Ineichen Auctioneers 'Precious Blues' AuctionBy Bhanu Chopra
Ineichen Zurich is the oldest Swiss auction house that specializes in watches. Based in Zurich, it was found by Peter A. Ineichen in 1973 to great success as they secured four world records in sales in the first two years of operation. With the trust established by their professionalism and passion for watches, the firm was asked to oversee the priceless collection of timepieces in the Hellmut Kienzle Watch Museum in 1975.
The auctioneers have kept up with moving trends over the years and now have an online store in addition to their in-house bidding platform. The May 22 auction last spring broke records in watch sales, including a non-fungible token (NFT) for a watch — an animated graphic showing a frame for each of the 42,480 iterations of the face for the Konstantin Chaykin Joker watch. The NFT sold for CHF 42,000, making it one of the most expensive horological NFT’s sold to date.
This spring, the theme of the auction is “Precious Blues”, showcasing an array of timepieces that feature the ever-popular blue color scheme. Highlights of the auction include the legendary Daniel Roth, the trailblazing De Bethune and the talented Konstantin Chaykin.
Daniel Roth is a legendary French watchmaker who started his career as the leading watchmaker for Breguet for 15 years before building his own brand in the late ’80s. He eventually left his brand when it was sold to Bulgari in 2000. However, Bulgari continued to manufacture watches under the Daniel Roth name until 2010. The auction will feature one of the last models produced between 2007 to 2010.
Daniel Roth Perpetual Calendar Time Equation Pièce Unique “Baguette Sapphires” Ref. 121.Y.70.722.CM.BD.S11
This unique piece from the Daniel Roth Masters Grandes Complications collection was produced from 2007 to 2010 and has several features rarely found in perpetual calendars. The signature Ellipsocurvex case in platinum features a sapphire theme, including baguette-cut sapphires on the bezel and lugs. The dial is a skeletonized mother-of-pearl accented beautifully and the mainplate has a highly embossed blue finish visible through the skeletonized apertures.
It has a unique asymmetrical design with the counters and hands shifted higher to make room for the many complications, including an equation-of-time subdial, moonphase indicator, and a perpetual calendar. The watch is fitted with the DR114 caliber, an automatic movement based on Girard-Perregaux’s GP3000 ébauche with an in-house module for the above complications. The movement features impeccable finishing such as hand chamfering, Côtes de Genève and perlage.
According to the catalog, the estimated price is CHF 40,000–60,000.
The thing that makes De Bethune watches so desirable is their avant-garde designs that bring a sense of high art to innovative mechanical engineering. Italian watch dealer David Zanetta and French watchmaker Denis Flageollet founded the independent brand in 2002 with a focus on developing new technical innovations with an emphasis on in-house manufacture. With 29 calibers to their name, many patents and bespoke pieces, and awards that include the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve in 2011, De Bethune is a maison that continues to impress with their clean, artistic timepieces.
De Bethune DB28 Kind of Blue “Golden Hands” (Ref. DB28BTIBN)
Released in 2016 as a numbered edition, the De Bethune DB28 Kind of Blue “Golden Hands” has a truly unique look with an all-blue color scheme with rose-gold hands. At just 4.5mm, the ultra-thin DB2115 caliber still manages to deliver a six-day power reserve with a self-regulating twin barrel developed by De Bethune in 2004. The complications include a spherical moonphase indicator, a performance indicator, and a movement-side power reserve indicator.
As brilliant as it is technically, it is equally brilliant aesthetically. The case in blued titanium has a diameter of 42.6mm and a svelte height of 9.3mm. It features the unmistakable De Bethune “floating” lugs that have a pivoting system to adapt to the wearer’s wrist, also finished in blued titanium.
According to the catalog, the estimated price is between CHF 60,000–80,000.
De Bethune DB28 Digitale Mk2 (Ref. DB28DN/S)
The De Bethune DB28 Digitale MK2 takes a modern approach to time display while rooted in traditional watchmaking. The jumping hours are displayed in a creamy barleycorn hand-guilloché dial in an aperture beneath a rich blue spherical display for the analog minutes. The blue starry-sky-themed spherical moonphase indication is accurate to within one day every 122 years and takes pride of place in the center of the dial.
The Digitale has a highly polished titanium case measuring 45mm in diameter and 11.6mm in height, and the brand’s signature floating lugs. It is powered by the manual-winding caliber DB2144, with a double barrel maintaining a five-day power reserve.
This model is extremely rare on the pre-owned market due to the low production quantity, making it a highly sought treasure for collectors. What sets this specific watch apart from the standard Digitale models is its titanium balance with white gold weights, and the skeletonized barrel wheel with spokes on the right side of the caliber that is visible from the back of the watch. It’s a rare find and a beautiful modern piece that continues to impress almost a decade later.
According to the catalog, the estimated price is CHF 60,000–80,000.
De Bethune DB28 Grand Sport “Grand Sailor” (Ref. DB28GSBV1AN/S)
The De Bethune DB28 Grand Sport “Grand Sailor” timepiece is a handsome and unusual sports watch with all of the style and modernity of De Bethune timepieces with an impressive 300 feet of water resistance and six-day power reserve. The open dial gives a glimpse of the balance and spiral for the DB2115V2 caliber whose functions include hours, minutes and a performance indicator.
Encased in a blued titanium case measuring 44mm in diameter and 11.2mm in height, with the brand’s signature floating lugs, the DB28 Grand Sport “Grand Sailor” comes on a blue rubber strap. This is the era of sports watches, which makes this piece so much more relevant — especially since only five pieces of this numbered edition have been made since 2017.
According to the catalog, the estimated price is CHF30,000–40,000.
Konstantin Chaykin is a genius Russian watchmaker who has applied for 79 patents for inventions and 62 patents for utility models. His collection of watches is based on his own inventions in an assortment of daring and unusual ideas. His creative Clown watch won the Audacity prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geeneve in 2018 and made him the first Russian watchmaker to secure such honors.
Konstantin Chaykin Genius Temporis Prototype
This auction is the first time a Konstantin Chaykin Genius Temporis Prototype has ever been offered on the market. Collectors with a penchant for blue watches will be drawn to the minimalist design and the single-hand double-function complication. The hand is a crossbow arrow with a blued shaft, arrowhead and detailed fletching that was delicately hand engraved. The central hour switches to minutes indication with the push of a button at the two o’clock position.
The Temporis prototype features a stainless steel case with diameter of 44mm and case height of 12mm. Most of Chaykin’s dials are eccentric, this ruthenium-coated dial with high-contrast matte silvered chapter ring and blue Arabic numerals fits the mold with the rotating disk and angel’s arrow.
Powered by Chaykin’s hand-wound caliber K.01-5, the watch also features his signature ‘Pac Man’ shaped index-adjuster, a functional unit of the watch movement designed to fine-tune the effective length of the hairspring.
According to the catalog, the estimated price of this prototype is CHF20,000–30,000.
The auction will take place on April 23 and features an online e-catalog with descriptions and notes at their website (ineichen.com) and collectors can request a catalog by emailing the auctioneers at email@example.com. The auction will be held live via the website with bids entered by phone, online, or via their new app which allows bidders to track their status and get alerts when outbid.