The first of three major New York auctions of the month was organized by Sotheby’s on December 10. Important Watches sale which featured 312 timekeepers in total grabbed nearly 6.5 million of dollars ($6,481,375). A chunky portion of the total amount of money was gotten for eleven offered watches which were sold for the price of over $100,000. On the very top of the list when prices are concerned was Patek Philippe Reference 2499 in yellow gold, often stated as one of the best liked models ever that was produced by the famous Genevese watchmaker. On the second place, there are two tied timekeepers: Grande Complication pocket watch by Charles Frodsham & Co. and the mid-20th century Panerai diver Reference 3646. Moreover, six figured price was paid for: a minute repeater by Vacheron Constantin; five other Patek Philippes (three with bird-themed enamel faces and two antique pocket watches); as well as three Rolexes – two Paul Newman Cosmographs and a single with a dual time zone complication. Overall, this was the least exciting of the three New York major auctions in December (other two were organized by Antiquorum and Christie’s), since its highest valued watch was tied at the ninth place when prices are concerned.
Top Model by Patek Philippe – Third-Series Reference 2499
The highest priced timepiece of the sale, Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 in yellow gold, is in the brand’s famous series which has been continuously produced ever since 1941 (starting off with the Reference 1518 model). It includes one of the best known and loved complication combinations – perpetual calendar with a chronograph – that tends to grab the biggest amount of money in almost all most modern watch auctions. This particular piece dates from 1968, which places it in the third of four sub-series of the model 2499. It comes in a round 18 K yellow gold casing with the diameter of 37 mm and the width of 14 mm. Its recognizable silver dial outlay includes two apertures for days of the week and month, two chrono sub-counters for minutes and small seconds, as well as the largest sub-dial which is used for both date and moon phases. As for the movement with the Geneva seal certification, it has a 13 lignes wide hand-wound movement with 23 jewels which utilizes a mono-metallic compensation balance with impressive 8 adjustments. Patek Philippe 2499 was sold for $353,000, thus only slightly exceeding the estimated value of between $250,000 and 350,000.
According to the estimates, the second highest-valued watch on sale in New York was the modern version of the model – Reference 5004P which is a bit more complex since it includes a split-seconds complication in the combination with a perpetual calendar. The watch from 2006 is set in a circular platinum casing (37 mm x 14 mm) and has a black dial with diamond indices. Supplied with a nickel lever Caliber CHR27/70Q hand-wound movement with 28 jewels, this watch featured the estimated price between $200,000 and $250,000. Unfortunately for the seller, there were no interested parties.
Three Vintage Pieces Sold at Nearly $200,000
Contrary to the expectations, the second highest amount of money (precisely $203,000) was attracted by two other timekeepers. The first of them was a formerly unknown pocket watch by Charles Frodsham & Co. It is an open-faced timepiece from 1917 which combines a minute repeater, a split seconds chronograph and one-minute tourbillon which makes it a Grand Complication watch. It is placed inside a fairly large round housing made of yellow gold (with the width of 63.5 mm and the thickness of 29 mm) and it has a charming “best Venitian tint” enamel dial created by a legendary master dial maker Willis (the face is with Roman numerals and two large sub-counters). Its finest segment is the three quarter plate movement which possesses a double roller lever escapement, as well as free sprung regulation. Apart from Guillaume balance, the hand-wound movement likewise has two complications by Nicole Nielsen & Co. – namely its Type 2 tourbillon cage and the utilized chronograph. Weirdly enough, the recently discovered antique piece likewise exceeded the estimated value by $3,000, as it was the case with the highest paid timekeeper of the show (this pocket watch was with the estimated value set between ($100,000 and $200,000).
The other watch that was sold at $203,000 is a joint effort of two giants of watchmaking – Panerai and Rolex. Made in 1955, this cushion-shaped timekeeper is a typical representation of the collaboration of the two brands that took place from the 1930s to the 1980s. As it was done with this diving watch, the cooperation included cases and movements by Rolex, as well as signature sandwich-type dials by Panerai. This is a specific type of the watch’s face in which the dial with openings for numerals and markers is placed on a luminous background. As for the Rolex’s input, it includes a steel polished case (45 mm wide and 19 mm thick) with the recognizable crown protector, as well as hand-wound nickel lever Caliber 618 with 17 jewels and anti-magnetic protection. It was a bit of surprise that Panerai Luminor Reference 6152/1 went highly over its estimated price, since it was valued between $60,000 and $80,000.
Moving on to the fourth position, we reach a rare Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater from 1953. The minimalistic looking timepiece is set in a 36 mm wide yellow gold case with a thin profile and a stepped chamfered bezel. It has a two-tone silver dial with a guilloche chapter ring, as well as Cubist-styled Arabic numerals. The functioning of the timekeeper is secured with a 25-jeweled hand-wound movement with a nickel-lever escapement. The Vacheron Constantine with a striking mechanism likewise exceeded the estimated value (of between $125,000 and $175,000) and snatched $197,000.
Three Bird-Faced Enamel Patek Philippes
The next on the highest paid watches list at the Sotheby’s December Important Watches auction is a Patek Philippe graced with an enamel dial created by Anita Porchet, one of the world’s most prominent master enamellers. Her dial with American Eagle which perches on a branch is featured on the sold Patek Philippe Reference 5077P-030. It is a timekeeper with a round platinum 38 mm wide casing which holds its Caliber 240/119 self-winding nickel lever mechanical movement. This watch is another piece which was sold at just a few thousand dollars more than it was previously expected – the final price was $155,000, while the estimate had the price in the range between $100,000 and $150,000.
Similarly, among the ten highest sold watches were also two more automatic Patek Philippes with enamel dials that depict birds (the movements in question are Caliber 240 and Caliber 240/119). These timekeepers were white gold cased (36 mm x 8 mm) watch that depicts a blue bird, as well as a platinum housed (38 mm wide) piece that features a parrot. Both these bird-theme watches have their central figure done in cloisonné enamel and surrounded by pave diamonds. The similarities do not stop here, since both models were sold unpacked and reached the price of $125,000.
A Pair of Antique Patek Philippe Pocket Watches
The rest of the products on the top ten lists are two pocket watches from the start of the 20th century by Patek Philippe and three wristwatches by Rolex. As far as the two pocket watches are concerned, they can be considered as dark horses, since their estimated prices did not surpass $50,000 (which is more than twice less money than they eventually got). The first one of them was produced in 1913 and includes a perpetual calendar with moon phases combined with a minute repeater and an open face. Presented in 55 mm wide and 16 mm high yellow gold case and made with a white enamel dial, this watch was sold for $137,000. The other pocket watch by the same manufacturer is another recently discovered piece. Made in 1910, the timekeeper with a gold guilloche dial is smaller sized (with its yellow gold case being 49 mm wide and 10.8 mm thick) and it is likewise open-faced ( which can be seen after the activation of a hidden hinge), as well as made with a carillon minute repeater with three gongs and hammers. This piece was sold for $112,500.
Rolexes: Paul Newman Cosmographs & a Dual Time Zone Watch
The list of watches sold for six figure amounts includes three more Rolexes. Two of them are “Paul Newman” Daytona Chronograph Cosmographs from the 1960s and they are both with Calibers 722/1. While the first of them has a steel housing, an off-white matte dial and black guilloche chrono counters, the second one is with a yellow gold housing (37 mm wide), a black bezel, as well as with a gild dial with black counters. The steel “Paul Newman” Cosmograph was sold for $112,500 which is just a bit higher than a golden one which snatched $105,000. The final six-figured Rolex at the Sotheby’s New York auction was a yellow gold piece from 1958. It is a rare model which runs on self-winding Caliber 1066 and includes a dual time zone complication. This model was ultimately paid $125,000, which is once again just slightly more than it was estimated.