert to bring forth water. Among the vintage watches put on the block, the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 rose gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases and pink dial of 1948 should galvanise bidders (lot 184; est. CHF 700,000-1,000,000 / US$ 814,500-1,163,500 / € 545,900-779,800). Of the historically significant pieces, special mention must go to the 1935 Longines aviator’s watch, presented to Italo Balbo by his friend Charles Lindbergh in Tripoli, offered for the first time at auction (lot 270; est. CHF 30,000-50,000 / US$ 34,300- 57,200 / €23,200-38,650). Lastly, Aurel Bacs will bring down his gavel on ten Patek Philippe watches estimated at CHF 1.5 to 2 million (US$ 1.71-2.29 million / €1.16-1.55 million) in the fourth and final part of “A Connoisseur’s Vision.”

Sale: May 16th 9.30am and 2.30pm – Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva
Preview: May 13th 2pm-6pm; May 14th 10am-6pm; May 15th 10am-7pm

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