A Steel, A Yellow & A Pink Gold Patek 1518 At One Auction

Earlier in July, Phillips Watches set tongues wagging with the announcement that their Geneva Watch Auction: Four would be headlined by a stainless steel Patek Philippe ref. 1518, perpetual calendar chronograph.

What is amazing about that, is that to begin with, there exists only four examples of the 1518 in steel. And the particular example that Phillips Watches has in hand for the November sale has never appeared in an auction previously.

It’s been just about two months since and, of course, with a headliner like that expectations for assembled lots for Phillips Watches’ Geneva sales have gone through the roof. However, with today’s announcement of 12 additional key pieces earmarked for the sale, it looks like Aurel Bacs and his team have leapt miles past any expectations with rarity upon rarity.

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The Three 1518s
We start off with the Patek Philippe ref. 1518. No, this is no case of dementia. There will be, in fact, two other examples of the 1518 at the Geneva auction. One in yellow gold and the other in pink. For now, here is a bevy of freshly released images of the steel 1518. Just look at that gorgeous “beads of rice” steel bracelet.

Sale estimates for each example of the ref. 1518 stand as follows:
• Steel: More than 3 million CHF
• Pink gold: Between 600 thousand to to 1.2 million CHF
• Yellow gold: Between 250 thousand to 500 thousand CHF

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One other Patek is included in this announcement — a ref. 565 time-only piece from the 1940s, with a unique black dial and radium Arabic numerals.

The charming story listed in the catalog for this one is that, the watch belonged to a guardsman at Patek Philippe at the time and the watch with its peculiar black dial with luminescent numerals was created specifically for him with night visibility in mind.

As such, it reads further that the watch is quite possibly a unique piece.

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Co-Branded Paul Newmans
Of the 12 pieces that are being announced today, a staggering seven are Rolexes — each more confounding than the last. Where to begin? Perhaps the Paul Newman Daytonas.

Having set the current world record for the highest ever paid for a Paul Newman Daytona, a ref. 6263 “RCO” dial no less, Paul Newman Daytonas are almost a staple at every Phillips Watches auction now. What sets apart Bacs and his teams’ finds, however, is that theirs are never run off the mill Paul Newman Daytonas.

The two examples here are special because of their retailers’ names printed on their dials. The first a “Tiffany” dial 6263, which Phillips Watches have verified is the only known and correct exotic dialed Daytona, ever to have been retailed by Tiffany & Co.

The second example, a white dial ref. 6239, bears the name “LINZ”, which is the name of a Texas based retailer established in 1877. Thing is, while “Tiffany” dialed Rolexes are rare, but not unheard of, this one’s really one that’s – well – unheard of.

Estimates for the respective Paul Newman Daytonas stand at:
• Tiffany & Co. “Paul Newman Panda” ref. 6263: 250 thousand to 500 thousand CHF
• “Linz Paul Newman” ref. 6239: 200 thousand to 400 thousand CHF

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Other Exceptional Rolex Chronographs
I really like this one line in the announcement used to describe the first non-Daytona chronograph on the list, a ref. 3330. It reads: “…without exaggeration, the world’s most beautiful and best preserved example of the reference one could hope to obtain.”

A rare reference in its own right, but when the likes of Phillips Watches makes such a claim about a watch they have discovered — one cannot help but be moved. But don’t take anyone’s word for it. The pictures provided speak a thousand words.

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The next two are presented in a pair: A Dato Compax (ref. 4767) and a Monoblocco (ref. 3525). Both watches from the late 1940s are directly from a desecdant of their original owner, who obtained them from Croatia-based retailer, Enrico Nattich. Meticulous collectors will be absolutely thrilled to know that both watches are in immaculate condition and come with their original Enrico Nattich, signed Rolex boxes.

Estimates for the respective chronographs stand at:
• “The Perfect Rose” ref. 3330: 300 thousand to 600 thousand CHF
• Dato Compax ref. 4767: 200 thousand – 400 thousand CHF
• Monoblocco ref. 3525: 50 thousand to 80 thousand CHF (modestly affordable in the grand scheme of things, no?)

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The Time-only Rolexes
A 1951, gold ref. 6085 with a cloisonné dragon on its dial. Need more be said? No, but here’s more good stuff dug up by Bacs and his team. Their announcement reads that only five Rolex watches were ever made with a cloisonné dragon on the dial. And each one was fitted into a different Rolex reference. Which means to say that this particular ref. 6085, could very well be the only one of its kind.

While the ref. 6085 presented represents the pinnacle of artisanal vintage Rolex collecting, the next one then, the ref. 6538 4-line Submariner, represents a pinnacle of vintage Rolex sports watches. And this one has by now developed a glorious tropical dial. Of course, further is added to the watch’s halo, thanks to the fact that this was the reference that Sean Connery donned when he played James Bond in the franchise’s Dr. No installment.

Estimates for the respective watches stand at:
• “The Dragon” ref. 6085: 500 thousand to 1 million CHF
• “James Bond” Submariner 4-Liner ref. 6538: 300 thousand to 600 thousand CHF

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A Breguet and an Omega
The Breguet Type “XX” on offer is a special one because of the person it once belonged to: Three-time Formula One world champion, Sir Jack Brabham. Sir Brabham took the title in the years 1959, 1960 and 1966.

It is said that in his heyday (circa 1960s), Sir Brabham did some work with the Esso Extra Motor Oil company, appearing in a number of their ads. As a gesture of their appreciation for the time rendered, the motor oil company is known to have gifted Sir Brabham with a Breguet Type “XX”. And just as the story says, if you were to turn over this particular example of the Type “XX”, you would find the engraved words, “Esso J.B. Champion Du Monde 1959”.

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The Omega on offer is a one-in-three sort of a rare bird. By that I mean there are only three examples of this Speedmaster type known to exist. One in the holy grounds of the Omega Museum, one in a rather prominent private collection and the last one is presently in the hands of Phillips Watches, waiting to be auctioned off at their November 2016 Geneva sales.

The “Alaska II” Project Watch ref. 145.022-69, is said to pre-date the Apollo 11 mission and was a secret project of Omega’s to create the perfect watch for use in space. In accordance to that brief, the watch came with a large, red anodized aluminum case, which was meant to protect the watch as a heat-shield. And as has become the expectation with all of Phillips Watches’ lots, the “Alaska II” Project Watch on offer is accompanied by its red aluminum companion, in joyous condition.

Estimates for the respective watches stand at:
• Type ‘XX’ “Sir Jack Brabham” ref. 4962: 20 thousand to 40 thousand CHF
• Speedmaster Professional, “Alaska II” Project Watch ref. 145.022-69: 100 thousand to 200 thousand CHF

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And Some Panerais
Vintage Panerais don’t seem to have ever been a highlight with Phillips Watches auctions, but for the November sale in Geneva, the team seems to have rounded up some crazy pieces, including a Type D 3646 from 1944 and an “Egiziano Piccolo” ref. 6154, which was made by Panerai to fulfill, what is supposed to be an order from the Egyptian Navy in post WWII. Some argue, though, that they were never made for the Egyptians, nor were they delivered to them — but that’s another Panerai lore and another story, for another time.

For now, go ahead and mark your calendars again for the 12th and 13th of November, to possibly catch the live stream of the Phillips Watches auctions in Geneva (yep, they live stream them on their website). Considering the newly unveiled highlight pieces, we’re surely in for another round of record breaking auction sales by the incomparable, Aurel Bacs and his merry auctioneers.

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