Catawiki Fine Watch Auction June 2022By Revolution
Today, June 17th, Amsterdam-based auction house Catawiki is launching its latest online sale of watches. Offering a broad spectrum of watches for all tastes and budgets, this sale features a number of horology’s biggest superstars from Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. Whether you covert chronos, are set on something sporty or are dying for a diver; there is a watch from one of the big three brands for you. Let’s delve deeper into some of the star lots of the sale.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Audemars Piguet’s most iconic offering, the might Royal Oak. A watch launched in 1972, the story begins in 1970 on the eve of Baselworld, when the then General Manager of AP, Georges Golay, took the decision to commission the world’s leading watch designer Gerald Genta to dream up the finest stainless steel ever designed. I like to imagine Genta working through the night, pen in one hand and espresso in the other, just finishing the sketches as the sun rose and then Mr Golay unveiling the design on the opening morning of the show!
Characterised by its signature eight-sided porthole inspired bezel with eight white gold screws and visible rubber gasket, the physical watch was unveiled at Basel in 1972. The ‘petit tapisserie’ dial became an equally iconic element of the watch. With its flowing lines, thanks to the integrated steel bracelet, the watch was marketed in 1972 at 3,300 Swiss Francs, which was a staggering amount of money for a steel sports watch at the time. You could buy a new Jaguar XJ6 for the same money! Genta was quite rightfully proud of the design and has been often quoted as saying it was the watch design of which he was most proud.
Catawiki has two examples of one of the most sought after Royal Oak watches, the steel Jumbo. The first Royal Oaks had the 39mm Jumbo proportions as reference 5402. In 2000, Audemars Piguet unveiled the reference 15202ST, that continued the purity of the original Genta design for the new millennium. The watches house the signature ‘petit tapisserie’ dial, have the octagonal bezel and beautifully flowing integrated bracelet. The sale has a more traditional blue dial and a clean looking white dial example, offering two different twists on the perennial favourite. The decision is which one will you bid on?
Sticking with icons, there can be very few more important watches in the world than the Rolex Daytona. Launched in 1963, the Daytona has become a collecting microcosm in itself, with scholars and collectors having dedicated their entire careers to researching the myriad and often incredibly subtle variances in the development of the watches of the past seventy years. Prior to 1963, Rolex offered a number of Oyster cased chronographs that collectors term Pre-Daytonas and yet before even these, were chronographs in non-Osyter cases such as the example of reference 3484 offered in the latest Catawiki sale. The reference 3484 dates to the 1940s and has a 33mm steel case with snap on case back. With square pushers and square lugs, the watches have a great presence on the wrist and wear a lot bigger than the 33mm case size might suggest. The anti-magnetic watch features two chronograph scales, a teachy meter and telemeter. A tachymeter is used to calculate speed over a set distance. This is identifiable by the fact that it has ‘120’ as the six o’clock position as it always is on vintage watches. The inner track is a telemeter scale, which is used to measure the distance of a sound, such as an artillery shell in combat, starting the chrono when seeing the flash of an explosion and stopping it when hearing the bang.
In 1988 Rolex unveiled the brand’s very first automatic chronograph that was powered by the well-known Zenith El Primero movement. In 1992 Rolex introduced reference 16518, where the ‘1’ indicated that the watch was on a leather strap. To give the watch a neat, finished appearance Rolex fitted the 16518s with short, fixed endpieces that ensured that there was no unsightly gap between the case and the edge of the strap. Alongside the baton and brilliant hour markers, the 16518 was also available with applied Arabic markers. These dials had small luminous-filled baton markers at 15, 30 and 45 on the dial. Rolex also introduced a new bezel style, where the tachymeter readings were placed radially around the ring as opposed to the previous style where the numbers were horizontally placed. There were also small triangles placed against the numbers, where previously there had been a dot. Catawiki is offering such an example with white dial, applied gold Arabic hours and black sub dial rings. The bottom sub dial fetaures the hour totaliser that has an upside down ‘6’, a desirable version known by collectors as the ‘inverted six’.
When it was introduced in the late 1990s, the Aquanaut was Patek Philippe’s watch aimed at the water sports market, supported by the fact it was offered on a rubber strap and given the name “Aqua”. There is something familiar about the Aquanaut and whilst it was not designed by Gerald Genta, the watch has some similarities to the Nautilus. The most striking family resemblance is the port hole-inspired eight-sided bezel. There is also a wonderful crossover element between the sporty and dress elements of the watch. This is further enhanced by that long-established juxtaposition of a sports watch in a precious metal; further disrupted by the fact that the watch is fitted with a rubber strap! The reference 5168G offered by Catawiki has a 42mm white gold case with graduated blue dial and bold applied Arabic hour markers.