Christie’s is in the midst of its most open and approachable auction to date, the Watches online Sale that went live this week and continues until March 12.
A total of 285 watches are on the block, ranging in pre-sale estimate prices of $500 up to Rolex Daytonas and Patek Philippe complication pieces with tags of around $50,000.
Ahead of the sale, Christie’s own watch specialists Ryan Chong, Rebecca Ross and Brandon Frazin discussed their shared passion for luxury watches and selected their top lots from the the auction.
How I got started: ‘I first really wanted a watch when I was about 12 years old. As a kid growing up and surfing in San Diego, I wanted to be able to keep track of the tide cycles. The first watch that I can remember receiving was a Freestyle Shark Tide. As I got older and became more familiar with mechanical watches and their history, my tastes changed.
‘I have been greatly influenced by Christie’s International Head of Watches John Reardon and as a result I have fallen in love with Patek Philippe watches and the company’s storied history. The watches that I wear today, though, relate back to the ethos of my first watch — they are tool watches that serve a purpose. I wear my Tudor Submariner ref. 7016/0 and my Rolex Explorer II ref. 16570 the most.’
My picks from our online sale: ‘The recent craze for Aquanaut means these early Patek Philippe examples [above] are more in demand than ever. I particularly like this watch because it is the sportiest Patek Philippe watch made and, on top of that, it’s a quartz movement.
‘GMT-Masters are among the most iconic Rolex watches ever made because of their colour-blocked bezels. I like this “Coke” example [above] because it dates to 2001 and is a later example of the reference that has a Super-LumiNova dial.’
How I got started: ‘My father was a watch collector, which means I was exposed to the artistry of clocks and watches at an early age. I went on to study history of art and the art market, and was awarded a certification from the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie in April 2015. Now I focus on history and education surrounding horology.
‘I got my first watch, a Swatch, when I was 13 years old. I’m delighted to have recently added a steel 1950s Movado with a “tropical” dial to my collection. I am constantly inspired by the people I meet, both experts in the industry as well as my clients, and by the artistry of the watches themselves.’
My picks from our online sale: ‘This modern Breguet [above] has an 18k white gold case and full diamond-set bezel which, at 40mm, gives a powerful impression. What I like most about this watch is the minute-repeating function, activated through a simple slide in the band. I also like that you can see the gongs at work through the sapphire-crystal display back.
‘I would love to add a World Time complication to my collection. This 18k pink gold example by Franck Muller [above] foregrounds both form and function. Its design is exquisite: the manufacturer has managed to add a day/night indication as well as a date function, while maintaining a simple aesthetic. I particularly like the elongated screwed lugs, which offer a vintage flair.’
How I got started: ‘My passion for watches began at a young age. My father always collected watches and would let me look at and play with them when I was growing up. His collection comprises mostly stainless-steel sports watches. There’s no doubt that this is where my fascination with vintage Sports Rolex stemmed from.
‘I can’t remember my first watch, but I do remember getting a manually wound Seiko when I was about eight years old. I remember winding the crown and listening to the movement and being completely fascinated by it.’
My picks from our online sale: ‘Recently, I have become more interested in Omega Seamaster 300s. This example [above] is a ref. 166.024 from circa 1967. The sword hands, twisted lug case, and “Big Triangle” at 12 o’clock are just a few of the stand-out characteristics. The sword hands remind me of the Rolex Military Submariner and other Omega Seamaster 300s that were military-issued. The case design of this watch is similar to that of the Speedmaster Professional, which is another one of my favourite models.’
Other key watches at the Watches Online Sale:
Patek Philippe, 18k Perpetual Calendar with Moon Phase, Ref. 3945/1. Circa: 1995. Case Material: 18k Pink Gold; Case Diameter: 36mm; Bracelet Material: 18k pink gold; Bracelet Size: 7.08 inches / 180mm; Dial: Silvered; Movement: Automatic; Functions: Perpetual calendar, moon phase; Caliber: 240 Q; Box: No; Papers: No; Accessories: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming manufacture date of 1995 and sale date of August 22, 1996. Estimate: USD 30,000 – USD 50,000
Rolex, Daytona ‘Cherry’, Ref. 6263. Circa: 1978; Case Material: Stainless steel; Case Diameter: 37.5mm; Bracelet Material: Stainless steel Rivet; Bracelet Size: 6.79 inches / 172.5mm; Dial: Black ‘Cherry’; Movement: Manual; Functions: Chronograph; Caliber: 727; Box: No; Papers: No. Estimate: USD 30,000 – USD 50,000
Patek Philippe, 18k Perpetual Calendar, Ref. 3941. Circa: 1987. Case Material: 18k gold; Case Diameter: 36mm; Dial: Silvered; Movement: Automatic; Functions: Perpetual calendar, moon phase; Caliber: 240Q; Box: Yes; Papers: Yes; Accessories: 18k gold Patek Philippe buckle, Patek Philippe outer box, presentation box, leather wallet, certificate of origin, product literature, setting pin. Estimate: USD 25,000 – USD 45,000
Rolex, Daytona ‘Big Red’, Ref. 6263. Circa: 1973; Case Material: Stainless steel; Case Diameter: 37mm; Bracelet Material: Stainless steel Oyster; Bracelet Size: 7.08 inches / 180mm; Dial: Silvered; Movement: Manual; Functions: Chronograph; Caliber: 727; Box: No; Papers: No; Accessories: Rolex service pouch. Estimate: USD 25,000 – USD 35,000
Breguet, 18k and Diamond-Set Minute-Repeating Watch, Ref. 3938. Circa: 2000s; Case Material: 18k white gold with diamonds of approximately 6.8 cts. Case Diameter: 40mm; Dial: Silvered guilloche with metallic outer; Movement: Manual; Functions: Minute-repeating; Caliber: 567; Box: No; Papers: No; Accessories: 18k white gold Breguet deployant buckle. Estimate: USD 20,000 – USD 30,000
Rolex, 18k Day-Date with Diamond Bezel and Ruby Indices, Ref. 18348. Circa: 1994; Case Material: 18k gold and diamond bezel of approximately 0.88 cts. Case Diameter: 36mm; Bracelet Material: 18k gold Jubilee; Bracelet Size: 6.4 inches / 162.5mm; Dial: Mother-of-pearl with ten ruby indices; Movement: Automatic; Functions: Day, date; Caliber: 3155; Box: No; Papers: No; Accessories: Original sales receipt from Ross-Simons dates July 11, 2001. Estimate: USD 20,000 – USD 30,000
Audemars Piguet, Platinum Jules Audemars Limited Edition Perpetual Calendar. Circa: 2010; Case Material: Platinum; Case Diameter: 41mm; Dial: Blue; Movement: Automatic; Functions: Perpetual calendar, moon phase; Caliber: 2120/4; Box: No; Papers: No; Accessories: Platinum Audemars Piguet deployant buckle. Estimate: USD 15,000 – USD 25,000