I landed in Geneva this morning on a mission. I will be within the capital of Swiss watchmaking for the subsequent week as a way to cowl the spring watch public sale circuit. Phillips, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Antiquorum all have gross sales lined as much as happen across the metropolis every day from Could 6 to Could 10.
These aren’t the primary auctions of the 12 months. Sotheby’s formally kicked the public sale calendar into excessive gear final week in Hong Kong with two auctions, headlined by the heavy-hitting Nevadian Collector sale. Antiquorum has additionally had plenty of dwell auctions already, and the Monaco Legend Group had a formidable exhibiting in late April as properly. However the upcoming week of auctions is the primary main second for the collective massive homes to return collectively because the fireworks that befell final December in New York.
Lot 32: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402ST
I will be within the room every day with my good friend, the photographer James Okay., aka @waitlisted, to seize all of the drama. Phillips begins issues off this Friday, Could 6, with the long-awaited Royal Oak fiftieth Anniversary Public sale, adopted on Could 7-8 by the Geneva Watch Public sale: XV.
Lot 82: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15002BA
Lot 20: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 25820ST
I’ve a particular week of content material deliberate main as much as all of the auctions, significantly Phillips’ Royal Oak fiftieth Anniversary sale and Sotheby’s Essential Watches, that can give attention to the foremost heaps and the world of the Royal Oak at public sale. However earlier than we dive into these tales, it is value taking a macro-level have a look at among the highlights and hidden gems that make up the almost 300 heaps that will probably be up for grabs this weekend at Phillips.
The Royal Oak fiftieth Anniversary Public sale
Phillips has put collectively a deeply spectacular catalog for this Friday’s Royal Oak-exclusive sale. Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak turns 50 this 12 months (who knew?), and it seems like virtually each public sale home on this planet is making an attempt to commemorate the milestone. Phillips, in affiliation with Bacs & Russo, simply so occurred to do probably the most complete job.
Lot 44: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 25820ST
Aurel Bacs’ dream workforce has put collectively a devoted catalog of 88 uncommon and necessary Royal Oak watches, together with a PVD-coated instance believed to have been custom-made and owned by Karl Lagerfeld and the legendary A2, the second Royal Oak ever made and the earliest-number ref. 5402 to look at public sale. (It is one of many authentic 4 Royal Oak fashions that have been introduced in 1972 on the annual Basel watch truthful.)
Lot 22: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 14802ST
However earlier than we take a deeper dive into these later this week, let’s discover 10 attention-grabbing heaps within the sale that additionally deserve a while within the solar. We’ll begin with the perpetual calendars. Buckle up!
The primary Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar was formally launched within the mid Nineteen Eighties, roughly 12 years after the delivery of the Royal Oak. The inaugural ref. 5548 (AP would quickly swap to a five-digit reference quantity format) utilized the 2120/2800 perpetual calendar motion, a stunningly slim self-winding caliber with, and this will probably be necessary in a while, no intercalary year indication. Now, I am not going to dig into your entire early historical past of Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars – James already did that two years in the past in large type – but it surely’s necessary to know simply how vital the perpetual calendar complication is to the Royal Oak identification. We had a Royal Oak QP almost a decade earlier than we ever noticed a Royal Oak Chronograph, and 13 years earlier than a Royal Oak Tourbillon. Simply take into consideration this – on this Phillips catalog, which is purportedly meant to incorporate as most of the rarest and most desired Royal Oaks ever made, there are 27 heaps that includes a perpetual calendar (together with the Grand Problems). That is 30 % of the catalog! These are 5 of my favorites.
Lot 15: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 25636PT
AP launched the primary skeletonized model of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, the ref. 25636, in 1986, though it reportedly began improvement again in 1983. A complete of 312 examples are identified, with solely 41 cased in platinum. This instance, lot 15, has a C serial quantity and a Mark 1 dial (indicated by the small Audemars Piguet signature at six o’clock) that place it early within the manufacturing pipeline for the reference. The final time we noticed one in every of these hit the block, it broke 400,000 euros at Monaco Legend in October 2021. Phillips has the estimate between CHF 200,000 and 400,000 proper now; I would really feel comfy betting the over. Sotheby’s additionally has a beautiful instance of the 25636PT arising in its Geneva watch public sale on Could 10, but it surely dates to some years after the Phillips instance.
Lot 42: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Skeleton Perpetual Calendar 25636SP
Now we have one other tremendous cool ref. 25636 in lot 42. It is one in every of simply 25 examples to mix metal and platinum, with the case constructed out of the previous and the bezel and central hyperlinks of the bracelet fabricated from the latter. There’s undoubtedly a component of stealth wealth at play right here by way of the cool mixture of metals that may actually solely be recognized by the mirror-polished end on the platinum bezel. Whereas the looks is perhaps stealthy, you continue to should be lots rich to make the watch yours. It carries an estimate between CHF 150,000 and 300,000.
Lot 33: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Skeleton 25829TP. Picture, Phillips
A second-generation skeletonized Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, lot 33 is a ref. 25829TP with a two-metal building by way of tantalum and platinum. It is an attention-grabbing mixture that blends polished platinum parts with the additional darkish gray tone of tantalum. Solely 16 examples of this mixture of metals with a skeleton dial are reported to exist, however curiously, the case variety of this instance is quantity 25. The reason is that AP produced a collection of 25 instances and used them non-consecutively, between a skeleton and strong dial 25820TP. Lot 33 has an estimate between CHF 80,000 and 160,000.
Lot 40: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 25654PT ‘Asprey’
So I initially thought that the dial of this Asprey-signed ref. 25654PT had step by step turned tropical, however the copper brown tone is definitely all-original. This non-skeleton QP dates to 1988 and is the primary – numero uno – of solely 38 examples produced in platinum. Add the Asprey signature in and you have got one significantly collectible Royal Oak. And it has the estimate to match – Phillips has lot 40 set at between CHF 250,000 and 500,000.
Lot 54: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 5554ST
The ultimate QP I wish to spotlight right here is lot 54, a four-digit instance that dates to 1985, the second 12 months of serial manufacturing for the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. It has a Mark 1 dial, and no leap-year indication, two simply identifiable options of an early RO QP. The catalog notes present that this instance is hiding just a few attention-grabbing particulars as properly, most notably a serial quantity for the case that is stamped on the inside of the caseback. Phillips labored with Audemars Piguet’s archivists to substantiate that that is, in truth, right and all authentic. AP says that they repurposed some instances used on the usual three-handed ref. 5402 (which might be thinner than a standard case utilized in a QP) and left the quantity that might have corresponded to the 5402 designation. It is esoteric, certain, however the true affect right here is the size. Because it makes use of the 5402 case, AP confirmed that it measures 10 % thinner than different ref. 25654, at 7.5mm in peak in comparison with 8.25mm. Phillips signifies that solely 49 examples of this reference in metal are identified to exist. The estimate on lot 54 is about at CHF 80,000 to 160,000.
Dude, the place’s the crown? Lot 30 within the Royal Oak fiftieth Anniversary Public sale is the one Royal Oak with out a conventional crown on the watch’s caseband; as an alternative, it is positioned on the caseback. The Royal Oak Tourbillon ref. 25831 was created for the mannequin’s twenty fifth anniversary in 1997 (man, I really feel outdated). This mannequin is a part of the very first batch of Royal Oaks with a tourbillon, and it was produced in a run of 25 items in metal with a blue dial.
Lot 30: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 25831ST
It additionally, oddly sufficient, contains a bumper motion as AP needed to prioritize thinness however retain an automated motion. Take a more in-depth have a look at the tourbillon cage and aperture – it appears a bit of bizarre, proper? AP designed the body of the regulating organ to imitate the mannequin’s world-recognized octagonal bezel. Humorous sufficient, they even included the Royal Oak’s screws. This instance of the 25831ST is primary out of 25 items. It carries an estimate between CHF 120,000 and 240,000.
Lot 30: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 25831ST
Phillips included plenty of totally different unique-piece Grand Problems within the sale, however this one is absolutely the mack daddy of all of them in my thoughts. Lot 68 is a beast of an advanced, gem-set Royal Oak, that includes a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, and a rattrapante chronograph within a superb diamond-set case and bracelet.
Lot 68: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication 25990BC. Picture, Logan Baker
For the collector who appreciates the subtlety and sleekness of the Royal Oak line, this ref. 25990BC will probably make them groan. However for everybody else? It is jaw-dropping. From a sheer spectacle, there’s not a single watch on this sale that tops it. Phillips has the estimate set between CHF 250,000 and 500,000.
I feel this 36mm Royal Oak, lot 38, with a bloodstone dial is absolutely the sleeper hit of your entire public sale. I would by no means seen a Royal Oak with a bloodstone dial, also called jasper, and it seems there is a good purpose why. Apparently solely 5 examples of the 36mm ref. 14701BC with a bloodstone/jasper dial have been produced within the early Nineteen Nineties.
Lot 38: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 14701BC, with Jasper/Bloodstone dial. Pictures, Phillips
Simply lovely. Until I simply blew the quilt off on this lot (uncertain), the estimate is at present at CHF 70,000 to 140,000. Not low-cost, however the mixture of rarity and pure attractiveness make it, in my thoughts, extremely fascinating.
Lot 39: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402ST With Chaumet Retailer Signature. Picture, Phillips
The above watch is a downright superior discover, an early 5402ST that dates again to 1975, simply the third 12 months of manufacturing for the Royal Oak. That is cool in itself. However what makes this watch insanely particular is that the dial is signed by the Parisian jeweler Chaumet. Phillips says solely three ref. 5402 examples are identified with a Chaumet signature, which was the results of a particular order by way of the jeweler. Chaumet has some critical historical past within the watch recreation (even proudly owning Breguet for some time), so it is additional cool to see the corporate’s identify on the identical dial as Audemars Piguet. The estimate for lot 39 is between CHF 80,000 and 160,000.
Lot 70: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 14700ST
Lastly, we come to an instance of the unsung 36mm ref. 14700. AP provided the Royal Oak on this smaller format for lower than a decade, and this particular instance was the very first one to be produced after it was introduced in 1990. It is a bit of a deep-cut with out the apparent attraction of celeb provenance or attention-grabbing issues, however for these within the historical past of the Royal Oak, it represents the beginning of an underrated chapter for the mannequin as an entire. Phillips has the estimate pinned down on lot 70 at between CHF 30,000 – 60,000. Anybody wish to lend me just a few racks?
The Phillips, In Affiliation With Bacs & Russo, Royal Oak fiftieth Anniversary public sale takes place on the resort La Réserve, beginning at 2:00 PM CET, on Could 6, 2022.
The Geneva Watch Public sale: XV
After the curtain attracts on Friday’s Royal Oak thematic sale at Phillips, enterprise as regular – if there’s such a factor within the watch public sale world – takes over on Saturday and Sunday, with Geneva Watch Public sale: XV. That is the fifteenth Geneva sale hosted by Phillips, in affiliation with Bacs & Russo, because the present type of the corporate took form in 2014 – and it is an absolute doozy.
Lot 187: An early F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Resonance from 2000. Picture, Phillips
There will probably be 200 heaps going below the hammer – so many watches that you really want to spare just a few hours to sit down down and examine the catalog if you need a full image of the variety on show. This is what stood out to me.
Eric Clapton. As controversial because the musician is immediately, there are few – if any – names which might be as legendary in watch accumulating circles. His style in watches is as noteworthy round these components as his expertise as a guitarist. (Bear in mind his platinum Patek Philippe 2499? Yeah.) Properly, Phillips has a Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 he as soon as owned up for grabs. However lot 116 isn’t just any 6239, no sir. That is the “Loopy Doc,” a possible distinctive Daytona in yellow gold with a pulsations dial. Clapton bought the watch in Italy within the Nineteen Nineties but it surely gained worldwide consideration after it was bought in 2003 at Christie’s New York, after which once more in 2007 at Antiquorum Geneva. Neither of these gross sales topped half 1,000,000. I am unable to assist however suppose this time it soars previous.
Lot 116: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 ‘Loopy Doc’ beforehand owned by Eric Clapton. Picture, Phillips
Three phrases: John Participant Particular. The yellow-gold, black-accented Daytona ref. 6241 is taken into account one of many rarest configurations of the chronograph ever produced, with solely a reported 300 revamped three years. Phillips bought an instance on its authentic gold bracelet for over $1.2 million in New York final December. This instance, lot 119, comes on a strap, however it would nonetheless be extraordinarily attention-grabbing to look at the way it performs.
Lot 119: Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona Ref. 6241 With ‘John Participant Particular’ Dial. Picture, Phillips
The unique Rolex Milgauss dates to 1956 and is without doubt one of the rarest classic Rolex watches. The road wasn’t at all times about green-tinted sapphire crystals; the mid-’50s ref. 6541 was the definition of a instrument watch, supposed for real-world use by these working round areas with excessive magnetic fields, resembling scientists and engineers. Given its authentic toolish remit and the admittedly low profile of the supposed person base, only a few authentic Milgauss 6541 examples have made it to immediately. This instance, lot 112, has all of it – a Honeycomb dial, a lightning bolt seconds hand, and non-luminous fixtures. Phillips has the estimate set between CHF 200,000 and 400,000, which feels conservative to me, however Antiquorum bought an identical instance in Monaco in January for round 220,000 euros, so maybe it is proper on track.
Lot 112: Rolex Milgauss Ref. 6541. Picture, Phillips
Solely two examples of the Rolex ref. 6032 Oyster “pre-Daytona” Chronograph have gone to public sale prior to now 20 years, so suffice to say it is a uncommon hen. Cased in a 36.5mm 18k pink gold case, this early Sixties chronograph was particularly featured in our outdated good friend John Goldberger’s e book, 100 Superlative Rolex Watches. That is the very first 6032 to make its approach to the Phillips stage – ever – that is how uncommon it’s. And, I imply, how usually do you see two-register chronographs from Rolex? Virtually by no means, proper? Phillips has lot 114 slated to land someplace between CHF 200,000 and 400,000.
Lot 114: Rolex ref. 6032 Oyster ‘Pre-Daytona’ Chronograph. Picture, Phillips
Subsequent we’ve got lot 219, a second gold pre-Daytona Chronograph, besides this instance is a little more well-known. The ref. 6036 combines a triple calendar show and chronograph, and it is acknowledged by collectors throughout the globe as the popular wristwatch of 1 Jean-Claude Killy. What makes this instance particular is the case metallic – you sometimes solely ever see Killy’s in metal. This yellow gold instance is bound to soften loads of hearts, however with an estimate between CHF 500,000 and a million, solely the richest will survive.
Lot 219: Rolex ‘Pre-Daytona’ Chronograph Ref. 6036 ‘Datocompax’ ‘Killy’ in 18k yellow gold. Picture, Phillips
My remaining Rolex spotlight from the fifteenth Phillips Geneva Watch Public sale is yet one more strong gold pre-Daytona Oyster Chronograph. Nonetheless, this can be a ref. 6034, which got here two generations earlier than the introduction of the Cosmograph Daytona in 1963. This particular instance, lot 221, is particular because of the presence of its authentic Homosexual Frères bracelet and using an surprising metallic for the case and bracelet; only a few 6034s are identified in rose gold.
Lot 221: Rolex ref. 6034 ‘Pre-Daytona’ Chronograph in 18k pink gold. Picture, Phillips
As such, two years in the past, in 2020, an identical ref. 6034 bought at Antiquorum Geneva for CHF 600,000. Phillips – at all times working on the protected facet – has the estimate on this instance listed at CHF 200,000 – 400,000.
It is a very particular Patek Philippe. And whilst you may say that about almost each watch on this catalog, this lot simply hits in another way. The place different heaps are about rarity, hype, and the fun of unique esoterica, this Patek ref. 1503 from 1941 has a novel provenance. It was as soon as owned by Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Austrian gentleman and Holocaust survivor who devoted his life’s work to searching down and bringing to trial fugitive Nazi warfare criminals within the a long time after World Battle II.
Lot 212: A Patek Philippe Ref. 1503 beforehand owned by Simon Wiesenthal. Pictures, Phillips
The watch not solely has the provenance of being owned by an incredible particular person, it is also remarkably engaging, with teardrop lugs, a black lacquered dial, and utilized Breguet numerals. It was initially consigned by Wiesenthal’s household in 2007, after his 2005 dying, at Christie’s Geneva. The estimate for lot 212 is at present set at CHF 250,000 – 500,000.
Lot 213: Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 1518 ‘Pink On Pink.’ Picture, Phillips
Deja vu, but? Sotheby’s auctioned off a pink-on-pink 1518 lower than every week in the past, and there is already one other one up for grabs. For a watch with solely 14 identified examples, that is a hell of a coincidence. In December we noticed Sotheby’s New York promote the third costliest wristwatch at public sale ever, by way of a very clear pink-on-pink 1518, so it is clearly resonating with some prestigious collectors that it is perhaps time to check the market. Can it maintain multi-million greenback value tags time and again? We’ll have to attend till lot 213 this weekend to seek out out.
Indies, Oddballs, & Extra
We dwell not on Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet alone, and neither do the public sale homes. Phillips Geneva Watch Public sale XV features a good number of items from unbiased watchmakers in addition to just a few surprising watches from the foremost group manufacturers.
Lot 300: F.P. Journe Octa Zodiaque Distinctive Piece For 2005 Youngsters Motion Public sale. Picture, Phillips
The primary lot I would like to focus on right here is definitely the final watch of the sale, lot 300, a novel piece F.P. Journe Octa Zodiaque that the watchmaker created in 2005 for the Youngsters Motion sale. Everybody is aware of that F.P. Journe is sizzling, sizzling, sizzling – and a novel piece bought for charity ought to catch much more consideration. Better of all, the consignor and Phillips have agreed to donate all public sale proceeds to the Youngsters Motion charity as soon as once more. The present estimate is CHF 150,000 – 300,000.
Lot 104: MB&F × Urwerk C3H5N309 Experiment ZR012 in zirconium. Picture, Phillips
I’ve at all times been fascinated by MB&F and Urwerk’s 2012 collaboration, the completely bonkers C3H5N309 Experiment ZR012. Crafted in a pair of 12-piece restricted version runs created from both zirconium or black zirconium and that includes a Wankel engine-inspired motion, I feel the Experiment ZR012 ought to rightfully be thought of a foundational piece of the weirdo world of unbiased watchmaking that is proliferated over the previous decade. Lot 104 has an estimate between CHF 20,000 and 40,000.
Lot 111: Omega Speedmaster ‘Alaska Mission II’ Ref. 145.022. Pictures, Phillips
Kicking off a trio of distinctive Omega Speedmasters, Phillips was in a position to supply an authentic Alaska Mission “ALASKA II” Speedmaster to incorporate in Geneva Watch Public sale XV. On the heels of final November’s record-breaking 2915-1, I’d be shocked if this Alaska Mission, lot 111, did not high its excessive estimate of CHF 200,000.
Lot 168: Omega Speedmaster ‘Monza’ prototype from 1995. Picture, Phillips
This is one other attention-grabbing Speedmaster – lot 168 is a prototype produced circa 1995 with a white dial and an odd crimson signature at six o’clock that reads “MONZA.” The watch has no serial quantity, so no extract is included with the watch, however Omega confirmed to Phillips that the watch is a reputable prototype. How cool is that? The estimate on this offbeat Omega is CHF 30,000 – 60,000.
Lot 273: Omega Speedmaster Skilled Date prototype circa 2003 ref. 145.0022 // 345.0022. Pictures, Phillips
At first look, lot 273 appears like every other outdated Speedy Professional – however then, you discover it: A date window. Close to the 4:30 place on the dial, there is a framed, color-matched cut-out for the date show. What I feel is especially cool about this prototype Speedmaster are the seen engravings hidden behind the lugs that state “Not For Sale”. For the Speedmaster lover who already has every part, I feel this may very well be a super-cool, under-the-radar instance value taking a look at. The estimate right here is CHF 20,000 – 40,000.
Lot 276: A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Ref. 101.027X. Picture, Phillips
The ultimate lot that stood out to me within the Geneva Watch Public sale: XV is lot 276, a particular Lange 1 ref. 101.027 from A. Lange & Söhne that is cased in white gold with a silvered dial and heat-blued palms. It shares an identical aesthetic to the well-known and extremely collectible chrome steel Lange 1 examples, besides it is in a extra conventional treasured metallic. Uncommon examples of the Lange 1 are extra in demand than ever earlier than, and only a few examples of the Lange 1 on this aesthetic mixture have beforehand come to market. The estimate is about between CHF 30,000 – 60,000.
Phew – there we’ve got it. Twenty-four attention-grabbing, intriguing, and strange watches, every one up for grabs beginning this Friday at Phillips. However we’re simply getting began – test again on Tuesday for a Palms-On report of one of many extra culturally vital Royal Oaks that will probably be up on the market.
The Phillips, In Affiliation With Bacs & Russo, Geneva Watch Public sale XV public sale takes place on the resort La Réserve, beginning at 2:00 PM CET, on Could 7-8, 2022.
All Royal Oak pictures by James Okay./@waitlisted, except famous.
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You may view the remainder of the catalogs for the The Royal Oak fiftieth Anniversary Public sale and The Geneva Watch Public sale: XV and register to bid on-line at Phillips.