International auction house Sotheby’s is going to open the bidding for the first section of Important Watches Sale I in Geneva, on May 11. The auction’s collection includes 100 stunning and rare watches by finest watchmakers like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Franck Muller, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Blancpain.
We pick our five favourites.
Patek Philippe 3974
This beautiful watch by Patek Philippe was announced in 1989 to mark 150 years of the Swiss watchmaker. It has a self-winding movement with a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, phases of the moon, leap year and 24 hours indication. According to Sotheby’s, this watch, in its launch year, was the most complicated wristwatch in the world. The timepiece is cased in yellow gold and was manufactured at the very beginning of the launch. It is accompanied with the original certificate of origin.
After an 11-year production run, this timepiece was discontinued in 2000 by Patek Philippe.
Estimated bid: Up to $5,47,091 (approximately)
Breguet Classique 1907BA12
This marvellous pocket watch was created in 2010 for one, very special customer and was sold for $1 million. The dial is the quintessential Breguet with brushed chapter rings. The time is indicated in regulator format, the minutes are indicated separately, around outer the most track, from the hours, which are displayed on a subsidiary dial with roman numerals. At 5 o’clock, an aperture reveals a one minute tourbillon carriage and between seven and nine, a window displaying two polished hammers can be seen. These hammers chime the hours, quarter hours and minutes on demand and through grand and petite sonnerie striking.
The back case reveals a sapphire crystal display showcasing the nicely finished and fascinatingly complex movement. Comprising of 525 individual pieces and 43 jewels, this keyless winding movement runs for 56 hours on a full barrel.
This stunning timepiece has a highly complicated tourbillon that has a beautiful display. Skilled watchmakers and jewellers at Chopard in Fleurier have crafted the 99 diamonds, weighing 7.15 carats in total on the dial, while the case boasts an impressive 101 diamonds weighing 15.80 carats. The entire piece, which was made in 2005, has a diamond weight of 22.95 carats!
Large baguette diamonds can be spotted from all sides, except from the back, where the complicated and handcrafted movement is visible. The sophisticated tourbillon carriage is revealed on the dial. The watch is set in white gold and is completely decked in diamonds, including the power reserve indication.
Estimated bid:Up to $2,18,836 (approximately)
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 25829
Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet had released the first perpetual calendar Royal Oak in 1983. This watch has 39mm diameter, and models in the second half of the 1990s were revealed in different metals such as stainless steel, pink or yellow gold, platinum and tantalum combined with another precious metal. It has Swiss watch designer and artist Gérald Genta’s perpetual calendar complication and skeletonized dial, which makes it one of the most sought-after timepieces.
This timepiece has a stainless steel case and bracelet, is powered by the automatic calibre 2120 which is composed of 343 parts. Both the sapphire display back and the skeletonized dial enables the viewer to see the spectacular movement from the front and back, making it a fine example of micro-engineering and the beautifully chased rotor within.
Estimated bid:Up to $1,31,301 (approximately)
Rolex ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master 6542
Succeeding Rolex’s first GMT-Master, this watch was introduced in 1959 in response to Pan Am Airways’ ever increasing number of transatlantic flights. It features dual time that indicates the time in two different zones, which were a helpful tool for pilots back then. The model is equipped with a Bakelite bezel, which is prone to cracking and emits strong levels of radiation due to the use of radium on the numbers in the dial. This was the cause of some controversy in the US and so Rolex, in 1961, had recalled these bezels and replaced them with anodized metal ones. Hence, the original watches with Bakelite bezel have become popular among collectors.
The gilt dial has changed to a warm brown hue with age. These dials, known as tropical dials and features the aptly nicknamed eagle’s beak crown guards, another attribute signalling this watch is an early production and considered a true vintage Rolex.