In another record-breaking sale this past weekend May 11-12, 2019 at the Hôtel La Réserve in Geneva, Switzerland, Phillips Watches, the leader in watch auctions achieved $25,800,625 USD after selling 98% of the 220 lots offered at auction. Just as usual, new records were set for Patek Philippe, Rolex, and independent brands like George Daniels. Even though most of the lots were very important from a horological standpoint, there five to six watches that broke records and that are considered highly important due to their rarity and history in the world of horology.
First and foremost, it is important to mention that the market maintains a steady upward trend in terms of pricing achieved by the usual suspects. Paul Newman Daytonas in the half million range, Patek Philippe Grand Complications selling close to one million dollars and this time a new record for a George Daniels pocket watch, a new record for a Rolex Submariner ref. 5508, a new record for a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3712/1A —sealed from service— that sold for CHF162,500 Swiss Francs and a Nautilus ref. 5980/1A selling for CHF112,500 Swiss Francs.
Another crazy Geneva watch auction where Phillips took the center stage.
Lot 213 - Rolex Submariner ref. 5508 from 1958
The Submariner is one of Rolex's most iconic models. Still in production today, it has gone through multiple incarnations throughout its 65 years history. While early generation examples notably had either a "small" or "big" crown, Rolex gradually introduced crown guards in the mid-1960s to make the model more robust and durable. Reference 5508 was manufactured between 1958 and 1962. This Submariner model, nicknamed “small crown” is the last one to carry a 100m depth rating and no crown guards. The present example is presented in an impressively preserved condition. It seems that the watch has spent its life securely stored away from the ocean and worn less than occasionally. The case is as crisp as it was when it left the factory and the fragile bevels that run along the lugs are crisp and sharp. Fitted with a black glossy dial with gilt printings, the watch also displays a perfectly preserved bezel with red triangle and original pearl. It further impresses with a wonderfully firm and tight expandable riveted Oyster bracelet stamped 1.58. Directly coming from the family of the original owner, this 60+ year Submariner is a preserved gem.
With an original estimate set between CHF80,000-160,000 Swiss Francs, this watch sold for almost four times its estimate to set a brand new record and benchmark for this reference 5508,
Sold for CHF500,000 Swiss Francs including buyer’s premium.
Lot 34 - George Daniels Grand Complication Pocket Watch from 1987
A mechanical tour de force, the Grand Complication stands apart in the Daniels production. Fully hand made, it is the only Daniels timepiece to feature an instantaneous perpetual calendar with retrograde date and minute repeater, both mechanisms to Daniels’ own design. The sublime layout of the engine-turned dial, and the finesse of the gold case and gilt movement show the artistry of the maker, combining the majority of the complications incorporated in his earlier watches: moon phase, differential screw mechanism for the reserve of winding, bimetallic centigrade thermometer, Daniels key-less pendant and bow, co-axial 1-minute tourbillon, and annual calendar with kidney cam and equation of time indication.
The Grand Complication was retained by Daniels for his personal use and was never sold during his lifetime, further underlining the special significance of this watch. That this watch also incorporates the Daniels Co-axial escapement further elevates this timepiece to an even greater level of historical importance.
The influence of George Daniels as a pioneer, and the founding father of modern independent watchmaking, cannot be emphasized enough. Through his watches and publications, particularly watchmaking, he has and continues to inspire countless international independent watchmakers to follow their dreams and create their own watches and ethos.
For a collector of independent horology nothing is more exclusive than to own a George Daniels watch. The present lot is of huge historical importance and represents the absolute pinnacle of his oeuvre.
Sold for CHF2,420,000 Swiss Francs including buyer’s premium.
For more info on Phillips Watches and the results of the rest of the lots click here.