While there weren’t any million dollar plus blockbusters at Sotheby’s “Important Watches featuring Masterworks of Time” auction in Geneva, it was a happy hunting ground for collectors looking for rare, out-of-production pieces that don’t break the bank. The highlight of the sale was a Paul Newman Rolex Daytona ref. 6263 in top condition, which sold for $412,716. There were 10 outstanding Audemars Piguet watches in the sale, including a unique Royal Oak Grande Complication, which sold for $343,930. The model, in white gold, is a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph with leap year and moon phase indicators.
The sale included a selection of rare pocket watches comprising the first 11 lots in the sale. A highlight was the unique gold pocket watch made by Patek Philippe in 1969 with an enameled dial depicting of the Mont Blanc by Suzanne Rohr, known as one of the world’s top enamel artists. It sold for $364,565.
Several rare pieces by independent brands were also up for grabs in the sale, including pieces from: Gerald Genta, including a “possibly unique” Westminster Grande and Petite Sonnerie Tourbillon, which sold for $151,329 (thought to have been made for the Prince of Brunei Jefri Bolkiah): Greubel Forsey, including number 3 of the 11-piece series of Invention Piece One watches made, netting $220,115; and F.P. Journe, including a rare pink gold Chronomètre à Résonance, which topped out at $261,386.
One of the hottest models on the market at the moment is the Patek Philippe Nautilus and there was one in this sale, a ref. 3712 “Four Dots” referring to the four small red dots on the power reserve, which identifies it as a “second series” 3712, compared to the three dots that are more commonly found on other models.
The Nautilus reference 3712 was introduced in 2005 and had a very short production run. It is believed to have been made only for about eight months. At the time of production it was the most complicated Nautilus version as it included, in addition to the date which previous models had already, moon phases, a power-reserve indication and subsidiary seconds. It sold for $116,936. Another rare and eccentric model that is gaining traction on the secondary market is the Cartier Crash. A yellow gold example in this sale went for $99,052—a similar model sold in Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XII sale on the weekend for $287,022.
The sale totaled $5.7 million.