Later this week, Phillips is holding two blockbuster watch auctions in Geneva. The first, Start-Stop-Reset, features 88 fantastic stainless steel chronographs across a number of brands. The next, the Geneva Watch Auction: Three, features a number of exceedingly rare pieces from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega and more. Here’s a quick preview of some of the most noteworthy lots from both auctions.
Start-Stop-Reset: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronograph Geneva Auction
Date: May 14, 2016
Lot 19: Universal Aero-Compax, 22’432, Stainless steel, 1944
From the catalogue essay: The “Compax” was introduced in 1935 as the world’s first chronograph wristwatch with hour and minute registers. Members of the armed forces appreciated this new style for its functionality. The models were available in different case materials and forms, as well as a variety of dial layouts using the names ‘Tri-Compax,’ ‘Uni-Compax,’ and Aero-Compax.’ Read More.
Estimate CHF 15,000 – 30,000
Lot 31: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona “Paul Newman Oyster Sotto”, 6263, stamped inside caseback 6239, Stainless steel, 1969
From the catalogue essay: The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman “Oyster Sotto” is, without any doubt, a dream watch for collectors around the world except for special orders and unique pieces. Of all the different variants, styles, and configurations of Rolex’s iconic Daytona model, the Oyster Sotto is the pinnacle, positioned at the very top of the hierarchical tree in terms of prestige and desirability, but also rarity. Read More.
Estimate CHF 750,000 – 1,500,000
Lot 49: Breitling “Duograph”, 791, Stainless steel, 1955
From the catalogue essay: Combining a superb complication, stunning aesthetics, and an important racing provenance, the present lot is one of the most exciting Breitling wristwatches to appear on the market in recent memory.
A “Duograph” model, it was Breitling’s most prestigious wristwatch incorporating a split-seconds chronograph that began production in the 1940s. The perfect tool for recording intermediate periods of time, it was offered in stainless steel, yellow gold, and pink gold. Read more.
Estimate CHF 30,000 – 60,000
Lot 56: Rolex Antimagnetique, Stainless steel, 1942
From the catalogue essay: Whenever the Rolex stainless steel reference 4113 split-seconds chronograph has appeared at auction it has always been a sensational horological event. The last two appearances have both resulted in a then new world record for a Rolex watch selling publicly.
Scholarship tells us only twelve examples of reference 4113 were manufactured, and all were encased in stainless steel. From extensive research, three of the twelve examples have unknown whereabouts. All of the examples carry case numbers that range from 051’313 to 051’324, which means the present example was the second one made. Read more.
Estimate CHF 800,000 – 1,600,000
Lot 59: Longines A7, 27748 (Military Number), Chrome plated, 1935
From the catalogue essay: The US Army Air Corps (1926-1941), predecessor of the US Army Air Forces (1941-1947), and later on renamed US Air Force (1947 – present days) adopted Type designations for many of their issued equipment watches such as the “Type A” specification. The Longines A-7 “Avigation” was designed for aircraft navigation, “Aerial Navigation”, from which derives the conjunction “Avigation”.
Type A-7 watches are immediately recognizable thanks to their unusual and unique, off-center dials. The single button pusher incorporated into the crown allowed pilot to easily start, stop and reset the chronograph to zero. With massive cases measuring 51 mm in diameter, they are true trophies for collectors of military timepieces. Read more.
Estimate CHF 50,000 – 100,000
Phillips Geneva Auction Three
Date: May 15, 2016
Lot 160: Patek Philippe 3974, 18k yellow gold, 1990
From the catalogue essay: The reference 3974 was launched in 1989 to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary. A self-winding watch and featuring a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, 24-hour indication and phases of the moon, it was the world’s most complicated wristwatch when launched.
The movement beating in the heart of this masterpiece is Patek’s caliber 27RQ comprised of 467 components and coming at in at a mere thickness of 6.80 mm. Another surprising feature is the micro-rotor not only providing an unobtrusive view into the superbly finished movement, but also making the reference 3974 the first automatic winding minute repeater ever made. Read more.
Estimate CHF 400,000 – 800,000
Lot 190: Rolex GMT-Master, 6542, 18k yellow gold, 1958
From the catalogue essay: This wonderfully charismatic representative of the reference 6542 stands out with its breathtaking condition and beauty. It is, to the best of our knowledge, the best-preserved and most complete 18-karat gold known in the collecting community.
Launched in 1954, the iconic Rolex GMT Master was designed as an aviator’s watch. With the introduction of jet engine technology and the rise of the “jet-set”, flight distances increased beginning in the 1940s, creating a need for pilots and travelers to keep track of multiple time zones simultaneously. Recognizing this need, Rolex worked with Pan Am Airlines to develop an ingeniously simple solution leveraging the design of the ref. 6202 Turn-O-Graph Rolex introduced in 1953, and the GMT Master was born. It was immediately recognizable with its bright Bakelite bezel insert with luminous 24-hour numerals printed within. A newly introduced fourth hand, together with the 24-hour markings on the bezel, permitted the instantaneous indication of time in a second time zone. Read more.
Estimate CHF 180,000 – 280,000
Lot 192: Rolex “Stelline”, 6062, 18k yellow gold, 1950
From the catalogue essay: Reference 6062 is one of only two models ever made by Rolex featuring a full calendar and the phases of the moon, together with reference 8171. Reference 6062 was made in the early 1950s for only a few years, and until today we have only seen examples in stainless steel, yellow gold or pink gold. The model remains to be not only one of the rarest vintage collector watches, but also amongst the most valuable. Read more.
Estimate CHF 500,000 – 1,000,000
Lot 214: Patek Philippe 2499, 18k yellow gold, 1956
From the catalogue essay: In the history of watchmaking there are timepieces which have become immediately identifiable with their maker and the perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch is unmistakably part of Patek Philippe’s genetic code.
To fully understand this interlink, one must go back to the reference 1518 from 1941 when Patek Philippe launched its first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, which also happened to be the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch made in series! Read more.
Estimate CHF 800,000 – 1,500,000
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