Christie’s Dubai Important Watches auction scheduled to be held on March 19 will offer collectors some iconic and exclusive modern and vintage timepieces. Marking five years of standalone watch auctions held by Christie’s in the Middle East, this curated sale will feature 184 timepieces of the most reputable brands. In the past few years, the Middle East has emerged as a dominant force in the watch industry, with important collectors searching for the rarest and most precious examples of vintage and modern timepieces.
Patek Philippe reference 2499/100
The Patek Philippe Ref. 2499/100 is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest watch models. Throughout the years, the reference has undoubtedly influenced the designs of many watchmakers and is now highly sought after by collectors. Manufactured with an elegant case of contemporary size, the reference was introduced in 1950 and replaced the legendary reference 1518, the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch made in series.
With only 349 examples made over a production period of 35 years, the reference is considered extremely rare as an annual average of only nine watches left the Patek Philippe workshop. Due to the extremely scarce amount of timepieces available in the market, the value of the reference steadily increased over the years with the rarest iterations commanding premium prices.
Examples of the reference 2499/100, such as the timepiece offered during the Dubai Important Watches auction, are considered trophies due to their overall condition and the presence of original certificates and their presentation box. Manufactured in 1981, the timepiece is part of the fourth and last series of reference 2499 produced, and can be considered as the last true vintage perpetual calendar chronograph made by Patek Philippe.
Estimate: $400,000 – $600,000
Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman
The Ref. 6263 featuring a rare ‘exotic’ Paul Newman ‘Panda’ dial has become, throughout the years, one of the most coveted vintage timepieces in the auction industry. Named Cosmograph following the fervor surrounding outer space travel, the timepiece quickly displayed the script Daytona on its dial, due to Rolex’s involvement with the celebrated International Speedway. Manufactured in the 1970s, the present reference 6263 is offered by its original owner, who meticulously kept the box, original warranty and receipts.
The timepiece further stands-out through its stainless-steel case of athletic design and extremely rare ‘exotic’ dial. Initially offered as an alternative to customers, ‘exotic’ dials were created in order to increase the sales of the Rolex chronograph and arose to fame throughout the years when the actor Paul Newman was seen wearing such a timepiece. Part of the rarest iterations, this chronograph features a beautiful two-tone ‘Paul Newman Panda’ dial, with sharp contrast in color and outstanding condition.
Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref: 3800
Leading the Nautilus selection in the auction, the reference 3800/108 is among the most exclusive Nautiluses ever produced. Available from 1981 to 2006, the Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 3800 was crafted with a case measuring 37 mm and featured a sweep center seconds hand, date and metallic bracelet. With a design emanating from the iconic reference 3700, designed by Gerald Genta, the timepiece was offered in a large array of styles, with cases made of steel, steel and gold, yellow, pink and white gold and platinum.
One of the most lavish iterations of the model, this watch has baguette-cut sapphire hour markers as well as approximately 220 diamonds weighing a total of 7.00 carats. Made in an extremely scarce amount and exemplifying the skills of Patek Philippe watchmakers, the timepiece is part of the most collectible Nautilus 3800s ever created.
Estimate: $64,000 – $103,000
Rolex Daytona Ref. 16528
Impressive example of a Rolex Daytona chronograph, the present reference 16528 astonishes through its condition and the quality of the gem-setting to its dial. Showcasing the savoir faire of the Rolex manufacture, the dial is set with diamonds and emeralds set in yellow gold chatons. Achieving cult status throughout the years, the Rolex Daytona is known in the industry for its instantly recognizable design and well-known reliability. Pushing boundaries further, the present chronograph perpetuated the legacy of wristwatches such as the Rolex 6270, and through its 18k gold case and jewelry setting, participated in defying the idea that sport-watches were only bound to be manufactured in steel.
Assembled with the now legendary Zenith ‘El Primero’ movement, Rolex’s first automatic movement, the reference was an instant success throughout the globe and marked an important change in the history of the chronograph. With the production of the model officially stopping in 2000, Rolex Daytona’s with Zenith movements are now highly sought after by collectors.
Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000
Rolex Day-Date Stella
Part of the most collectible Rolex timepieces, the present Day-Date, lot 156 of the Dubai auction features a magnificent and vibrant green-colored ‘Lacquered Stella’ dial. Originally intended for the Middle-East market, the Rolex Day-Date ‘Lacquered Stella’ were produced during the 1970s in limited numbers with lacquered dials. Created during a period where the watch industry was challenged by the appearance of Quartz movements, Rolex decided to innovate by creating a series of dials with a multitude of colors reflecting the vibrant fashion style of the period. Adding to the rarity of the timepiece, the green dial of the present Day-Date is very well preserved and intact, enabling this timepiece to be considered as a true collector’s item and one of the most playful Rolex timepieces ever produced.
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000
Highlights of the Cartier selection of the auction, the two timepieces are part of the iconic Cartier Crash collection. Launched in the 1960s and available only in yellow gold, the Crash was reintroduced in the form of limited editions with cases in different precious metals during the 1990s. With an unusual shape, the watch alludes to Salvador Dali’s painting The Persistence of Memory, 1931, exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Rare and desirable, the Cartier Crash has proven to be a Cartier classic and highly coveted by the most sophisticated of collectors.
Estimate: $20,000 – $40,000 (platinum)
$20,000 – $40,000 (gold)
Marrying jewelry and creativity, the unique Boucheron LadyHawke timepiece represents the culminating point of the collaboration between Boucheron and Girard-Perregaux. Assembled with the highly complicated and iconic tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, the movement provides the wristwatch with exceptional timekeeping precision and aesthetic appeal due to its unique architecture. More than just a timepiece, the watch is set with a variety of gems, including pink, yellow and white diamonds, rubies and fancy diamonds, weighing a total of approximately 26.72 carats. Top lot in the ladies’ selection of the auction, the timepiece is unrivaled in its originality and the quality of craftsmanship devoted to its creation. With animals being a predominant source inspiration for the Maison Boucheron, this unique creation offers enthusiasts of ‘Haute Joaillerie’ an imperious falcon crafted of 18K white gold and embellished with precious gems that encircle the watch.
Estimate: $250,000 – $450,000
Richard Mille RM 35-01
The RM35-01 is one of the most popular timepieces made by Richard Mille. Resulting from extensive research and the use of new materials, the wristwatch perpetuates the tradition of highly technical and extremely light wristwatches bearing the name of the tennis superstar Rafael Nadal. Inspired from the groundbreaking and impressive RM027, the lightest mechanical tourbillon wristwatch weighing only 18 grams, the timepiece has a case made of NTPT carbon secured by spline screws in grade-5 titanium. Powered by the RMUL3 caliber, the wristwatch is proof that it is possible to create an ultralight and highly complex mechanism able to withstand extreme conditions at the highest-level of competition.
Estimate: $80,000 – $160,000
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept
Manufactured in 2002 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the iconic Royal Oak collection, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept was considered a radical reinterpretation of the original design of Gerald Genta. Developed in only 150 examples, the timepiece has been actively sought-after by collectors of modern timepieces and features a skeletonized dial encompassing a complex tourbillon mechanism with a vertical in-line power reserve and dynamograph indicator. Highly innovative in the way it develops its creations, Audemars Piguet was the first ever to require the use of Alcarite 602, a very durable cobalt and chrome alloy from the aeronautical industry, ensuring the resistance and light weight of the timepiece.
Estimate: $130,000 – $200,000
Panerai Radiomir PAM0021
Considered by many collectors as the ‘grail of grails’, the Panerai Radiomir PAM0021, lot 42 of the auction, features a platinum case and a movement made by Rolex. Going back to the Panerai watches produced from the 1930s to the 1950s, the timepiece was manufactured in a limited edition and numbered 0 out of only 60 pieces.
Estimate: $80,000 – $120,000