The sale on May 15th at Hôtel Beau-Rivage promises to be an especially interesting and varied one. The well-documented and attractively illustrated catalogue already whets the appetite. Some fine pieces by two genius watchmakers – the illustrious Abraham-Louis Breguet (45 lots) and Jacques-Frédéric Houriet (5 lots) – will go on the block alongside an impressive array of some 140 historical enamel pocket watches, one of Sotheby’s “specialities”. As in 2011, vintage and modern watches are represented primarily by Patek Philippe (65 lots) followed by Rolex (46 lots), Audemars Piguet (18 lots) Cartier and Vacheron Constantin.
“Breguet will be the main attraction of our May sale,” Geoffroy Ader reveals. First, two exceptional carriage clocks or “pendules à almanach”. The largest (lot 365) in gilt brass with grande and petite sonnerie, quarter-repeater, calendar and moon phases, was sold in 1825 for the then astronomical sum of CHF 6,000. It has a pre-sale estimate of CHF 350,000-450,000 (EUR 290,000-375,000 / USD 385,000-495,000). Lot 364 is a smaller model, also in gilt brass with identical complications. Sold to Prince Camillo Borghese Aldobrandini, second husband of Pauline Bonaparte, for CHF 2,544 in 1810, it goes under the hammer for CHF 250,000-350,000 (EUR 210,000-290,000 / USD 275,000-385,000).
Another star lot by Breguet is lot 363, a delightful yellow gold and silver à tact watch with Russian numerals. It was sold in 1823 to Prince Galitzine for the sum of CHF 2,600 (est. CHF 70,000-100,000 / EUR 60,000-85,000 / USD 77,000-110,000). The modern section for Breguet includes a pink gold perpetual calendar tourbillon wristwatch Ref. 3857 (lot 388) which has never previously been offered at auction. It is one of the three pieces issued in 1997 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Breguet’s birth (est. CHF 200,000-300,000 / EUR 170,000-250,000 / USD 220,000-330,000). Equally noteworthy is an exceptional and rare yellow gold tourbillon pocket watch with thermometer (lot 343), made circa 1820 by Frédéric Louis Favre-Bulle, a pupil of Frédéric Houriet (est. CHF 250,000-350,000 / EUR 210,000-290,000 / USD 275,000-385,000).
Some fine Patek Philippe watches
One to follow among the fine Patek Philippe in the sale is the magnificent yellow gold grande complication pocket watch Ref. 959, dated 1992, with petite and grande sonnerie and moon phases (lot 141). Estimated CHF 500,000-800,000 (EUR 420,000-665,000 / USD 550,000-880,000), it should spark some fierce bidding. Outstanding among the Rolex lots is the exceptional pink gold triple calendar Ref. 6062 “Star Dial”, circa 1950 (lot 307). It comes from a coveted short series and belonged to Ibn Saoud, founder of Saudi Arabia (est. CHF 200,000-300,000 / EUR 170,000-250,000 / USD 220-330,000). Fans of the British author Graham Greene can bid for his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 18038 with centre seconds, from 1981 (lot 294). It goes under the hammer for CHF 6,000-8,000 (EUR 5,000-6,600/USD 6,600-8,000).
Preview: May 11th-13th, 10am-6pm, Hôtel Beau-Rivage, 13 Quai du Mont-Blanc, Geneva.
Also on display will be important pieces from the private collection of George Daniels, which will be sold in London on November 6th 2012.
Sale: Tuesday May 15th, 9am and 2pm