Auction Myths and legends of Fine Watchmaking
For its sale of Important Watches on the 14th of May 2014, Sotheby’s Geneva has gathered more than 300 timepieces, including Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin rare timepieces.
This spring’s event brings together a selection spanning two centuries : led by a beautiful group of automatons and music boxes, it also includes an array of models charting the history of Rolex’s iconic « Submariner », along with a fine range of vintage and modern wristwatches created by master watchmakers including Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Panerai. The overall estimated value for the assembled lots is in excess of 7 million francs.
Automatons and music boxes
The sale in May includes a number of very fine examples of automatons and music boxes:
- a watch and automaton in a gold enamel box by Piguet & Capt in Geneva, around 1801-1804 (lot 334, est. CHF 600,000 – 800,000 / $685,000 – 910,000) (pictured above).
- a selection of enamel fob seals and music boxes, formerly in the collection of Jacqueline Reuge, a member of the family of music-box makers : a pink and yellow gold musical fob seal attributed to Vt Deville à Genève, around 1815 (lot 329, est. CHF 5,000 – 7,000 / $5,700 – 8,000) ; a gold and enamel musical harp, the body fitted with music and a lever activating the tune (lot 331, est. CHF 45,000 – 65,000 / $51,500 – 74,000).
The evolution of the art of timekeeping is illustrated in a superb selection of vintage timepieces, spanning six decades and showcasing the know-how of this sector:
- a rare white and pink gold pocket watch, reference 3372, with 31 time zones (31 cities) and a three-tone dial (lot 209, est. CHF 28,000 – 35,000 / $31,800 – 39,800).
- a fine and rare platinum pocket watch, with calendar, power reserve and moon phases at noon – a rare setting for this complication (lot 211, est. CHF 15,000 – 25,000 / $17,100 – 28,400).
- a gold pocket watch (circa 1955) which belonged to the Italian poet and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959, Salvatore Quasimodo. (lot 206, est. CHF 3,000 – 5,000 / $3,450 – 5,700).
- a rare yellow gold ‘8 Day’ watch, reference 3655. This unique model of exceptional historical interest is offered with a purpose-built rectangular case, specially designed by Patek Philippe in 1984 (lot 268, est. CHF 100,000 – 150,000 / $114,000 – 171,000).
- a striking example of the reference 2526 in yellow gold with an enamel dial, the first automatic watch produced by Patek Philippe(lot 267, est. CHF 25,000 – 35,000 / $28,400 – 39,800).
Created by Rolex in 1953, the « Submariner » is a reference for diving professionals. 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of its launch, at Baselworld in 1954. Sotheby’s presents a selection of models which illustrate the story of this iconic timepiece (lots 224-244):
- a rare stainless steel wristwatch, reference 6204, Submariner circa 1954 (lot 224 est. CHF 30,000 – 50,000 / $34,100 – 57,000)
- a rare stainless steel automatic wristwatch, reference 5510, circa 1957, known among collectors as the “Big Crown James Bond” (lot 226, est. CHF 30,000 – 50,000 - $34,100 – 57,000)
- a rare wristwatch, reference 5513, circa 1972, with original bezel and dial featuring the letter “T”, characteristic of watches commissioned by the British Royal Navy (lot 244, est. CHF 40,000 – 60,000 / $45,500 – 91,000).
- a rare and exceptional reference 6263 Cosmograph Daytona “Paul Newman Panda Dial”, circa 1972 (lot 341, est. CHF 250,000 – 500,000 / $284,000 – 570,000).
- an extremely rare reference 6263 steel Chronograph wristwatch whose stand-out feature is its colour-changed Paul Newman dial (lot 305, est. CHF 200,000 – 400,000 / $228,000 – 455,000)
- a reference 6062 wristwatch, one of very few produced by Rolex with triple calendar and moon phases – the other being the 8171 (lot 342, est. CHF 80,000 – 160,000 / $91,000 – 182,000).
Vintage watches from the workshops of Panerai are well represented in the sale:
- an extremely rare titanium prototype centre seconds wristwatch, around 1985(lot 295, est. CHF 80,000 – 160,000 / $91,000 – 182,000)
- a stainless steel military diver’s wristwatch with prototype bezel, reference 6152/1, Luminor, around 1955, formerly owned by Admiral Gino Birindelli, former commander of the Italian Navy (lot 298, est. CHF 180,000 – 360,000 / $205,000 – 409,000).
The sale also includes an impressive ensemble of fine modern wristwatches. Patek Philippe’s renowned technical skills are demonstrated in a perpetual calendar Chronograph wristwatch with registers, moon phases, night and day and leap year indication, reference 5270G. This reference was unveiled at Basel World in April 2011 and replaces the famous reference 5970 (lot 159, est. CHF 100,000 – 150,000 / $114,000 – 171,000).
The section also includes one of Patek Philippe’s most beautiful modern watches: the 5013P reference, with its unmistakeable platinum tonneau-shaped case). This watch symbolizes the famous manufacturer’s artistry in its complications: calendar functions, moon phases and perpetual calendar (lot 160, est. CHF 380,000 – 580,000 / $432,000 – 660,000).
Sotheby’s Geneva, Hôtel Beau-Rivage
13, quai du Mont-Blanc, 1201 Geneva
10-13 May 2014, 10am-6pm
Tuesday 14 May 2014
Session 1: 10am (lots 1-160)
Session 2: 2pm (lots 161-342)
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