Tue, Apr 16, 2024

Art & Auctions
Christie’s Rare Watches auction to feature 150 timepieces

Christie’s Rare Watches auction will take place live on May 13 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva with an offering of more than 150+ exceptional watches.

The same team which achieved Geneva’s highest ever annual watch sale total of $124 million in 2023, contributing mainly to Christie’s Global watches market leadership, will offer a supreme array of desirable watches for novice as well as established collectors this season.

The 2024 watch season started with a terrific result for the 18 watches from The Collection of Sir Elton John in February, all selling far above pre-sale estimates and the recent watch announcement revealing the Property of Michael Schumacher to be included in the Spring Geneva auction.

Some of the watches that will be offered at the May auction are:

* Rolex reference 6062, named Stelline: For over a decade the yellow gold reference 6062 ‘Stelline’ Rolex was part of one of the greatest collections of vintage wristwatches in the world and previously owned by Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines 1994-2004, also a world-renowned watch collector.

Following the launch of the waterproofed ‘Oyster’ case in the mid-1940s, Rolex introduced a variety of different models of which reference 6062 was the most prestigious version, upgraded with a full calendar and moon phase. Introduced at the Basel Fair of 1950, ref. 6062 was produced for approximately 10 years. The 'Stelline' dials are distinguished by their blue date scale and pink gold stars with either luminous accents or separate luminous dots next to the stars (estimate: CHF350,000-700,000 | $400,000-790,000).

* Patek Philippe reference 2526: A great mid-century classic the first automatic wristwatch by Patek Philippe in pink gold, with black enamel dial and applied gold indexes, this reference 2526 is only one of eight examples to have appeared in public to date. The watch is fitted with a black enamel first series dial which are distinguished by the fact that the numerals are not glued to the enamel, as seen with second series dials. The most distinguishing features of the 2526 case are its domed screw back for water-resistance and the beautiful cast gold crown with opposing ‘PP’ design (estimate: CHF350,000-700,000 | $400,000-790,000).

* Rolex Paul Newman reference 6262: The Rolex reference 6262 Daytona ‘Paul Newman’, made for the Peruvian Airforce, was one of the stars of the now legendary Christie’s 2013 auction 'Rolex Daytona - Lesson One - 50 exceptional examples of the world's most celebrated chronograph wristwatch'. It appears to be the only FAP - Fuerza Aerea del Perù - reference 6262 with Paul Newman dial known to exist. Between 1962 and the late 1970s, FAP is thought to have received around 700 watches including Daytonas, Submariners and GMT’s which were intended for high-ranking officials (estimate: CHF245,000-500,000 | $280,000-560,000).

* 70 years of Rolex making: Formerly owned by Gordon Bethune, reference 6036 ‘Jean Claude Killy’, named after a French Olympic skier, associated with Rolex for 40 years, was launched in 1950 and in production until the very early 1960s. No other Rolex model ever offered more complications. Available in either stainless steel, yellow or pink gold, it came with a variety of different dial designs (estimate CHF160,000-200,000 | $190,000-360,000).

* Reference 6100 - 'Les Armoiries' (coat of arms) is 1 of 3 Rolex wristwatches featuring a cloisonné enamel dial decorated with a coat of arms known to date. Decorated by Marguerite Koch in the 1950s, vintage cloisonné dials exhibit a certain colour palette which is more tonal and characterful than modern enamels, due to materials such as lead, mercury and cyanide still allowed to be used in the enamelling process in the 1950s (estimate CHF220,000-440,000 | $250,000-500,000).

* Part of an Important Private Collection, the rare Rolex reference 5513 made for Comex (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise) circa 1971, comes with a very rare dial displaying an attractively discoloured luminous material and is assembled with a stainless steel case, featuring a Helium Escape Valve and the case back is engraved “Rolex Comex”. As of the late 1960s (estimate CHF 70,000-140,000 | $80,000-160,000).

* To commemorate the formation of the Royal Navy Clearance Diver Branch 60 years ago, Rolex agreed in 2013 to produce a limited series of only 50 'Royal Navy Clearance Diver Special Edition' Sea Dweller Deepsea Watches, reference 116660, featuring a high relief representation of the Royal Navy Clearance Diver's crest on the cases’ back. The original owner was a first class diver and bomb disposal officer and a bound volume of his extensive dive logs is sold with this watch (estimate CHF30,000-60,000 | $34,000-68,000).

* Part of an Important Private Collection the iconic Daytona reference 116508 has become arguably the most sought-after Daytona. Enhancing its appeal, the green dial is creating a powerful contrast with the yellow gold case and bracelet. The watch was launched at the 2016 Baselworld, equipped with a fully in-house Rolex movement and increased power reserve: 72 hours compared to 54 (estimate CHF40,000-60,000 | $46,000-68,000).

* Modern Patek Philippe of the past 15 years: One of the rarest specimens of all Patek Philippe World Time, reference 5130G-011 is the only known to feature a Top Wesselton diamond on the dial, replacing the city of London's time zone. Launched in 2006 reference 5130 comes in a classic Calatrava style featuring a larger diameter of 39.5 mm. Much inspired by the celebrated reference 1415, Patek Philippe's first World Time watch introduced in the 1930s, the dial is decorated with a new guilloché sunburst pattern. The ring-shaped hour hand is also reminiscent of the firm's historic World Time watches, symbolizing the globe (estimate: CHF100,000-200,000 | $120,000-230,000).

* Fresh to the market and from an Important Private Collection, the extraordinary blue dial reference 5059P, dating from circa 2015 is the first example ever to be offered at auction. It is the only known example of the platinum reference 5059 bearing the Patek Philippe’s ‘PP’ certification of excellence mark on its movement instead of the traditional ‘Geneva seal’. Introduced in 1998, reference 5059 was the first serially produced perpetual calendar wristwatch with retrograde date to be made by Patek Philippe (estimate: CHF110,000-220,000 | $130,000-250,000).

* Released in 2017, the sporty and elegant Aquanaut Travel Time reference 5650G is unlike all previous Patek Philippe Advance Research models. Made in a limited edition of 500 pieces in white gold, its purpose is to showcase two important horological innovations - the new flexible mechanism used to set the second time zone that operates without conventional pivots and the ‘Spiromax’ balance spring made of ‘Silinvar’ (estimate CHF300,000-600,000 | $340,000-680,000).

* Sold at Patek Philippe’s Rue du Rhone salon in September 2021, the small-size unique timepiece is a superb example of Patek Philippe’s famous ‘Dome’ reference 10020M-001. Entirely decorated with hand-made cloisonné enamel panels in geometric design resembling Spanish and Portuguese azulejos. The very limited production is a result of the few artisans skilled enough to decorate the clock's challenging curved surfaces. Since their launch in 1955, few examples of these clocks are produced every year (estimate CHF120,000-240,000 | $140,000-270,000).

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