photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Geneva - Christie's are delighted to present one of the finest selections of watches that have even been offered for sale at the firm. The group of more than 380 lots will be auctioned on November 16 in Geneva and is estimated to fetch more than SFr.10 million in total, of which SFr.3-4 million is forecast for an exceptional collection of 10 vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches. The sale will also include a wide range of exquisite watches manufactured from the 18th to 21st centuries by the most renowned houses in the world, such as Rolex, Cartier, A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and F.P. Journe, the vast majority of which are fresh to the market and sourced from distinguished private collections.
Aurel Bacs, International Co-Head of the Watches Department: “A stunning group of 10 vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches dating from 1938 to 1982 will highlight Christie's Geneva Important Watches Auction. Kept in a safe for almost 20 years, their extraordinary quality and perfect state of conservation makes each of them a real treasure. Each piece can be considered a milestone in the production of the renowned Swiss maison in the 20th century. Offered from one of the most distinguished watch collections in the world, these 10 masterpieces are expected to fetch SFr. 3-4 million.
The catalogue for this sale, which is one of the most balanced both in terms of signatures and categories, will also feature a large number of other important pieces by Patek Philippe, such as the automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases, one of only two known examples of this model in platinum, which is estimated SFr.500,000-800,000.
Patek Philippe. A very fine and extremely rare platinum automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases and spare dial. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed Patek Philippe, Geneve, ref. 3448/100, movement no. 1'119'056, case no. 2'998'717, manufactured in 1966 and completed with the present case in 1997. Cal. 27-460 Q nickel-finished lever movement stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 37 jewels, Gyromax balance, free sprung regulator, 18K gold rotor, silvered matte dial, applied baton and square numerals, windows for day and month, subsidiary dial for moon phases and date, circular case, enlarged bezel, snap on back, platinum Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed - 37.5 mm. diam. Est. CHF500,000 - CHF800,000 ($489,596 - $783,353)
Notes : With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with in 1966 and its subsequent sale on 21 July 1967. The Extract states that the original case was replaced by the present case number 2'998'717 during a servicing in the company's workshops in 1997. Furthermore delivered with spare Patek Philippe silvered dial with applied baton and square numerals.
Reference 3448 must simply be accepted as the combination of the best of two worlds: the quality, class and complexity of vintage complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches united with the soberness, elegance and wearability of more recent production. Much to every collector's regret, reference 3448 was only cased in yellow and white gold. Examples in pink gold and platinum form for many collectors the ideal daydreams. It is however little known that Mr. Stern approved in 1997 for two watches of reference 3448 to be re-cased in platinum: number 1'119'323, featuring sapphire baguette hour markers, and number 1'119'056, the present watch. The first, standing out with its unique and slightly frivolous look, is the well-shielded treasure of one of Europe's most connoisseur collectors.
The present watch made its public debut in 2001 at an auction in Hong Kong. Consigned by an important South East Asian family, it was with little surprise that its dial showed the influence of the local climate after over three decades. Very much to the delight of a future owner, a second, virtually new old stock dial is now mounted on the watch, giving it the perfect look without compromising originality. In fact, the currently mounted dial is from the first generation featuring outer pearled minute markings and wonderfully raised hard enamel signature and date numbers. For the sake of the watch's purity, the original, gently stained dial has been preserved and is offered together with the watch.
The case is as crisp as a demanding collector would expect and has probably not been touched up since having left the bench in 1997. It is of unbelievable quality and solidity, resulting in a superb, nearly divine heaviness, virtually unknown to amateurs of vintage watches.
It is rare that unique pieces offer so much discreet wearability like the present platinum reference 3448. Its unrepeatability and great charisma make it one of the best looking collector's watches of recent decades.
A rich selection of wristwatches by Rolex is highlighted by two rare pieces both dated 1950: an extremely rare automatic pink gold triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases (Estimate: SFr.250,000-350,000) and an automatic triple calendar wristwatchwith moon phases in stainless steel (Estimate: SFr.100,000-150,000). Rolex collectors will also appreciate the Oyster Cosmograph Daytona stainless steel chronograph wristwatch made for the Peruvian Airforce in 1975 (estimate: SFr.20,000-30,000) and another very rare gold wristwatch Oyster, Observatory Chronometer, "Kew A Certificate", manufactured in 1954 and estimated SFr.20,000- 30,000.
Rolex. A very fine and extremely rare 18K pink gold automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases, bracelet and star dial. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, Officially Certified Chronometer, ref. 6062, case no. 788'637, manufactured in 1950. Cal. 9 3/4''' nickel-finished lever movement, 18 jewels, silvered matte dial, applied pink gold star-shaped numerals with luminous accents and luminous dagger numerals, pink gold luminous dauphine hands, outer date ring with central date hand, two windows for day and month, subsidiary dial for moon phases and constant seconds, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, screw back, screw down crown, downturned lugs, 18K pink gold Rolex Jubilee bracelet and clasp stamped 1.53, case, dial and movement signed - 36 mm. diam. Est. CHF250,000 - CHF350,000 ($244,798 - $342,717)
Notes : Launched in 1950, reference 6062 is seen as the pinnacle for the savvy Rolex connoisseur since it combines all key elements a demanding watch collector could expect: a sporty yet distinguished look, a complicated movement with full calendar and moon phases indication housed in the purist of all Oyster designs. Together with reference 8171 (see the following lot) it is one of only two Rolex models to show the date, the weekday, the month and the moon phases. It was also the first Rolex ever to be fitted with the so-called Super-Oyster Crown.
Reference 6062 was made in very few examples, mainly cased in yellow gold or even more rarely in pink gold or stainless steel. To further enhance the model's individuality and exclusivity, a variety of dial designs were available - the rarest however with the most popular star-shaped numerals.
The present watch, offered by a private collector, is one of the most beautiful and desirable examples of this legendary reference: made in 1950, cased in pink gold and fitted with the highly sought after "star" dial, it also still retains its original Jubilee bracelet, a rarity by itself. Preserved in outstandingly original and unspoilt condition, the dial shows an incredibly charismatic, ivory-coloured grainy patina which has formed naturally over the years. Another particularly appealing feature is the harmoniously discoloured luminous material to numerals and hands, now displaying a highly attractive, uniform cream tone. The case, possibly only once polished, impresses with its full bodied proportions, sharp angle to the bezel and original satin-finish underneath the lugs.
In 30 years of international watch auctions, only a small handful of pink gold star-dialed references 6062 of such quality have appeared. All of them have always caused sensational response from the market and are now cherished trophies in the world's most distinguished private collections. The present example can comfortably compete for a place on the podium in an all-time 6062 competition.
For a virtually identical example, sold by Christie's Geneva in May 2004, see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 142 & 143. It is very interesting to note that the latter reference 6062, serial number 788'617, is only 20 numbers apart, underlining the extreme rarity of these watches.
Rolex. An extremely fine, rare and large stainless steel automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed Rolex, Perpetual, Precision, ref. 8171, case no. 686'057, manufactured in 1950. Cal. A.295 CPL nickel-finished lever movement, 18 jewels, silvered dial, raised dagger, square-shaped and Arabic 12 numerals, outer blue date ring with central date hand, two windows for day and month, subsidiary dial for moon phases and constant seconds, large circular case, calendar correctors in the band, snap on back, stainless steel Rolex buckle, case, dial and movement signed - 38 mm. diam. Est. CHF100,000 - CHF150,000 ($97,919 - $146,879)
Notes : The present "Padellone", as Rolex aficionados affectionately call reference 8171, is a spectacularly well preserved example. In probably as original condition as when it left the Rolex manufactory in 1950, an experts' eye would quickly conclude that the case was never polished, the movement never serviced and the dial never cleaned. In fact, few examples of reference 8171 in any case material display in such impressive manner the original look of this legendary model.
This watch with its full and incredibly crisp case, perfectly displaying the finely engraved case number and Rolex crown to the back, and the highly appealing dial displaying a perfect "grainé" or grained surface, is one of the exceedingly rare opportunities to enhance the collection of any discerning Rolex collector.
Rolex has produced only two different models of moonphase wristwatches, references 8171 and 6062. Both models are automatic, however reference 8171 has a snap on back, while reference 6062 (see the preceding lot), the Oyster version, is fitted with a water-resistant-type screw back.
Reference 8171 was made in a small series between 1949 and 1952, mostly in yellow gold. Examples in pink gold or in stainless steel are very rare.
Rolex. A rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, made for the Peruvian Airforce. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed Rolex, Oyster Cosmograph Daytona, ref. 6263, case no. 4'017'220, manufactured in 1975. Cal. 727 nickel-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, black matte dial, applied baton numerals with luminous accents, luminous hands, three engine-turned silvered subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours registers, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, black bezel calibrated for 200 units, screw back, screw down crown, two round screw down chronograph buttons in the band, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, case, dial and movement signed - 38 mm. diam. Est. CHF20,000 - CHF30,000 ($19,584 - $29,376)
Notes : Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Rolex sports watches, particularly the Submariner model, have always been the watch of choice of diver's organisations and several armed forces; the most renowned certainly COMEX and the British Royal Navy (see the preceding lots 145 and 146), highly coveted collectors items in today's market.
It is however much less known that small series of watches were also supplied to forces such as Fuerza Aérea del Perú, consequently rendering the few models appearing in public extremely rare.
It is thought that as of the early 1960s, the Peruvian Air Force commissioned Rolex with the supply of watches for their personnel, mainly different Cosmograph Daytona models but also references 6238, the celebrated Pre-Daytona, and 1680, the Submariner with date, which were issued to the superior Officers. The case backs were engraved with the inscription Fuerza Aérea del Perú to the outside, the serial number was repeated to the inside - the numbers in the case back of the present watch read 6263 and 4017220.
Reference 6263 was introduced into the market in 1971. Different versions of the model are described and illustrated in I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 328-335.
Among the most important signature watches is the elegant and rare pink gold rectangular twin barrel 8-days wristwatch by Cartier manufactured in 1941 and estimated at SFr.80,000-120,000. The highlight of this watch is its 8-day movement, more commonly found in pocket watches, clocks or travel timepieces, allowing it to run for eight days once fully wound. To this end, the movement is fitted with two mainsprings assuring its function over such a comparatively long period of time. The watch is also one of the most beautiful and best preserved examples of an early "Tank Allongée" wristwatch by Cartier to be offered in public in recent years. The rare pink gold case material combined with a highly unusual movement and excellent overall condition renders it a true collector's piece.
Cartier. An extremely fine and rare 18K pink gold rectangular twin barrel 8-day wristwatch. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed Cartier, Eight Days, no. 31646, movement signed European Watch Co. Inc., manufactured in 1941. Rectangular-shaped nickel-finished twin barrel 8-day lever movement, 18 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, white dial, Roman numerals, blued steel moon-style hands, rectangular elongated case, back secured by four screws in the band, 18K pink gold Cartier deployant clasp, case hand-stamped with Cartier reference numbers to inside and outside, dial signed Cartier, movement signed European Watch Co., Inc. 22 mm. wide & 39 mm. overall length - Est. CHF80,000 - CHF120,000 ($78,335 - $117,503)
Notes : With Cartier Duplicata of the Certificate of Authenticity no. GE 2006-136 dated 21 August 2009 (original issued in September 2006, colour copies available) confirming the production of the present watch in 1941. Furthermore delivered with a modern Cartier presentation box.
The particularity of the present watch is its 8-day movement, more commonly found in pocket watches, clocks or travel timepieces, allowing it to run during eight days once fully wound. To this end, the movement is fitted with two mainsprings assuring its functioning over such a comparatively long period of time.
The present watch is one of the most beautiful and best preserved examples of an early "Tank Allongée" wristwatch by Cartier to be offered in public in recent years. The rare pink gold case material combined with a highly unusual movement and the excellent overall condition render it a true collector's piece.
For a description and illustrations including the blueprint of a drawing of a "Tank Allongée" wristwatch with 8-day movement see Cartier - The Tank Watch by Franco Cologni, p. 219.
A group of attractive and important 21st century watches will also be offered. Despite its young age, the Lange 1 Tourbillon model by A. Lange & Söhne, a platinum limited edition twin barrel one minute tourbillon wristwatch with oversized date and power reserve, is already a classic of horology (Estimate: SFr.120,000-190,000). This is also true for the very fine and rare platinum automatic tourbillon wristwatch with constant force remontoir, power eserve, pink gold and silver dial, manufactured in 2002 by F.P. Journe (Estimate: SFr.40,000-60,000).
A. Lange & Söhne. A very fine and rare platinum limited edition twin barrel one minute tourbillon wristwatch with oversized date and power reserve. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte I/SA, Lange 1 Tourbillon model, No. 37/150, movement no. 16'129, case no. 129'287, circa 2000 - Cal. L961.1 three quarter plate gilt-finished twin barrel lever movement, 49 jewels and 2 diamond endstones, screwed gold chatons, gold lever and gold escape wheel, finely hand-engraved gold bridges, three-armed polished steel tourbillon carriage visible through a glazed aperture in the solid silver dial, eccentric hour dial with applied Roman and baton numerals, large double window for date, eccentric aperture for power reserve, large circular case, date change button in the band, downturned lugs, glazed display back secured by six screws, platinum A. Lange & Söhne buckle, case, dial and movement signed - 39 mm. diam. Est. CHF120,000 - CHF190,000 ($117,503 - $186,046)
Notes : With A. Lange & Söhne Certificate of Origin, instruction manual, copy of Wempe servicing invoice dated 2007, original fitted presentation box and outer packaging.
Since its overhaul in 2007, the watch has not been used since and is preserved in like new overall condition.
100 years after the World Exhibition
At the 1900 World Exposition in Paris, Emil Lange presented a pocket watch fitted with a one minute tourbillon to an awed group of experts. It was the determination to greet the new century with another stunning horological accomplishment that inspired the creation of the Lange 1 Tourbillon exactly 100 years later.
Launched in 2000, the Lange 1 Tourbillon was in production until 2003 and made in a strictly limited edition of 150 examples in platinum and 250 examples in pink gold. It is the world's first wristwatch combining a tourbillon, a patented oversized date, twin barrels for the three day power reserve and a progressive power reserve indicator.
The movement is composed of 378 parts, the tourbillon consists of 72 pieces, its miniature steel cage is suspended between two diamond endstones and contains the balance wheel, the balance spring and the escapement.
F.P. Journe. A very fine and rare platinum automatic tourbillon wristwatch with constant force remontoir, power reserve, pink gold and silver dial. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed F.P. Journe, Invenit et Fecit, Tourbillon Souverain, No. 194-02T, manufactured in 2002 - . 1498 full plate rhodium-plated brass lever movement, 25 jewels, visible one minute tourbillon carriage with monometallic compensation balance, eccentric engine-turned white silver dial with Arabic numerals, blued steel "Journe" hands, screwed onto the 18K pink gold dial plate, eccentric fan-shaped power reserve display, constant force remontoir visible through a small glazed window to 6 o'clock, large circular case, glazed display back secured by six screws, 18K white gold F.P. Journe deployant clasp, case, dial and movement signed - mm. diam. Est. CHF40,000 - CHF60,000 ($39,168 - $58,751)
Notes : With F.P. Journe Certificate of Authenticity and Warranty dated 29 May 2002, instruction manual, polishing cloth, three-tier wooden presentation box and outer packaging.
The new Tourbillon Souverain, another of F.J. Journe's horologic masterworks, is distinguished by its complications, combing a one minute tourbillon with a remontoir and independent seconds. The remontoir provides a constant force to the balance, hence maintaining an equal rate of force whether the watch is fully wound or not and increasing the precision.
The independent seconds, a unique feature in a contemporary wristwatch, provides a more accurate reading of time. The French term for "independent seconds", "seconde morte" or "dead seconds" comes from the fact that the hand remains motionless ("dead") for as long as the second has not actually elapsed, meaning the second is only indicated once completed.
François-Paul Journe's ingenious masterpiece is the first wristwatch combining a remontoir d'égalité, dead beat seconds and a tourbillon regulator.
Certainly one of the most unusual lots of this sale is a precious gilt metal singing bird box by Breguet, which was manufactured in 1954 and is estimated at SFr.20,000-30,000 (with its original presentation box).
Breguet. A rare and unusual gilt metal singing bird box with original presentation box. photo Image 2009 Christie's Ltd
Signed Breguet, No. 1647, manufactured in 1954 and sold to M. Ducos in 1955. ywound movement, engine-turned geometrical motif decorated rectangular box, when opened the oval lid of the similarly decorated bird box is opening simultaneously to reveal a finely pierced and engraved scroll decorated grille and to release the colourfully plumed bird, rotating on its axis, chirping, flapping its wings and opening its beak, also activated/stopped by sliding the lever in the band, plain empty compartment, case signed and numbered - x 112 x 39 mm. Est. CHF20,000 - CHF30,000 ($19,584 - $29,376)
Notes : With Breguet, 28 Place Vendome, Paris original fitted red presentation box containing a gilt brass key.
According to the Archives of Montres Breguet, the present "boîte à cigarettes à couvercle, métal guilloché doré avec oiseau chanteur", was manufactured in 1955 and sold to Monsieur Ducos on 1 April 1955.
This lot is one of the exceedingly rare singing bird boxes signed Breguet to appear in public. According to researches, less than 30 examples of these fine pieces were made by the celebrated house, mainly to special order for their distinguished clientele.
These boxes were made in two series, one between the mid 1930s and 1940s, the second in the mid 1950s, and were available in two sizes. The larger version, such as the present box, was fitted with a double mechanism activating the singing bird located to the inside either by opening the cover or by sliding a lever.
The smaller boxes featured the more common aperture for the singing bird on their top, activated by a lever in the band.
The rarity of the present box is further enhanced by its excellent overall condition, the perfect functioning of the bird, the melodious sound of its chirping and the presence of the original box and a key.
IMPORTANT WATCHES Including A CONNOISSEUR’S VISION
Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, 33 quai des Bergues - Geneva
SALE: Monday 16 November, 10am & 3pm
VIEWINGS: Friday 13 November, 2pm-6pm - Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 November, 10am-7pm