Skeletons & Tourbillons Complications: October 29 Live AuctionBy Bhanu Chopra
In a volatile stock market, collectible watches as an asset class are still a hot commodity, thereby keeping all the major auction houses very busy this year. Ineichen Auctioneers, based in Zurich is no exception. Under the leadership of Artemy Lechbinsky sales have increased by 1233% between 2017 and 2021 (1.5M CHF in 2018 vs. 20M CHF in 2021).
What differentiates Ineichen Auctioneers from other big auction houses is their niche thematic auctions, which makes it very attractive for both the seasoned and novice collectors. Another advantage for Ineichen is their transparency in auction process and no buyer’s premium, which can be less intimidating for collectors looking to dip their toes into auction world. Lechbinsky states “Compared to big auction houses we have a unique offering from the business model standpoint and the selection of watches we offer. We have focused auctions and are the only ones to have cancelled the buyer’s premium and offer a transparent commission model for all cosigners. Even though usually bigger companies are less inclusive and demonstrate more standardized solutions and offers to clients, in our case it is the contrary. While other big auctions have their deals organized behind closed doors, we have openly stated who pays what. But we remain as usually common for smaller businesses were selective in our catalogs, while big auction houses have non-thematic auctions and offer every possible kind of watch.”
As the Fall 2022 auction season begins this month, Ineichen has two thematic auctions planned for October and another one planned for December, both based on different complications. The first auction is scheduled for October 29th, and it will feature 50 watches with the theme of tourbillons and skeletonization. The second auction in December will feature watches with chronograph and date complications. As a collector himself, Lechbinsky says, “Despite their mechanical complexity, I think tourbillon watches and skeletonized pieces are the most visually pleasing. This auction is purely about joy-inducing aesthetics for me.”
Out of the 50 lots offered in the October auction, a few standout – Vacheron Constantin Les Complications Tourbillon Ref. 30050, Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel, Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Minute Repeater Limited Edition, Parmigiani Fleurier Chronograph Tonda, Harry Winston Excenter Tourbillon Limited Edition, and an IWC Schaffhausen Portuguese Minute Repeater Squelette Limited Edition.
There are also few lots with Breguet complications, including the Breguet Classique Grande Complication Tourbillon ‘Senza B’ Ref. 5357PT/1B/9V6. Breguet tourbillon wristwatches rose to popularity when Daniel Roth was at the helm and re-defining contemporary classic design language, featuring complications invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet during his lifetime.
However, Lechbinsky’s passion lies with independent watchmakers since that’s how he started his career in the watch industry. Therefore, it is no surprise that the top lots feature independents.
MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Limited Edition Ref. 03.YL.BL
Starting with a blank sheet of paper, MB&F, in partnership with independent Northern Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell, completely reinvented the time-honored complication. The perpetual calendar not only looks visually stunning with sub dials appearing to float in suspension, it’s also more accurate and more logical. The LM Perpetual features a fully integrated 581-component caliber with no module, and a movement that overcomes the drawbacks of perpetual calendars which sends them often for service. Legacy Machine Perpetual has been designed to be worn trouble-free with no more skipping of dates or jamming of gears. Even the adjuster pushers automatically deactivate when the calendar changes.
This LM Perpetual is part of the 2020 series, in yellow gold case, and limited to 25 pieces. The watch is accompanied with a black leather strap with 18k yellow and white gold MB&F triple folding clasp produced by Chanel-owned G&F Chatelain. The lot is estimated between CHF 80,000 to CHF 100,000.
Daniel Roth Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Retrograde Date ‘XV years’ Limited Edition Ref. 199.Y.70.011.CN.BD
Daniel Roth established his namesake brand in 1989 and established a distinctive style that was characterized by engine-turned dials and a double-ellipse case. Daniel Roth brand was eventually acquired by Bulgari in 2000. In 2004, to mark the 15th anniversary of the brand, a perpetual calendar with two retrograde indicators (date and leap year) and tourbillon in platinum was produced in limited quantities for collectors. Not only was it a rare combination of complications, but it was also one of the first generation (Mk1) releases of the Ref. 199 design.
The watch features a guilloche small seconds sub-dial with three “XV” embossed inscriptions woven into the pattern for the anniversary. The hands are blued, using the classic Roth arrow design. The lot is estimated between CHF 30,000 to CHF 40,000.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton Ref. 99110-52-000-52A
Girard-Perregaux created the Laureato in 1975, which was at the height of the stainless steel sports watch. The Laureato was relaunched in 2017 with a bold statement in a 42mm pink gold case and integrated bracelet. It features a flying tourbillon in dial that is reduced to bare minimum in the shape of a chapter ring with applied gold hour-markers. The flying tourbillon is situated between 11 and 12 o’clock, while the skeletonized mainspring barrel is visible at 5 o’clock.
The GP09520-0001 caliber is produced exclusively in the skeletonized version and was Girard-Perregaux’s first automatic flying tourbillon movement. The movement, comprised of 262 parts, has been open-worked on its mainplate, bridges and its oscillating weight. The lot is estimated between CHF 60,000 to CHF 80,000.
You can view all the lots and register to bid for the October 29th auction here.