3 Highlights From the Bonhams Hong Kong Watches 1.0 Auction

Bonhams marks its return to the watch auction scene in Hong Kong, with its Hong Kong Watches 1.0 sale lead by Tim Bourne, International Director of Watches, Asia.

The auction will take place on Saturday 24 November in Hong Kong with more than 180 lots offered, and we have selected three timepieces for you to check out ahead of the auction.

LOT 862 – URWERK UR-1001 Zeit Device Über Complication

Estimate: HK$1,200,000-1,600,000

We start with the star lot of the Hong Kong Watches 1.0 auction, which is the Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Device. When Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner, the co-founders of Urwerk, create a pocketwatch, one will immediately expect it not to look like anything they’ve seen before. The UR-1001 Zeit Device accomplishes that in every way…and more.

Launched in 2011, this horological marvel brings the concept of perpetual timekeeping to the next level. Urwerk being Urwerk, their signature futuristic wandering-hour satellite indication is obviously still present and the large size of the device allows for plenty of information to be displayed such as running seconds, retrograde minutes, wandering hours, day/night indicator, power reserve indicator, date, month, year, 100-year indicator and even a breathtaking 1,000-year indicator.

The case is made of Aluminum Titanium Nitrade-treated (AlTiN-treated) stainless steel case with titanium elements and its back features the brand’s trademark 5-year “oil change” service indicator. Only 8 pieces were made, this being the first time one’s come up for auction.

LOT 874 – Rolex Ref. 5036 Dato-Compax “Jean-Claude Killy”

Estimate: HK$550,000-1,150,000

I have always found triple calendar watches to be highly attractive and useful. On top of that, like many watch enthusiasts out there, I have always enjoyed the three-register chronograph dial layout so you can imagine how charming the Rolex Dato-Compax must appear to my eyes.

Launched in 1947 as the reference 4767, the Dato-Compax was Rolex’s first triple calendar chronograph wristwatch with a water-resistant Oyster case. The watch we have here is a transitional reference 5036, which was only in production from 1948 to 1951. From 1947 until 1962, Rolex produced four distinct Oyster Dato-Compax models: References 4767, 5036, 6036 and 6236.

The nickname “Jean-Claude Killy” comes from the three-time Olympic champion who was reportedly seen wearing a reference 6036. Interestingly enough, he still serves as a member of the Rolex S.A. Board of Directors.

When it comes to auctions, provenance is always a key factor to the desirability of a timepiece. In this case the watch comes with a complete letter of exchange between the owner and the then-manager the Rolex Consumer Service Division.

LOT 889 – A. Lange & Söhne Honey Gold Tourbograph “Pour Le Mérite”

Estimate: HK$2,000,000-4,000,000

A. Lange & Söhne represents the pinnacle of German watchmaking and their “Pour Le Mérite”, or PLM for short, exemplifies this perfectly.

The PLM line was launched at the same time as the re-birth of the brand following the German reunification. Five models have been created overthe years: the Tourbillon “Pour Le Mérite” (1994), Tourbograph “Pour Le Mérite” (2005), Richard Lange “Pour Le Mérite” (2009), Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour Le Mérite” (2011), and the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour Le Mérite” (2017). All the PLM watches are unified by Lange’s take on the complex fusée-and-chain mechanism, which serves the movement as a constant force mechanism to regulate energy flow from the mainspring, through the gear train and to the balance wheel.

In 2010, the Tourbograph “Pour Le Mérite” was made in the brand’s proprietary 18K “Honey Gold”, which is said to be more resistant to its gold counterparts and released in a run of 50 watches. The present example is number 03/50, an important piece in Lange’s story not to be missed by any interested collector.

However, if our picks were not to your liking then remember that the Hong Kong catalog does include another 180-something lots. Check them all out here: bonhams.com. For those considering buying at the auction the first time, Bonhams’ International Director of Watches, Asia, Tim Bourne even gave us 5 top tips. Watch that video below.


24 Nov 2018, starting at 17:00 HKT .

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