Povey’s Picks – Christies Rare Watches 11th November 2019, Geveva

You can certainly fight off those Monday Blues with Christie’s on 11th November, by visiting the Rare Watches sale at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The stalwart house of the auction scene has assembled another fine selection of both rare and desirable pieces under the watchful eye of department head Sabine Kegel.

Rare doesn’t always have to mean ultra-expensive either — there are some watches for all levels of collectors in this sale. And as we have seen countless times before, anything can happen at an auction.

It really is worth registering to bid in these sales as the room can sometimes remain luke warm and bargains can be had…I still gnash my teeth at the memory of the full-set Tudor Big Block Monte Carlo that sold for peanuts in the May sale. Having learnt my lesson, I intend to have a paddle on my lap this season…

Lot 54 – The Longines Big Indian
Lot 54: Longines, an extremely rare and large stainless-steel anti-magnetic military wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and black dial with 24-hour indication

Growing up, my Uncle Alex had a time-only yellow gold Longines, of which he was rightfully very proud. For this reason, it is a brand for which I have a lot of affection, especially the large-size simple vintage pieces.

Lot 54 is a steel watch with a significant case diameter of 44mm — this was a BIG watch when it was made in 1950. Most watches of that era were in the 32-34mm region. It was delivered, as part of the first of two batches, to the Indian Air force — hence the name Big Indian!

The anti-magnetic case, with fixed bars, features a ‘broad arrow’ caseback engraving with military code (part of which is repeated inside the caseback and on the back of the lugs). The watch houses a large, legible luminous dial with red inner 24-hour reading and has cathedral hands and a white seconds hand. The watch is accompanied by a Longines Archive extract and is a well-preserved example of a very rare watch.

Lot 40 – The Richard Mille RM 055 ‘Bubba Watson’
Lot 40: Richard Mille, a very fine and rare titanium and ceramic tonneau-shaped skeletonised wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, warranty, screw driver and box

Another brand I have a lot of love for is Richard Mille, especially since my recent trip with them to Qatar for the athletics championships. The stories behind the people and friends of the brand are indicative of the family-vibe that this watch house upholds as its core vision.

Lot 40 is a white ceramic watch, in the classic RM style, that was developed with golfer Bubba Watson. If you’re going to wear a watch to play golf, you really need to ensure that it can handle the rigours associated with such a pursuit.

The original watch that Richard Mille and Watson created in 2011 was the RM 038, but a year later they improved the watch and unveiled the RM 055. The calibre RMUL2 is able to withstand up to 5000 g’s. Let’s put this into context — a fighter pilot will experience g-forces of up to 9g’s and the most any human has withstood is 31.25g (a NASA doctor). So this is a pretty robust watch when you think about the fact that it’s movement weighs only 4.3 grams. Awesome!

Lot 112 – The Patek Philippe 3448 Perpetual Calendar
Lot 112: Patek Philippe, an extremely fine, very rare and highly attractive 18k white gold automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with moonphase and box

The ref. 3448, when it was released in 1962, was the first automatic perpetual calendar that was serially produced by any watch manufacturer. Out of the 586 pieces that were made, only 130 were made in white gold — such as this example that is being offered for the first time at auction.

The case remains in sharp condition with crisp edges, lugs and hallmarks. I love the clean and simple dials on these watches — the moonphase cut out being an understated, yet stealthily flamboyant touch in the bottom half of the dial. Simple hour markers and simple hands give this elegant watch a timeless look that appeals to today’s collector. Whoever puts in the winning bid will be over-the-moon with this Patek.

Lot 113 – The Unique ‘Ferrari Red’ Patek Philippe 5016P
Lot 113: Patek Philippe, an extremely fine, unique and important platinum perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch with tourbillon, retrograde date, moonphase, black dial with Breguet numerals, red signature, minute and seconds scales, date and date hand, original certificate, rating accuracy certificate, original design notes, second case back, pin, sale tag, leather folder, presentation box and outer packaging

Sticking with the Patek theme, Lot 113 is something that all watch collectors clamour for like tourists rushing to reserve a lounger with their towel at a holiday resort — a unique piece.

Christie’s are offering a platinum 5016, a watch that is a direct descendent of the legendary 2499, which is a perpetual calendar minute repeater with tourbillon, retrograde date and moonphases — all of which sit behind a black enamel dial with super-desirable white gold Breguet numerals.

The unique aspect is that all the text, scales, minute track, dates and date hand are in ‘Ferrari’ red — a special request from a very important Patek client. The 5016 comes with the original design notes, where the smallest details were decided, including having the day, month and leap year indicator in black on a white background. The watch has been consigned by the original owner and I’m sure will sell faster than a 458 Speciale on the autobahn!

Lot 95 – The Yellow Gold Rolex Zenith Daytona on Leather 16518
Lot 95: Rolex, a fine 18k gold automatic chronograph wristwatch with original guarantee and box

We live in times when the Rolex Daytona seemingly exists within its own horological microcosm, in terms of both desirability and value. Manual-wind plexi-glass models are now serious money for even a steel bezel 6265 and the Zenith-era automatic watches have tripled in value over the past four years — even the in-house calibre 4130 Daytonas sell for twice what they were a couple of years ago.

There are still some good buys though, one of which is the yellow gold Zenith Daytona on leather strap with deployment clasp. In fact, I believe these watches are ‘easier’ to wear than a similar watch on full gold bracelet.

Lot 95 is such a watch; white dial with the desirable early version of the dial with black rings around the sub dials and the ‘inverted 6’ on the hour register — later versions had gold sub dial rings and the 6 hour marker was the right way round.

The watch comes with boxes, punched papers, booklets, calendar card, wallet and even a polishing cloth — a real collectors set and a good buy at the estimate!

Lot 27 – Rolex Daytona 6263 Made for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said
Lot 27: Rolex, a very important and exceptionally rare stainless-steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, original Asprey box and Sultan of Oman crested envelope and presentation gift card

Not all Omani Rolex watches had the Khanjar on the dial, or even the case back as was customary in more recent times. But Lot 27 does have a caseback engraving, one that makes all the difference — the name of the luxury retailer Asprey and a key factor in this special Daytona.

The Sultan of Oman is a well-known watch enthusiast and for many years offered watches, especially Rolex pieces, as gifts. The London jeweller Asprey held the Sultan’s warrant and this lot features a nicely executed engraved Asprey logo.

The watch has been consigned by the original owner and comes in a special presentation box featuring the Khanjar (the royal crest with the crossed swords of Oman) on top and a special inscription on the inside of the box lid.

Additional provenance comes in the form of a gift card from the Sultan in a Khanjar stamped envelope. The watch remains in very good original condition including the original case back sticker. It’s a watch with a lot of history and a stealthy appeal on the wrist. I’m pretty sure that Daytona mania will ensure that this lot sells well.

More details on Christies.com