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Auctions - Preview of the first Phillips Geneva Sale

Auctions Preview of the first Phillips Geneva Sale

The first Geneva sale of watches hosted by the new Phillips watch department in exclusive collaboration with Bacs & Russo on 10 May aims to impress with star pieces and an entire sale dedicated to the Rolex Day-Date.

With two catalogues weighing in at over 3 kilograms, the physical weight is a good measure of the metaphorical weight that Phillips is putting behind the first sale by its new watch department, which was set up in November last year in an exclusive partnership with Bacs & Russo.

But the weight is not the only impressive thing about the catalogue. Phillips’s strategy consultant and long-time watch fan Paul Boutros has looked after all the photography for the catalogue, bringing a hitherto unknown level of detail to the photographs of every lot and highlighting some considerable differences in the condition of the watches.

From the outset, Phillips promised that its first sale would be dedicated to “extremely refined, historical and rare collector’s pieces of a high quality and in excellent condition”. This is indeed the case and an entire sale has also been reserved for Rolex Day-Date models with the help of foremost Rolex expert Pucci Papaleo, who has just published a book devoted exclusively to the Rolex Day-Date.

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The stars of the sale are nevertheless likely to be signed by Patek Philippe, since Phillips is offering a Ref. 130 from 1927 with an estimate of between 1m and 2m Swiss francs, as well as a Ref. 1518 from 1948 with an estimate of 800,000 to 1.4m Swiss francs.

Patek-Philippe-Ref-1518-lot-165.jpg

There is also a very rare “albino” Rolex Oyster Cosmograph, so named because of its all-silver dial. Only four examples of this Oyster 6263 reference are known and the fact that this one was formerly part of Sir Eric Clapton’s collection only adds to its charm – and its estimate, which is between 500,000 and 1m Swiss francs.

Those interested in such rarities are probably already aware of their presence at the sale without needing to browse through the catalogue. And although those looking for a more affordable vintage watch have a little less choice than at the upcoming Christie’s sale, they will not have to leaf very far through the weighty tomes before finding them. With an estimate of just 4,000-6,000 Swiss francs, for example, the 1953 Vacheron Constantin Ref. 4465 in white gold and excellent condition (Lot 87) looks a steal. The same can be said of the 1956 Patek Philippe Ref. 2514/1 (Lot 92). Less sought-after because of its square shape, perhaps, but nevertheless in excellent condition and eminently wearable, it could be yours from as little as 7,000 Swiss francs – plus your buyer’s premium, of course.

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