The watch auction world’s attention shifts to New York this month where Sotheby’s hosts its Important Watches auction on December 11 with vintage and modern timepieces from Patek Philippe, Rolex and Jaeger-LeCoultre among 270 pieces going under the hammer.
A public exhibition to see the watches opens in Sotheby’s New York galleries on December 5.
Patek Philippe is likely to command the highest prices for watches including a Ref 1518 Pink Gold Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch with Moon Phases, made in 1946. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000).
A Patek Philippe Ref 130 Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch from 1947 has an estimate of $100,000 to $200,000 while a Ref 3448 Yellow Gold Perpetual Calendar with Moon Phases Hard Enamel Signature and Pearl Minute Markers, made in 1970, is expected to command $150,000 to $250,000.
The top 10 lots at the auction, described by Sotheby’s are:
An Extremely Rare and Highly Attractive Pink Gold Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch with Moon Phases, made in 1946 (estimate $300/500,000). Introduced in 1941, the Ref 1518 is an important part of Patek Philippe’s history as the firm’s first perpetual chronograph wristwatch made in series, influencing the perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatches that followed. Of the 281 examples that were made, scholarship suggests that only 34 examples were encased in pink gold. The present example is an extremely rare variant of this reference with its silvered dial featuring hard enamel Arabic hour markers. With roughly only 20 watches produced per year, the highly sought after and rare Ref 1518 has become a staple piece within vintage connoisseurs’ collections.
Ref 130, A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch, made in 1947 (pictured left, estimate $100/200,000); and the Ref 3448, A Yellow Gold Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Moon Phases Hard Enamel Signature and Pearl Minute Markers, made in 1970 – a highly popular reference representing the very first automatic perpetual calendar produced in a series (estimate $150/250,000).
Ref 5021, An Exceptionally Rare and Fine Platinum and Diamond-Set Cushion-Shaped Automatic Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch with Moon Phases 24 Hour and Leap Year Indication, made in 1997 leads an exceptional selection of Patek Philippe minute repeaters (estimate $400/600,000). An exceedingly rare variant of the reference 5020, only two examples of the Ref 5021 in platinum – including of the present watch – have appeared at auction. Made with pavé-set diamond bezel and lugs, black lacquer dials and chaton-set diamond marker, the Ref 5021’s unusual case design houses the legendary Lemania based Cal M.27-70/155 with Geneva Seal.
Ref 5020G ‘Luminous Grey Dial’, A Possibly Unique White Gold Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch with Moon Phases and Leap Year Indication, made in 2009 (estimate $350/550,000). Launched in 1994, the 5020 – also known as the ‘TV’ screen due to its cushion-shaped case design – is an extremely rare variant of Patek Philippe’s most important series, the perpetual calendar chronograph. The reference was only in production for about eight years and fewer than 800 pieces were made in total, with only 100 pieces housed in white gold. Appearing at auction for the first time, the rare example features a special-order grey dial featuring Breguet 12, tachymeter scale and six luminous numerals and hands.
Patek Philippe Ref 3970/2, A Possibly Unique Yellow Gold Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet and Moon Phases, made in 2008 (estimate $150/250,000). The present watch features a black dial with a tachymeter scale and an applied Breguet numeral at 12 o’clock and applied dot hour markers. Only a handful of examples in yellow gold of the extremely rare reference are known to date. Appearing at auction for the first time, the watch is offered in its original Patek Philippe single-factory seal.
An exceptional selection of Patek Philippe minute repeaters are led by the Ref 5033, A Platinum Automatic Annual Calendar Minute Repeating Wristwatch, introduced in 2002, and according to scholarship, produced in a series of fewer than 80 pieces for the reference were produced (pictured left, estimate $230/350,000); Ref 5013, A Pink Gold Minute Repeating Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Retrograde Date Moon Phases and Leap Year Indication, made in 2000 – the firm’s most complicated wristwatch made in a series and the first wristwatch to combine an automatic movement with minute repeater, retrograde date and perpetual calendar (estimate $250/350,000).
Patek Philippe’s Ref 5723 Nautilus, A Pink Gold and Diamond-Set Bracelet Watch with Date and Pink Dial, circa 2014 highlights a selection of 15 Nautilus wristwatches (estimate $200/300,000).
Mellerio Pink Gold Rectangular Wristwatch, circa 1975, previously in the collection of actress Carrie Fisher, most famous for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, among other iconic turns (pictured right, estimate $10/15,000).
Rolex Ref 5508 Submariner ‘Small Crown’, A Stainless Steel Automatic Center Seconds Wristwatch with Bracelet, circa 1958 (estimate $120/220,000).
Rolex Ref 6036, A Stainless Steel Triple Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch, circa 1952 (estimate $150/250,000). Associated with the legendary French Olympic gold medal winning skier, Rolex Ambassador and board member Jean-Claude Killy, the watch housed a Valjoux 72C movement, considered one of the most sophisticated and complex movements ever to be used by Rolex.