Breguet N° 4691, lot 330
GENEVA - One of the most electrifying Breguet timepieces ever to appear at auction will be offered at the Important Watches sale at Sotheby’s Geneva on 12 November. Breguet N° 4691, lot 330, is one of those watches that screams Breguet, with its archetypal multi-engine-turned dial and case. Open the back of the watch and you are faced with what, at first glance, appears to be an almost symmetrical and elegantly simple movement – another Breguet trait – but, in this instance, is merely a mask. Remove the dial and before you lies the whirring mass of wheels, ratchets, cams and pinions that make this one of the most complex set of moving parts produced by the great master of timepieces.
Breguet N° 4691, lot 330, under-dial
Breguet N° 4691, lot 330, movement backplate
Added to all of this is the fact that the watch is offered for sale by the descendants of Sir Richard Wallace (to whom the watch once belonged). It was Sir Richard’s widow who bequeathed his London house and collection, the now internationally renowned Wallace Collection, to the British nation. As an aside, it seems fitting that the watch is offered for sale almost fourteen years to the day after Sotheby’s sold King George III’s Breguet in London on 9 November 1999. In fact, if you have the 1999 catalogue, you will find that its cover has served as inspiration for this season’s auction catalogue.
Patek Philippe Reference 1518, lot 289
Longines Reference 2352, lot 292
From one level of complexity to another, exactly 110 years after the Wallace Breguet was made, Patek Philippe introduced their first series wristwatch with perpetual calendar and chronograph. Known as the Reference 1518, this legendary model continues to inspire the design of complicated wristwatches to this day. The Geneva auction has a superb example with a yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch (lot 289). The 1518’s dial is pleasingly symmetrical and, despite the complex calibrations, is utilitarian in its clarity. The softness of the feuille (leaf-shaped) hands and full set of Arabic numerals is a feature also found in the superb Longines Reference 2352 chronograph (lot 292), which has a wonderful black dial and bold steel stepped case. This watch has very unusual and distinctive circular buttons that are known to collectors as “umbrella” pushers. A large watch for the period of its production (second half of the 1930s), the watch uses Longines’ in-house calibre 13ZN movement, a chronograph calibre that the watchmaker introduced in 1936.
Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman", lot 242
Tudor Oyster Date "Monte Carlo", lot 245
This being the 50th anniversary of the Daytona, there are several versions of the iconic model in the auction, including a rare gold version with the “Paul Newman” dial (lot 242). Four Tudor interpretations of the Daytona design (lots 245, 246, 247 and 248) are also highly noteworthy. These four watches are in excellent condition and retain their original guarantees and boxes. Increasingly popular with collectors, these are rare and unique models that are still conservatively priced.
F.P. Journe wristwatch, lot 97
Parmigiani Fleurier, lot 162
The Sotheby’s Geneva auction also includes a number of exceptional modern wristwatches. Amongst these you will find the genius of F.P. Journe at work in the guise of a superb minute repeating, grande and petite sonnerie wristwatch (lot 97) and a Parmigiani Fleurier wristwatch with “Westminster” chime minute repetition, tourbillon and dual time zone indication (lot 162). There’s also a prototype, magnesium-cased tourbillon watch by Richard Mille (lot 147).
Patek Philippe desk clock, lot 88
Tip of the day is lot 88, a Patek Philippe desk clock made in 1965, with a very handsome black dial, which also carries the highly coveted retailer’s name Gübelin. In typical Patek Philippe fashion, the clock is elegantly understated and yet would make a bold statement on any executive bureau. It’s estimated at only CHF 6,000 to 8,000.