Christie’s a watches wonderland in new York – vintage and contemporary timepieces

Following the success of the auction held in New York this past June, which totalled US$21,743,070, the autumn/winter season promises to excite with Christie’s New York Important Watches on December 8th. This will be a Live Auction comprising 117 lots, featuring fine vintage and modern horological masterpieces from the world’s most reputable and desirable brands.

Vintage highlights from Patek Philippe include a very rare and attractive 18k rose gold wristwatch with a captivating cloisonné enamel dial featuring a Viking longship, manufactured in 1950, and an extraordinarily rare 18k yellow gold Nautilus Ref. 3700 with a diamond-set bezel from 1980.

Other classic treasures include an attractive 18k gold Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 along with one of the rarest sport watches produced by Tudor, the “Big Crown” Reference 7924, which was in production for one year only between 1958 and 1959.

More modern timepieces include a number of Patek Philippe desirable green dial references: the striking grande complication 5270P-014 and the Nautilus 5711-014.

There will also be a limited-edition Richard Mille Ref. RM67-02 “Alexander Zverev” as well as a Vacheron Constantin platinum minute repeating wristwatch, which was produced in a limited edition of only 10 examples.

Moreover, the sale will present a Single Owner collection of highly desirable Patek Philippe references retailed by Tiffany & Co. as well as a selection of very attractive and rare skeleton, gem and diamond-set, or hardstone dial timepieces.

Let’s see these incredible timepieces:

Audemars Piguet Ref. 26591TI.OO.1252TI.02, Royal Oak

Lot 113 – Audemars Piguet Ref. 26591TI.OO.1252TI.02, Royal Oak. A very fine and extremely rare titanium minute repeater supersonnerie wristwatch, limited to 35 examples.

Audemars Piguet reference 26591TI is one of the most impressive and rare timepieces from the contemporary Royal Oak family. Released without fanfare in 2021 in only 35 examples, this model of the iconic Royal Oak has been crafted in a large 42mm case with a beautiful salmon tapisserie dial.

With its large case and bracelet, one would expect a heavy presence on the wrist.

However, weighing in at a mere 124 grams thanks to its titanium construction, it is barely noticeable to the wearer. Furthermore, a minute repeating supersonnerie has been integrated in the timepiece, with the titanium case giving the complication’s chime a unique tonal resonance.

(Est: US$350,000-550,000)

Patek Philippe Ref. 5990/1A-001, Nautilus

Lot 106 – Patek Philippe Ref. 5990/1A-001, Nautilus. A very rare steel travel time flyback chronograph bracelet watch with date and day/night indicators, signed and retailed by Tiffany & Co..
Introduced in 1976, the design of the Patek Philippe Nautilus was inspired by a ship’s portholes. The original reference 3700 was constructed with a monobloc case, replicating the way portholes were opened on vessels.

The present lot, reference 5990/1A-001, is a contemporary wristwatch dating to 2018. It is one of the most functional watches from the Nautilus line, and greatly favoured by collectors.

The watch features a travel time function with disguised pushers that are found in the left “ear” of the case. The pushers adjust a second time zone hand that can be jumped forwards and backwards by the hour. An ingenious touch: When a second time zone is not necessary, that hand can be discreetly tucked out of sight behind the primary hour hand.

The watch also features day/night indicators to correspond with the hands. As if that were not enough, Patek Philippe continues to uphold their spot as a premier manufacturer by adding a flyback chronograph and date complication to the already impressive timepiece.

The case of this complicated wristwatch measures in at 40.5mm and is crafted from steel, the favourite of collectors, for ultimate durability and comfort. Adding to the rarity and desirability of this timepiece is the “Tiffany & Co.” signature, subtly placed near the 6 o’clock register.

(Est: US$150,000-250,000)

Patek Philippe rare 18k gold

Lot 46 – Patek Philippe. A very fine, rare and attractive 18k rose gold wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial, manufactured in 1950.
Wristwatches fitted with cloisonné enamel dials take a most prominent position in terms of beauty, craftsmanship, and rarity. Produced mostly in the 1940s and 50s, Patek Philippe made an exceedingly small number of “time only” wristwatches where highly detailed and incredibly artistic cloisonné enamel dials were fitted.

Only an extremely small number of watches were upgraded with these wonderful dials, depicting popular motifs such as a jungle, a lighthouse and sail boats, flowers, portraits, and maps.

The present dial was crafted to special order in 1950, and was, most likely, originally delivered to France, to be housed in a French-manufactured case. After World War II, this was quite common practice in alignment with the post-war economic effort. Importing foreign jewellery was prohibited in France, so many Swiss makers had their cases made in France, often after their own Swiss model.

Given these constraints, Patek Philippe worked closely with French firms such as Guillermin, providing dials and movements under the agreement that Patek Philippe standards would be upheld.

This watch was sold previously at Christie’s in 2005 and has remained well- preserved with the present consignor.

Today, most of the vintage wristwatches by Patek Philippe fitted with cloisonné enamel dials are either in the world’s most important and exclusive private collections, or permanently showcased in the firm’s museum in Geneva. Consequently, opportunities to acquire one example, especially of such beauty, have become extremely rare events in the international auction arena.

(Est: US$200,000-400,000)

Patek Philippe Ref. 3700, Nautilus

Lot 108 – Patek Philippe Ref. 3700, Nautilus. An extremely rare and attractive 18k yellow gold and diamond-set bracelet watch with date. Manufactured in 1980.

The present lot may be one of the rarest Nautilus watches to exist. Even many keen-eyed, veteran collectors have never heard of or seen reference 3700/4.

According to research, this watch is the second reference 3700/4 to ever appear at auction. In addition to the present lot’s rarity with a well- preserved case and bracelet crafted from 18k yellow gold, the bezel is factory embellished with 72 glamorous diamonds.

Typically, stones are set directly on top of the bezel, but reference 3700/4 has them placed on the outer bevel. This charming detail adds to the complexity and subtly of this seldom-seen timepiece. Between the beauty and rarity of the gold case and lustrous diamond bezel, this watch is truly a delight to behold for any serious collector.

(Est: US$230,000-330,000)

Rolex Ref. 6265, Daytona

Lot 72 – Rolex Ref. 6265, Daytona. A very fine and rare 18k yellow gold chronograph wristwatch. Manufactured in 1981.
Four-digit Rolex Daytona’s are some of the most desirable and collectible wristwatches, and reference 6265 is no exception.

The timepiece is constructed from 18k yellow gold and has a screw-down crown and pushers to ensure a water-tight seal. They also offer a sportier aesthetic. The watch has a matte black dial and gold registers that complement the 18k yellow gold case. This gold and black combination provides a striking, beautiful contrast. Another interesting and distinctive feature about Reference 6265 is the “Oyster” text below Rolex. It is in larger type and “Perpetual” is absent because the watch is manually wound. The watch case measures in at 37mm, making it more suitable for a wider range of wrist sizes. However, it remains a presence due to the sporty styling and 18k yellow gold case.

(Est: US$160,000-260,000)

Tudor “Big Crown” Reference 7924

Lot 67 – Tudor “Big Crown” Reference 7924. This reference was manufactured only in 1958 and 1959.
With serial numbers ranging from 275XXX to 295XXX, reference 7924 is an exceptionally rare watch and a grail among vintage watch collectors worldwide.

Reference 7924 was Tudor’s most capable dive watch in the late 1950’s thank to its thick, robust, stainless steel case and oversized 8mm crown. Rated to 200 meters/660 feet, the 7924 was the brand’s offering alongside Rolex Reference 6538 and Reference 5510.

In fact, aside from the movement and dial, Tudor reference 7924 is identical to its iconic Rolex “Big Crown” brothers. The present lot reference is the only vintage big crown produced in a series by Tudor. It is also the last “No Crown Guard” 200 meter depth rated dive watch made by the brand.

(Est: US$60,000-100,000)

Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A-014

Lot 22 – Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A-014, Nautilus. A very rare and highly desirable green dial, steel bracelet watch with date.
The present lot, reference 5711/1A-014, is a celebrational Nautilus that commemorates the final “victory lap” of Reference 5711. The fact that it is the last steel 5711 and because it was produced only for one year in very limited numbers, already makes this an extremely exclusive watch.

What differentiates the reference 5711/1A-014 is the olive green dial: It is the only Nautilus to sport a dial in this very subtle green tone. The case has a standard three-part construction rather than the original monobloc case, allowing for easier serviceability and a sapphire case back to view the in-house Calibre 324 S C.

The timepiece has a date complication with white gold hands and hour markers.

(Est: US$200,000-400,000)

Lot 117 – Patek Philippe Ref. 5270P-014. A very fine and rare platinum perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, leap year, day/night indicator, and green dial.
From enthusiasts to collectors alike, all eyes were captured at Baselworld 2011 with the introduction of Patek Philippe reference 5270.

The timepiece marked the latest iteration from the legendary Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph family that began with Reference 1518 in 1941. Reference 5270 sets itself apart from its predecessor (Ref. 5970) with a case diameter increased to 41mm and a case thickness decreased by 1mm. In- house Calibre CH 29-535 PS Q’s additional complication of a day/night indicator further highlights the engineering prowess. The subsidiary registers are, quite playfully, lowered just below the central axis.

Present lot, reference 5270P-014, is among the latest 2022 releases from the perpetual calendar chronograph family. Besides the bold and beautiful green dial, Patek Philippe has opted for a new style of pointed dauphine-style hands; broad and faceted, they resemble the hour markers on the dial. The outer tachymeter scale has also been omitted in favour of a “sporty” minute ring that gives the watch a cleaner aesthetic.

(Est: US$200,000-330,000)

Richard Mille Ref. RM67-02 “Alexander Zverev”

Lot 99 – Richard Mille Ref. RM67-02 “Alexander Zverev”. A very fine and rare tonneau-shaped wristwatch, number 297 in a limited edition of 497 examples.
Made to withstand the forces produced in high-intensity activities, the Richard Mille RM67-02 collection includes the perfect watches for super athletes.

The present lot was made in collaboration with German tennis superstar Alexander Zverev who personally wears this model while playing tennis. It is distinguished by the use of red and gold accents in the mid case, echoing the colours found on the flag of Germany. The present timepiece has a comfortable thickness of 7.8mm and an impressive weight of only 32 grams, which includes the strap. It is the lightest strap the brand has ever produced. incredible feather-light weight can be attributed to the patented Carbon and Quartz TPT (Thin Ply Technology) and titanium used to create the case.

The rotor of the automatic-winding calibre is visible through the skeletonised movement and further adds to the sporty and daring nature of the timepiece. The seamless elastic stretch strap helps the watch to be ready for action and wear at a blinks notice.

(Est: US$180,000-350,000)

F.P. Journe, Octa Réserve de Marche

Lot 79 – F.P. Journe, Octa Réserve de Marche. A very rare and early 18k rose gold wristwatch with date, power reserve, and brass movement.

Introduced in 2001, the Octa Réserve de Marche was F.P. Journe’s first automatic wristwatch following the legendary Tourbillion and Résonance. During the 2001-2014 production period of the Octa Réserve de Marche, approximately 800 pieces were created, making this an extremely rare and coveted timepiece.

The present lot’s collectability is furthered by a brass movement that is only found in Journe’s earliest work; it is quite distinct from the contemporary red gold movements which have since become synonymous with the brand. The dial has begun to develop a light patina, which is normal and highly desirable in Journe’s earliest work. This is due, at the time, to the work-in-progress in mastering dial lacquering. The present lot is housed in a favourable 38mm yellow gold case, suitable for a larger array of wrist sizes in contrast to the larger modern pieces.

(Est: US$120,000-220,000)