Phillips is back in action; its next big watch auction is right around the corner. The Geneva Watch Auction: Eight is taking place on November 10th and 11th at Hôtel La Réserve in Geneva. Some of the top lots include a platinum Patek Philippe reference 3974, a rare single button 1920s Patek Philippe chronograph, a Rolex “Killy” reference 6236 in stainless steel, and a Rolex “Single Red” Sea-Dweller prototype with no helium valve.
Interestingly, two highly coveted Rolex releases from 2018 will also be up for auction: the Rolex “Rainbow” Daytona reference 116595 in pink gold (or, as Rolex calls it, Everose) and the Rolex “Pepsi” GMT Master II in steel. The latter was arguably the most popular watch release of 2018, and if you were lucky enough to purchase one, then you doubled your ROI the second you walked out the door—it sold out immediately upon release. The “Pepsi” GMT Master II, originally $9,250, now sells for up to $20,000 in the pre-owned market and it’s not even one year old. Phillips has marked the starting estimate relatively low at 8,000 to 12,000 CHF (or $8,061 to $12,091 at current exchange), but expect it to go for double. One model at Bob’s Watches and Wind Vintage’s recent online “Box & Papers” auction sold for $22,000. The new “Rainbow” Daytona retails for $96,900, but Phillips has set the estimate at 150,000 CHF to 250,000 CHF (or $151,120 to $251,867). It stands to reason Phillips would have high hopes for this timepiece—the auction house sold a white gold 2012 version of the timepiece last year for 181,250 CHF (or $182,598 at current exchange).
But if a vintage timepiece is more your thing, then you’ll want to take time to check out the platinum Patek Philippe reference 3974. When it was released in 1989, it was the most complicated watch in the world. Its claim to fame was its ultra-complex combination of complications including a perpetual calendar, moon phase, 24-hour indication, and a minute repeater. Its caliber 27RQ comprised 467 movements and was 6.80 mm thick. The model’s case is also stamped with the initials of its famed casemaker Jean-Pierre Hagmann inside the solid caseback and on the inner lug. The timepiece was created to celebrate the watchmaker’s 150th anniversary and was discontinued in 2000. Because it was so difficult to manufacture only very few examples were made during its 11-year-long production run. According to Phillips, this particular model is one of only 8 in production.
Another handsome Patek Philippe piece on the block is a single-button chronograph from the 1920s. It also happens to be one of the earliest Patek Philippe chronographs. Only 27 were produced and 16 were made with an officer case (screwed lugs, large crown, clean case, simple dial and a hinged caseback), like the model being offered at Phillips. A Patek Philippe re. 1436 split seconds chronograph with Breguet hands—first created in 1938 to time horse and automobile races—is another top lot since it is only one of 16 examples in yellow gold with the Breguet hands. However, this model appears as though it has had some restoration work. The small dark spots behind the hour markers (noticeable at 12 o’clock and 7 o’clock) suggest they have been removed and put back on at some point, while some fine lines and dull coloration on the dial suggest it has been cleaned, which may give pause to some collectors in search of untouched timepieces. But Phillips has made its own case for restored dials, and the beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. Regardless, this is a beautiful watch.
But if you’re only dialed in to watches with a 20th or 21st-century A-list name attached, this time around Phillips is offering a Rolex “Killy” reference 6236 in stainless steel (starting estimate 300,000-600,000 CHF or approximately $302,339-$604,711 at current exchange). “Who the heck is Killy?” you may ask. Jean-Claude Killy was a famed French World Cup alpine skier in the 1960s. “Who cares?” you may ask again; this is not a “Paul Newman” Rolex, after all. But Killy is an important figure in Rolex history. Not only was he a brand ambassador for Rolex in its heyday, but the brand—not the public—nicknamed the reference 6263 Dato-Compax after him. And the 75-year-old happens to still serve on Rolex’s board of directors. The watch, which was produced from the 1940s to 1960s, is known for its triple-date calendar and three subsidiary dials that sit at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. While it won’t fetch the same prices as a Paul Newman’s Daytona (the most expensive watch ever sold at auction to date) or create the hype of the now off-the-market Steve McQueen Submariner, it’s still an important Rolex that will, no doubt, appreciate in time.
Another watch brand that continues to increase in value in the vintage and pre-owned marketplace is Omega. Die-hard fans of the watchmaker should be all over Phillips’ offering of Omega’s “Holy Trilogy” (also known as the “Broad Arrow Family”)—the first generation of models that gave birth to the iconic Speedmaster, Seamaster, and Railmaster collections. The offer includes the Speedmaster reference 2915-1 and a Speedmaster 2195-2, the Seamaster reference 2913-3, and the Railmaster reference 2914-1. Phillips also managed to round up the “Fourth Musketeer,” the nickname for the rare Ranchero reference 2990. It was first introduced in 1958 and was meant to be Omega’s successor to the Railmaster and Seamaster, but it didn’t fare well and only lasted one year in the marketplace. Now, thanks to its scarcity, it’s having something of a comeback among vintage collectors.
Phillips has certainly had several blockbusters on its hands in recent years and with a slew of offerings from two of the hottest brands on the market—as well as Omega, which has been gaining speed both in vintage and pre-owned timepieces—these lots should fair well come November.
Part one of the auction will take place on Saturday, November 10th at 5 PM, while the second half will happen on Sunday November 11th at 5 PM.