H1zxfbek rolex versus gronefeld

Vintage Rolex watches compete with modern independent masterpieces at New York auction

Vintage Rolex, Patek Philippe and Longines compete for collectors' bids with modern independents.

Rolex, Gronefeld, Patek Philippe and MB&F at the Sotheby’s vintage and modern Important Watches auction.

It is a buyers’ market at this year’s auctions as prices fall for all-but the most exceptional and rare watches with fascinating provenance.

Today’s market is far from abnormal.

A new breed of collectors may be sitting on their paddles or hesitating before bidding online, but the old guard are still active and this is a great time to indulge in a passionate hobby with a few new watches bought at far more reasonable prices.

It’s like 2019, but with more collectors.

Sotheby’s in New York is spreading its bets for its Important Watches auction on December 7 by separating out vintage and more contemporary timepieces.

Vintage highlights of the Important Watches auction

(descriptions, images and estimates from Sotheby’s)

Patek philippe reference 1518 01

Patek Philippe: Reference 1518R | A pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, Made in 1950.

Estimate $800,000 to $1,500,000

The Patek Philippe Reference 1518, launched in 1941 during World War II, is a historic masterpiece, being the first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch.

This landmark timepiece set the standard for haute horology, with notable owners including Henry Graves Jr. and King Farouk I.

The present example holds a unique place in the American Dream narrative, given as a gift in 1950 to Joseph A. Kaplan, a self-made entrepreneur, by his son Harold Kaplan.

The watch remained in the family’s possession since it was purchased in 1952, passing down through generations.

To discover a previously unknown and undiscovered vintage watch with a single owner in this condition is what elevates an extraordinary watch to ‘grail-status’ for collectors of Patek Philippe.

Rolex reference 6241 daytona paul newman john player special 02

Rolex: Reference 6241 Daytona Paul Newman ‘John Player Special’ | A yellow gold chronograph wristwatch, Circa 1969

Estimate $400,000 to $600,000

Fresh to the market, this 14ct yellow gold example of the iconic John Player Special is truly a superlative and astonishingly well preserved masterpiece.

This reference 6241 distinguishes itself by its untouched dial and case, robust and heavy with patina.

Hidden in a small pouch within a bank’s safety deposit box, the watch was forgotten and laid untouched for nearly 50 years.

Patek philippe reference 1463 tasti tondi 02

Patek Philippe: Reference 1463 ‘Tasti Tondi’ | Retailed by Tiffany & Co.: A yellow gold chronograph wristwatch, Circa 1950

Estimate $200,000 to $400,000.

The Patek Philippe reference 1463, affectionately known among collectors as ‘Tasti Tondi’ for its distinctive round pushers, made its debut in 1940, heralding a departure from previous chronographs by the brand in several notable ways.

The reference 1463 exudes a blend of sportiness and elegance, rendering it a highly sought-after collectible.

Of special note, this particular example was made for the famed American retailer Tiffany & Co., as evidenced by the prestigious Tiffany signature positioned above the Patek Philippe signature.

Longines weems angle hour 02

Longines: Weems Angle Hour | Retailed by A. Wittnauer Co.: An oversized silver Aviator’s wristwatch with sidereal time, Circa 1933

Estimate $100,000 to $200,000.

This Longines watch was owned by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, one of America’s greatest explorers, renowned for mapping the Antarctic.

Acquired during the 1934 ‘Byrd Antarctic Expedition II,’ it features a special sidereal time movement, crucial for celestial navigation.

Byrd, a Longines advocate, specified its requirements. This watch, likely the finest of its time, aided Byrd in his historic South Pole flight, as traditional compasses failed near the Poles.

The watch, surviving in remarkable condition, comes with original transcripts and flight logs from the 1933-1935 Expedition, solidifying its role not just as a witness but an integral part of history.

Rolex reference 6541 milgauss 02

Rolex: Reference 6541 Milgauss | A stainless steel anti-magnetic wristwatch with honeycomb dial, Circa 1959

Estimate $180,000 to $360,000.

The Rolex Milgauss reference 6541, introduced in 1956, epitomizes the ‘tool watch’ concept for scientists and engineers in magnetic environments.

Its “lightning” seconds hand pays tribute to electromagnetism, and it guarantees resilience to magnetic fields up to 1,000 oersted.

Modern highlights of the Important Watches auction

Fp journe chronometre a resonance ruthenium 01

F.P. Journe: Chronomètre à Résonance ‘Ruthenium’ | A limited edition platinum dual time wristwatch with power reserve indication and brass movement, Circa 2001

Estimate $350,000 to $450,000.

The Ruthenium Collection, F.P. Journe’s limited edition series from 2001 to 2004, introduced five models in platinum with ruthenium-coated gold dials and brass movements, each produced in a numbered series of 99 pieces.

Notably, these were Journe’s first 40mm brass movement watches. Among the models is the Chronomètre à Résonance, a horological marvel featuring dual balance wheels that act in tandem, enhancing precision through resonance.

The concept traces back to the observations of Dutch mathematician Christiaan Hygens and the ground-breaking work of French clockmaker Antide Janvier.

François-Paul Journe’s pursuit of résonance culminated in the unveiling of the world’s first résonance wristwatch in 2000.

The fusion of this iconic complication with rare ruthenium makes the Chronomètre à Résonance a mechanically and visually impressive timepiece.

A. Lange sohne reference 706. 025fe tourbograph perpetual pour le merite 02

A. Lange & Söhne: Reference 706.025FE Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour le Mérite’ | A limited edition platinum perpetual calendar tourbillon split seconds chronograph wristwatch with chain and fusée and moon phases, Circa 2017

Estimate $150,000 to $300,000.

The A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour le Mérite,’ introduced at SIHH in 2017, is the pinnacle of the esteemed series that began in 1994.

The series, known for its fusée-and-chain mechanism, has evolved over five models, each with varying complications.

This fifth model, limited to 50 pieces in platinum, enhances the foundation set by its predecessors by incorporating a chronograph with rattrapante and a perpetual calendar.

Powered by the manual winding L133.1 caliber with 684 components, it showcases exceptional engineering and craftsmanship, solidifying A. Lange & Söhne’s standing among enthusiasts.

Gronefeld 1941 deccennium tourbillon 02

Grönefeld: 1941 Deccennium Tourbillon | A limited edition platinum tourbillon wristwatch, Circa 2019

Estimate $70,000 to $140,000

Since 2009, brothers Tim & Bart Grönefeld have been crafting exceptional wristwatches, with their flagship model, the 1941, paying homage to their father’s birth year.

The Deccennium Tourbillon (2019), a platinum masterpiece limited to 10 pieces, commemorates a decade of the Grönefeld maison.

Combining a 200-year-old tourbillon complication with modern design, the timepiece showcases over a dozen finishing techniques on the movement.

As one of just ten produced, this platinum gem is a significant milestone in the brand’s growing history.

Mbf reference hm9 sapphire vision flow 01

MB&F: Reference HM9 ‘Sapphire Vision’ Flow | A limited edition white gold and sapphire crystal wristwatch with two balance wheels with planetary differential and dual spherical propellers under the balance wheels, Circa 2021

Estimate $150,000 to $300,000.

MB&F, founded by Max Busser, is renowned for ground-breaking, futuristic, and playful timepieces.

The HM9 ‘Flow’ (2018) drew inspiration from Streamline Moderne design.

This limited edition variant, with an 18ct white gold frame and pink gold plated engine, represents the pinnacle of MB&F’s craftsmanship.

A. Lange sohne reference 703. 048f cabaret tourbillon handwerkskunst 02

A. Lange & Söhne: Reference 703.048F Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst | A limited edition platinum tourbillon wristwatch with digital date display and power reserve indication, Circa 2021

Estimate $100,000 to $200,000.

The A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst reference 703.048, was introduced in 2021 as a limited edition of 30 pieces, is the seventh instalment in the Handwerkskunst series, emphasizing artistic finishing techniques.

Paying homage to the Cabaret Tourbillon of 2008, it features a V-shaped spring for precise time adjustment. This Handwerkskunst variation showcases meticulous hand-finished decorations on the solid white gold dial and movement.

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