Christie’s Announces Highlights from Important Watches auction
Highlights of the auction include one of the most important wristwatches of our time, a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon a very rare and highly important Patek Philippe perpetual calendar formerly the property of Andy Warhol as well as incredible examples of independent watchmakers such as F.P. Journe, MB&F, De Bethune and Grönefeld.
Selected highlights will embark on a global tour to Geneva: November 2-5 2023 followed by Hong Kong from November 24-26, before returning to New York on December 1-4. All lots will be available to view in person during Christie’s Luxury Marquee Week at Rockefeller Center from December 1-4.
Rebecca Ross, VP, Head of Sale says: “Christie’s New York Watch Department is thrilled to bring an exceptional array of timepieces to our Important Watches sale. These exquisite watches, with their timeless allure, stand as a testament to the enduring artistry within our industry. They not only mirror the storied legacy of watchmaking, but they also provide an opportunity for enthusiastic collectors to possess a piece of history. This is particularly apparent this season with the rare and highly important Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch, formerly owned by 20th century icon, Andy Warhol, which was in his collection until he died. From meticulously crafted pieces to handpicked horological treasures, another great example we are proud to present in the sale is a masterpiece of Patek Philippe’s Rare Handicrafts division, a White Gold Open Faced Pocket Watch with an hand-engraved scene called ‘Bronco Buster’ by the master engraver C. Blandenier. modeled after the American artist Frederic Remington’s famous sculpture of the same name, Christie’s takes pride in presenting a carefully curated sale that offers a window into a market that reveres both heritage and craftsmanship and this Fall we are proud to bring an exemplary selection to market.”
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3448 – Formerly Property of Andy Warhol – A Very Rare and Highly Important 18k Gold Automatic Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Moon Phases
Like Andy Warhol himself, this superb Patek Philippe reference 3448 has become a legend. Not only is it a very rare and highly desirable vintage wristwatch, but it also has the distinction of once being the personal property of one of the most famous and enduring artists of the 20th century. This wonderfully preserved yellow gold reference 3448 is undoubtedly a world-famous wristwatch. An inveterate collector, Warhol amassed a huge collection of Objects and artworks of all kinds, known to his friends as ‘Andy’s stuff’.
The collection was sold after his death in a mammoth 10-day auction in New York in 1988. After the Warhol auction in 1988, this reference 3448 remained with the original buyer until 2014 when it was acquired by the present owner. Today’s collectors value individualism and exclusivity, even in the rarefied world of complicated Patek Philippe masterpieces. The present watch, with its Andy Warhol provenance is one of the most individual and exclusive of the great classic to be offered at auction.
The watch is in superb overall condition, featuring an extremely attractive and well-preserved dial with perfectly clear markers and signatures. As a last series dial, it displays the ‘Aprior’ mark on either side of the word ‘Swiss’ at 6 o’clock and the minute divisions are painted batons, perfectly complementing the applied gold baton hour markers.
The dial was perfectly cleaned and restored by Patek Philippe in the mid-1980s yet preserves the silky finish that is a feature of the very best dials made by Stern Frères, called ‘satiné opalin’. The 18K gold case is in original and very crisp condition, evidently little used, it displays clearly legible hallmarks and sharp, well-defined edges.
Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002P-001 – One of the Most Important Wristwatches of Our Time – a Magnificent and Extremely Rare Platinum Double-dial Wristwatch with Twelve Complications Including ‘Cathedral’ Minute Repeating Tourbillon, Perpetual Calendar with Retrograde Date, Moon Age and Angular Motion, Sidereal Time and Sky Chart
Fresh to the market and offered in excellent overall condition, the present reference 5002P represents the rare opportunity for the aficionado of rare timepieces to become the proud owner of one of the most iconic and ground-breaking landmark models of Patek Philippe’s modern production.
Launched in 2001, this Patek Philippe wristwatch was the brand’s most complex at the time, featuring its first double dial. Inspired by the ‘Star Calibre 2000,’ Patek Philippe successfully scaled it down to fit on the wrist. With 686 components, it’s a marvel of high complications, including a tourbillon with remarkable precision at -2/+1 seconds maximum daily variation.
One side showcases a retrograde perpetual calendar with a moon phase, while the other displays a celestial chart of the northern hemisphere, complete with a horizon ellipse for a specific location, meridian passage of Sirius, moon age, angular motion, and sidereal time. The transparent crystal disk on the back rotates per sidereal day, the basis for sidereal time. The watch also features a cathedral minute repeating mechanism and finely engraved case and dial, setting a trend in Patek Philippe’s high-end wrist watch design.
F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Second Generation No. 27 – an Extremely Rare And Highly Important Early Platinum Tourbillon Wristwatch With Power Reserve, Remontoir Égalité, Brass Movement And Rose Gold Dial
An extremely exciting and important discovery, this platinum Tourbillon Souverain with pink gold dial is one of the earliest examples of the model to be made following the legendary ‘Souscription’ series and, to the best of our knowledge, it is the earliest second-generation Tourbillon Souverain to be offered at international auction.
In fact, this watch is a fascinating and significant historic piece of the jigsaw in the evolution of the Tourbillon Souverain model itself. Made in 1999, it is numbered ‘No. 27’. Although strictly speaking, this watch comes under the umbrella of the second-generation Tourbillon Souverain, it would perhaps be more accurately classed as a transitional piece, made immediately following on from the first generation ‘Souscription’ series (numbered 1 to 20) but before the second-generation ‘reference T’ series production watches became available (1999-2003).
Early series tourbillons such as this are also distinguished by their case backs. The ‘Souscription’ watches feature hand-engraved lettering, subsequent examples, numbered from 21 onwards (including the present watch No. 27), show shallow case back engravings, with the lettering etched in outline. The caliber 1498 movements of these early Tourbillon Souverain are, in common with all Journe watches until 2004 when the 18k gold caliber 1403 movements were introduced, made of rhodium-plated brass. In recent years, collectors have focused their attention and research on these early series production and pre-production watches with brass movements.
Richard Mille Unique RM 018 ‘Hommage À Boucheron’ – a Unique 18k White Gold Skeletonized Tourbillon Wristwatch with Natural Mineral-set Wheels, Made to Commemorate The 150th Anniversary of Boucheron
Richard Mille’s RM018 tourbillon, a tribute to Boucheron, holds a pivotal place in the company’s history. It was the inaugural Richard Mille wristwatch to feature a movement with sapphire crystal plates. The expertise gained from the RM018’s creation later proved invaluable for crafting the exceptional crystal watches RM056 and RM56-01. In 2008, commemorating Boucheron’s 150th anniversary, Richard Mille crafted special variations of the RM018. Notably, its tourbillon movement features wheels set with natural mineral materials. Limited to 30 pieces, these versions showcased wheels made of tiger’s-eye, jasper, black onyx, and diamonds, visible through the skeletonized dial. Crafting such a timepiece requires advanced mathematical modeling and precise wheel handcrafting. In a nod to Boucheron’s history, the crown reflects the maison’s haute joaillerie style, and the case bears deep vertical ridges reminiscent of Boucheron’s iconic Reflet watch introduced in 1947.
Rolex Daytona ‘Paul Newman Oyster Sotto’ Ref. 6263 – an Extremely Rare And Attractive Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch With Bracelet And ‘Paul Newman Oyster Sotto’ Dial
Rolex Cosmograph Daytonas with Paul Newman dials are highly coveted vintage wristwatches. Within the Paul Newman Daytona ‘family,’ there are unique manufacturing variations, sought after by the most discerning collectors. This reference 6263 Daytona is a notable ‘RCO’ or ‘Sotto,’ where ‘Oyster’ appears after ‘Rolex Cosmograph’ on the dial, with only about 25 such watches known globally. Collectors typically consider the most desirable ‘RCO’ case number range to be around 2.085 million, which this example perfectly aligns with. What sets this watch apart is its typography, closer to the ‘Mark II’ print, rather than the typical ‘Mark I’ found in most ‘RCO’ dials from this case range. The origin of this dial-case combination is subject to speculation, with one theory suggesting Rolex may have prepared both ‘Mark I’ and ‘Mark II’ dials and fitted them ad hoc into watches with serial numbers around 2.085 million. Another ‘RCO’ with a ‘Mark II’ dial, serial number 2,085,497, was sold by Christie’s Hong Kong on May 26, 2023, in lot 2259.
The AUCTION will take place on the 5th of December at the Rockefeller Center, New York. HIGHLIGHTS TOUR will arrive in Geneva: 2-5 November, 2023; Hong Kong: 24-26 November, 2023 and New York: 1-4 December, 2023.