Christie’s amasses desirable Rolex and Patek Philippe models for next Rare Watches auction


The international auction season for top end timepieces is kicking into high gear this month, and among the key dates for collectors’ diaries is the Christie’s Rare Watches auction at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva on 14 May 2018.

The sale features 221 timepieces spanning 142 years of horological history from 1875 to 2017 at estimated prices starting at a modest CHF 2000 and ranging up to above CHF 1,0000,000.

Watches are up for sale from three important private collections, including 11 Patek Philippe pieces from a single owner.

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Another unnamed private collector is putting 47 mainly contemporary watches up for sale that have been acquired over the past decade and have been kept in mint condition with full documentation and packaging.

The third tranche is from an Italian collector who is offloading nine Rolexes, including a Daytona “Paul Newman” ref. 6264 with original guarantee that could sell for over CHF 250,000.

The top lot of the sale is this Patek Philippe “Grand Complication” ref. 5208P wristwatch, including a minute repeater, a single button chronograph and an instantaneous perpetual calendar (estimate CHF 700,000 – 1,000,000). It is one of Patek Philippe’s most complicated wristwatches ever made, offered exclusively to the firm’s top clients and by application only. Preserved like new, the present platinum reference 5208P is only the second example to come to auction.

“The Pearl of Bahrain” (estimate CHF 100,000 – 200,000) with its exalted royal provenance, bespoke design, visual magnetism and superb pristine condition is one of the most compelling and important time-only Patek Philippe wristwatches to ever be offered at auction. This exceptional and previously unrecorded 18K pink gold wristwatch with rose dial and natural seed pearl hour markers is one of only two known examples presented by His Highness Emir Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa I of Bahrain. The recipient of the present watch was John Eardley Allcard, a British businessman who spent most of his working life in the Middle East and whose involvement in advising on and the development of infrastructure in Bahrain in the 1950s, brought him into direct contact with His Highness, ruler of Bahrain in 1942 – 1961. Natural pearls of Bahrain have long been a source of national pride and commerce and are widely believed to be the best in the world.
The “Mk 1 Panda” Paul Newman Rolex Oyster Cosmograph reference 6263 (estimate CHF 600,000 – 1,000,000) is considered the ultimate vintage Cosmograph model, its water-resistant case with screw-down chronograph pushers and black bezel is combined with what is generally agreed to be the most beautiful dial ever created for a wristwatch. The present watch is elevated to a higher level due to its very rare Mark 1 dial of astounding quality. Paul Newman Panda dials with Mark 1 script are amongst the rarest gems in the world of vintage watch collecting and are set apart from their contemporaries. This watch represents an extremely rare opportunity for collectors to acquire the most coveted reference of manual Rolex Daytona.
Possibly the most recognizable wristwatch made by Patek Philippe, the Nautilus designed by Gérald Genta and inspired by the shape of a ship’s porthole, strikes the perfect balance between sporty, elegant and understated. This exceptional Nautilus chronograph is believed to be the first and so far only example of a reference 5980/1400G-010 to appear at public auction. Fresh to the market and in virtually unworn condition it can be considered the most important Nautilus model to ever be offered publicly (estimate CHF500,000-1,000,000). Part of the iconic Nautilus collection originally launched in 1976, this specimen is set apart from its peers by its gorgeous diamond-setting and rare 18K white gold case and bracelet. Set with an impressive total of 893 diamonds weighing approximately 4.468 carats and 182 baguette-cut diamonds weighing 15.46 carats, it may have been born from a special request by one of Patek Philippe’s esteemed clients.


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Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder