This past Sunday May 15th 2016, at the Phillips Watches Auction THREE that took place at the Hotel La Réserve in Geneva, six lots brought close to CHF 6.5 Million Swiss Francs —approximately $6.6 Million USD. Among the heavy hitters of the night, we found most of our picks we brought you here a few weeks ago. This six watches bringing crazy money, are separate from those at the Phillips Start-Stop-Reset auction that took place the night before and which we brought you here.
Bringing in the highest amount of the night at CHF 1,685,000 Swiss Francs—including Buyer's premium—, lot 214 set a record at this auction. We are talking about the Patek Philippe ref. 2499 'First Series' Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Featuring square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale, the ref. 2499 First series was made for about half a decade and can be subdivided in two different categories identified by the case maker. The first Vichet-made cases, which feature a fat caseback and elongated lugs, followed by Wenger-made cases, which feature a domed case back with slightly shorter lugs and a larger case like in the present example. Only nine reference 2499 models left the Patek Philippe ateliers each year on average, leading to a full production of just 349 pieces in 34 years. As time goes by, the appearance of reference 2499 first series with a Wenger case at auction is not calculated in seasons but in years. There are collectible wristwatches and then there are watches woven from the fabric of dreams, and the present reference 2499 is of the latter. This particular watch is one out of 28 Patek Philippe ref. 2499 in yellow gold with the Wenger case.
As the second highest fetching watch —more than doubling its original estimate—, we have lot 135, an ultra rare Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 530 in stainless steel with black lacquer dial with applied Breguet numerals. This example is the only one of its kind to exist in the world. This stunning steel reference 530 presented itself for the first time ever to be seen on the auction market. Most likely now the most beautiful and valuable stainless steel “time-only” wristwatch with a 36.5 mm diameter and fitted with a strap with Patek Philippe stainless steel folding buckle. This watch sold for CHF 1,445,000 Swiss Francs —including Buyer's premium.
In third place, came lot 160, a Patek Philippe ref. 3974J in yellow gold with black lacquer dial and Breguet numerals selling for CHF 1,181,000 Swiss Francs —including Buyer's premium. This amazing Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar is possibly a unique piece that was sold on October 16, 1990.
The fourth highest fetching watch of the night was lot 192, a Rolex Full Calendar ref. 6062 'Black Stelline' which is one of only two models ever made by Rolex featuring a full calendar and the phases of the moon. This watch sold for CHF 905,000 Swiss Francs —including Buyer's premium. This particular reference was made in the early 1950s for only a few years, and until today we have only seen examples in stainless steel, yellow gold or pink gold. One of the most valuable vintage Rolexes out there, especially with a black lacquered dial —the most exclusive of all dial versions out there. Furthermore, this dial features eight, five-pointed faceted stars for hour markers. It is thanks to this dial configuration that reference 6062 has received its flattering nickname 'Stelline' —starlet in Italian.
Setting an all time record for any Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3700 sold at auction, lot 172 a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3700/1 in white gold retailed by Asprey and made for the Sultanate of Oman —featuring a White crowned Khanjar— sold for CHF 635,000 Swiss Francs —including Buyer's premium. As there were no authorized retailers in Oman at the time, nearly all of these watches were ordered by the Sultan of Oman and sold through Asprey London. On rare occasion, very few were sold through Asprey Geneva, as the present lot. Accordingly, the watch is accompanied by its original box, stamped with the identical crowned Khanjar as found on the watch’s dial. On the box’s inside cover, the prestigious stamp ‘Asprey, 40 Rue du Rhone, Geneva’ is found.
Lastly, one of our picks and a favorite of ours at this auction, lot 173 a Rolex Daytona ref. 6265 in 18K yellow gold and with Red Khanjar on its black dial sold for CHF 605,000 Swiss Francs —including Buyer's premium. The 'Khanjar' is Oman's national emblem. When found on a wristwatch they are rendered extremely rare, and are considered amongst the world’s most sought-after collectible watches. The so-called 'Khanjar' watches were direct commissions from the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, who is well known for his enthusiasm for horology and his own formidable collection. The timepieces he ordered were personalized, either with the image of the 'Khanjar' superimposed upon two crossed swords sometimes surmounted by a crown, or with His Majesty’s signature, and given as gifts to loyal servants and foreign dignitaries. For this particular watch, the 'Rolex Oyster' imprint at 12 o’clock had to be repositioned higher on the dial in order to accommodate the 'Khanjar', demonstrating that this dial was custom designed for His Majesty. The matte black dial further enhances the beauty of the red 'Khanjar', while the beautifully aged champagne sub-dials give the watch a sporty and elegant aesthetic. At the dial’s bottom edge at six o’clock the desirable sigma designations flanking “T SWISS T” are found, signifying the use of gold for the hour markers and hands. The word 'Cosmograph' was also moved to the lower part of the dial where we typically find the 'Daytona' imprint.
For more info on Phillips Watches click here.