Watch Collectors Be Warned: Upcoming Phillips Auction Not for the Faint of Heart
This fall promises to be one of the most exciting seasons on the auction calendar, especially at Phillips. Some of the rarest and most coveted watches in history are touring the world now for previews before going up for auction in Geneva in November. The Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: Four (taking place November 12 and 13), will include an incredible trilogy of Patek Philippe watches, including a stainless steel version, as well as rare Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet and more – with some expected to fetch well over a million dollars each.
Highlights of the sale will be on view in Hong Kong from October 1-5, in New York on October 13-17 and in London on October 22-24. Here we bring you a look at some of the lots we expect to command top dollar.
Easily the top highlight is the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518. The Geneva Watch Auction: Four has a trio of this reference going up for sale, including a very a rare stainless steel version. Those in the watch-collecting world know that this is an unprecedented metal for the brand to use in watchmaking, especially for its complicated classics. This timepiece is the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph that was produced in series. Just 281 were ever made, most of the min yellow gold. Just four were created in stainless steel and so that timepiece is expected to fetch more than 3 million Swiss Francs (CHF). There is also a pink gold and yellow gold version up for sale, with the pink gold expected o sell for between $600,000 and 1.2 million CHF and the yellow gold version expected to go for between 250,000 and 500,000 CHF.
Another Patek Philippe watch, Ref. 565, referred to as “The Night Watchman” is also up for sale. The 1940’s stainless steel watch should sell for between 200,000 and 400,000 CHF. It was owned by a night watchman, and was presented to him in recognition for his dedication. It is a unique piece and features a black dial with radium hands and numerals.
Naturally, Rolex has a high presence in the auction, as well, with many lots expected to be top of the crowd pleasers. Expected to garner between half a million and 1 million CHF, the Rolex Ref. 6085 “The Dragon” watch is an absolute beauty. Made in 1951, this crowning achievement is an 18-karat gold artistic masterpiece with hand-painted cloisonné’ dial depicting a colorful dragon. Just five of these watches are known to date. This 6085 is most likely unique. Rolex cloisonné enamel dials are exceptionally rare.
Not far behind the Dragon – hopefully pulling in top dollar at 300,000 to 600,000 CHF, is a rare Rolex “The Perfect Rose” watch, Reference 3330. Considered one of the most rare references created by the brand, the Ref. 3330 is a large (for its time) 37mm pre-Oyster Rolex chronograph created in the 1940’s and made of rose gold with a stunning original rose-colored multi-scale dial.
We are particularly excited about an Omega watch that we are confident will sell for more than the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 CHF. The Speedmaster Professional, “Alaska II” Project watch demonstrates the brand’s long-standing work in exploration and space travel. Built in 1970, this is one of just three Alaska II watches ever made for the secret project Omega worked on to crate the perfect space watch. The watch, considered a “holy grail” Speedmaster, is sold with the original red anodized aluminum protective over case that was to act as a heat shield. The watch features a snow-white matte dial with black racing hands and “Apollo” style register hands for the chronograph hours and minutes. One of the two siblings of this prototype watch resides in the Omega Museum, and the other is privately owned.
At a more affordable level, up for auction is a Breguet Type XX “Sir Jack Brabham” watch – a tribute to the three-time world champion of Formula One in 1959, 1960, and 1966. Expected to sell for between 20,000 and 40,000 CHF, this watch was gifted to Brabham – who built his own car – by Esso. Brabham actually appeared in several Esso Extra Motor Oil ads. The watch, sold to Esso in 1960, is a stainless steel chronograph and the caseback is engraved: “Esso J.B. Champion Du Monde 1959.”
The spring season for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo was a record-breaking season, and this upcoming double-night sale promises to break even those records. The big event is at La Reserve in Geneva.