Christie’s/Geneve: Ten GMT Rolex wristwatches

This year Christie’s watch department is delighted to celebrate 40 years of stand-alone watch sales in Geneva, where the first watch auction took place on 29 April 1975. Today the watch team is led by Thomas Perazzi who joined the company more than a year ago with 10 years of industry experience.

Christie’s/Geneve: Ten GMT Rolex wristwatches

Mr. Perazzi will take the auction on 11 May in his role as Christie’s leading watch auctioneer. Sabine Kegel has been appointed International Senior Specialist of the department and works in partnership with Thomas and their team of junior specialists, catalogers and administrative support to curate exceptional Important Watches auctions in Geneva. 2014 marked the 8th year of consecutive market leadership of Christie’s global watch team, during which 42 watches sold for over $1 million, dozens of new auction records were achieved and 91% of all lots offered at auction found new owners. Today our auctions in Geneva welcome clients from over 40 countries bidding either in person, on the telephone and more frequently via the internet. Each sale attracts new buyers due to the carefully selected watches on offer, this time a total of 314, balancing between vintage watches, modern masterpieces, and exceptional complications and focusing on themed sections or sales such as the Patek Philippe 175 sale last season and the Rolex GMT and Tudor sections this year. The sale on 11 May will offer many rarities, with a large number of watches seen for the first time at auction and covers over 400 years of watch making.

Ten GMT Rolex wristwatches from early production until the introduction of the GMT model in other material than steel. A joint effort of Rolex and PanAm Airlines, the GMT can be considered as one of the first true non-military tool watches. It was developed to help pilots overcome the effect of jet lag: by adding a second time zone to the watch (the “home” time zone), according to PanAm’s scientific committee the jet lag issue would be mitigated. Ref 6542 – Manufactured 1958 Consigned by the grandson of the original owner, the present reference 6542 is a particularly charismatic representative of this celebrated model, preserved in overall excellent original condition. The most notable feature is its unrestored, so-called “tropical” dial with gold printing. Over time, the originally black colour has changed to an extremely charismatic, uniform chocolate brown tone, beautifully harmonizing with the likewise evenly discoloured luminous numerals and hands, rendering it a very unique look. Its original, nearly flawless bakelite bezel impresses with a deep red and blue colouration. Furthermore the watch retains the correct hands and crown, magnified lens for the date and the stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet from the same period. Estimate: SFr.70,000-140,000 / US$74,000-150,000.

Ref. 116748 – Manufactured circa 2006 The present timepiece distinguishes itself not only for its pristine condition, with the case in virtually mint condition (still retaining the green sticker to the back), and the movement as well thanks to the Rolex service it underwent in 2014. The true collectability of the timepiece resides in the fact that, according to our researches, only one other 116748 left Rolex with the same kind of bezel, making this watch one of only two such pieces ever made. Beyond its incredible rarity, it has to be noted that the diamond and sapphire combination, compared with other chromatically louder solutions, grants the piece a somehow more subdued elegance that is rarely seen on jeweled timepieces. Estimate: SFr. 40,000-60,000 / US$43,000-63,000.

The afternoon session will start by offering 12 pieces by the celebrated house of Tudor, made between 1963 and 2010, displaying the technical and design evolution of the various models. Tudor, quintessence of the “tool watch” was born when Hans Wilsdorf had the idea of supplying reliable yet affordable watches alongside his other brand Rolex. In 1936 Wilsdorf took over a 1926 Geneva based registered watchmaking firm “ Veuve de Philippe Huether” and on 6 March 1946 he founded “Montres Tudor S.A.” to give both companies their own identity. 1952 saw what would become Tudor’s most popular line: The birth of the Oyster Prince, sharing with Rolex two technical advantages a) the waterproof Oyster case and b) the self-winding perpetual mechanism. Lot 137 is a Ref. 7928 of the second series of Tudor’s Submariner model, which was launched in 1958, the case now fitted with protective crown guards and water-resistant to 200m/660 ft. Reference 7928 remained in production until 1966 and was available with different types of crown guards. The dials always featured the Tudor rose symbol followed by “Oyster Prince” to the upper half, the lower half generally the depth rating 200m=660ft, Submariner, Rotor, Self-Winding on four lines (estimate: SFr. 7,000-10,000 / US$7,400-11,000). With the release of the heritage chronograph in 2010, Tudor entered a new era in the firm’s long history, combining highest technical standards with distinctive style elements for which the manufacturer has been famous for nearly 60 years. The present ref. 70330 is an attractive timepiece and was originally property of motorcycle champion Loris Capirossi. The case back suggests this was a gift of gratitude, as it is engraved “quando I ringraziamenti non bastano” (when “thank you” is not enough), and instead of the name of Capirossi, at the center of the case back we find the playful engraving of his racing number 65 in the typical “racing” font. Loris Capirossi, born in 1973, approached the world of motorcycle racing at the tender age of 4 with off-road bikes. With 14 he was track racing, with 17 he became the youngest world champion in the 125cc category and 8 years later in the 250 cc class and in 2011 he participated in his last championship (estimate: SFr. 8,000-12,000 / US$8,500-13,000).

After the November 2013 Patek Philippe 175 commemorative auction to celebrate the achievements of the last privatly owned Swiss watch maker, Christie’s is delighted to offer again a wide array of Patek philippe models underlining once more the uniqueness of his brand. Ref. 2499 /100 An exceptional 18K gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phase, ref. 2499/100, sold to Gobbi Milan on 27 October 1980, with original certificate, sales tag, box, spare date disks, winding crowns, calendar parts and other accessories Est. CHF400,000-800,000 / US$430,000-840,000 Reference 2499, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest watch models ever created, has without doubt significantly influenced the designs of many of the most renowned watchmakers. Introduced to the market in 1950, it replaced the legendary reference 1518, the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch with chronograph made in series. Over a period of 35 years, reference 2499 was made in four series with a total production of only 349 pieces, the majority cased in yellow gold. The rarity of this model becomes evident when considering that on average of only 9 watches left Patek Philippe’s workbench each year. Ref. 3700/031 A superb, possibly unique and previously unknown platinum and diamond automatic wristwatch with Cal. 28.255 automatic movement, 36 jewels, black ribbed dial, diamond numerals, luminous hands, window for date, waterresistant-type case of typical form, bezel set with 128 Top Wesselton Pure diamonds, platinum Patek Philippe and Gay Freres bracelet, deployant buckle, Case, dial and movement signed, Manufactured in 1988 – Estimate: SFr.200,000-400,000 / US$220,000-420,000 It is the dream of any watch connoisseur to discover, let alone to own, an unknown piece that rewrites accepted scholarship on a certain model. It happened in 2011, when Christie’s sold the previously unknown pink gold version of Patek Philippe reference 3448. And it happens again now, with the discovery of this stellar timepiece. The Nautilus is possibly the most recognizable wristwatch made by Patek Philippe. Designed by Gerald Genta and inspired by the shape of a ship’s portholes, it was available from 1976. It was developed as Patek Philippe’s answer to Audemars Piguet’s enormously successful Royal Oak, ironically a Genta design as well. With its generous proportions, unusual case design striking the perfect balance between sportive, elegant and understated, and the very robust construction, the first foray of Patek Philippe into the world of sport watches became immediately a worldwide success, and marked the beginning of the Nautilus legend all watch aficionados know. As incredible as it may sound, the historical importance of the first haute joaillerie platinum 3700 is matched by its condition. Never restored, most probably never polished, and worn a handful of times at most, the proportions and finish of this majestic timepiece shine in all their glory. The subtle beveling of the lugs, so often lost with the first polishing, is crisp and defined; the satin finish is untouched; the case back without the smallest mark.

An extremely fine and rare platinum double-dial wristwatch with twelve complications including “cathedral” minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, moon age and angular motion, sidereal time, and sky chart. Manufactured in 2006 Est. SFr. 650,000-1,300,000 / US$690,000-1,400,000 Produced from 2001 to 2011 with an extremely rarified output of around 10 watches per year, reference 5002 can be considered one of the horological marvels of our time. The most complicated movement ever realized by Patek Philippe, this double dialed marvel incorporates on one side a retrograde perpetual calendar with moon phase indication, on the other a celestial chart, sidereal time, and the age and angular motion of the moon, and of course it features a minute repeater, cathedral nonetheless. Ref. 5016 An extremely fine and very important platinum wristwatch with perpetual calendar, tourbillon, retrograde date, moon phases, bracelet, original guarantee, second case back and box. Estimate: SFr. 450,000-1,000,000 / US$500,000-1,100,000 Available from 1994 to 2010, only around a couple hundred examples of this reference were produced. It is known in the three gold colours and in platinum, and it originally mounts in black or white dial, with the numerals in tone with the case colour. The present example, however, does not fit this description: its dial sports pink gold numerals whilst its case is in platinum. The certificate reads ref 5016-021 with the second half of the reference identifying the dial and standard dials would read 001 or 010, therewith this dial is a special order, which classifies this watch as a possible unique piece, where the icy beauty of the platinum and the warm glow of the pink gold dial result in a playful elegance in typical Patek Philippe tradition.