After our feature on “Arab dials” up for grabs at the ongoing Christie’s “Dubai Edit” online sale (Oct 15-29), today we look at five other interesting timepieces that stand out among the 160 odd watches up for sale. Here goes:
PIAGET CORAL AND ONYX-SET BRACELET WATCH
During the late 1960’s and 70’s produced some stunning bracelet and jewelry watches that were extravagant in design and with little regard for conventional watchmaking norms. Pour through past auction catalogues and you’ll find plenty of timepieces set with hard stones like jade, coral, lapis lazuli and so on. This particular example (Lot 29) is a stunning 18k yellow gold bracelet watch set with coral and onyx and a coral dial. Manufactured in 1972, the watch is powered by a manual-winding movement and its overall length is about 170mm. The watch comes with a pre-sale estimate of $25,000-35,000.
PATEK PHILIPPE TWO-TONE NAUTILUS, REF. 3700/11
A steel and 18k yellow gold Nautilus from 1982, this is a rare bird and Christie’s believes that only 300 examples of this particular Ref. 3700/11 were made, making it even harder to track than its more famous steel sibling, the Ref. 3700. Among the most iconic luxury sports watches every made, the Nautilus in steel was first introduced in 1976. For the first four years, Patek Philippe sourced the cases from Le Crêt du Locle firm Favre-Perret SA. From 1980, Patek started making the cases themselves from the Ateliers Réunis workshops and changed the reference number to the new ref. 3700-11. This particular timepiece has a pre-sale estimate of $25,000-35,000.
PATEK PHILIPPE POCKET WATCH REF. 912
This is a stunning example of watchmaking from the Swiss giant. Highly skeletonized and decked with jewels, the Ref. 912 was produced in very small numbers given the amount of time and detail that goes into the creation of each example. Produced in 1980, the slim case is an imposing 48 mm in diameter and is set with diamonds and pearls. The front and back bezels, as well as the bow is decked with diamonds. In total, the case is set with 177 diamonds (worth 1.71 carat), 12 rubies (0.15 ct.) and 55 pearls.
The pearl setting is unusual for Patek and according to Christie’s, this was a feature of pocket watches made specifically for the Asian markets. The skeletonized movement is hand-engraved and the Calatrava emblem of the maison forms the spring barrel casing. A similar example with red hands was sold for HK$6,390,000 ($824,500) at the Phillips Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT in May last year. The pre-sale estimate for the present watch is $35,000-50,000.
F.P. JOURNE TOURBILLON SOUVERAIN IN PLATINUM
The Tourbillon Souverain is the watch that helped F.P. Journe launch his eponymous watch company via a subscription system in 1999. It is the first wristwatch with a tourbillon and rementoire (a device that ensure a constant force of energy to the escapement) and one of the first subscription pieces he sold fetched $1.47 million when it appear on the auction block this June in Geneva.
Arguably one of the most significant wristwatches made in the last 30 years, this particular example in platinum is 40 mm wide (two more than the original from 1999) and was made in 2012. Journe is among the rare breed of independent watchmakers whose stock is rising rapidly in the pre-owned space. This watch has a pre-sale estimate of $80,000-120,000.
ROLEX REF. 5513/17 MILSUB
Vintage Rolex Submariners tend to do well at auctions, but ‘Milsubs’ – steel Submariners made for the British Navy – are highly coveted because of their martial provenance. Rolex produced the military version of the Submariner ref. 5513 to a set of specifications laid down by the British Ministry of Defence. The most distinguishable trait remains the larger sword-shaped hands and the encircled “T” on the dial denoting the use of Tritium, a luminescent material used on the hour markers and hands.
The Milsub bezels had 60-minute marks rather than only the first 15 minutes like in the regular production models and the case was fitted with fix lug bars. The present example is from 1977 and is accompanied by a letter from the Rolex UK Bexley Office dated May 8, 2008, confirming that the present watch was supplied to H.M. Dockyard Devonport in June 1977. The watch has a pre-sale estimate of $140,000-240,000.