Important Watches: Part I
Live Auction: 10 November 2021 • 1:30 PM CET • Geneva

Important Watches: Part I 10 November 2021 • 1:30 PM CET • Geneva

S otheby’s is thrilled to present our Important Watches auction in November, encompassing highly attractive and collectible watches from renowned makers such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Cartier. It further includes both vintage and contemporary pieces from various makers as well as independent brands like F.P. Journe.


Ask anyone to name a watch brand and Rolex is likely to be the first answer. Rolex has a long and exciting history dating back to 1908 when Hans Wilsdorf first registered the name. Renowned the world over, for its unmistakable design, the manufacture has dressed some of the most important wrists in world history from movie stars to Presidents.

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Rolex Paul Newman Daytona and the John Player Special

The Rolex Daytona ‘Paul Newman’ has in recent years become arguably one of the most iconic and recognisable wristwatches ever produced. So well known is the watch that much information concerning its creation and monumental rise to popularity need not be repeated. We are delighted to offer a selection of superb examples in this sale including a John Player Special reference 6264.

Few timepieces are more coveted than a late-1960s gold Rolex Daytona. At the top of this exclusive group is a true gem: the ‘John Player Special’, named after the legendary 1970s Formula 1 livery, due to its black and gold “Paul Newman” dial. Exceedingly rare and produced in very small quantities over a short period of time, Daytona JPS models seldom appear for sale and fewer than 10 pieces of a gold ref. 6264 are known to exist.

Patek Philippe

When it comes to the world of luxury watches Patek Philippe holds a weight few others other can, and perhaps even, will.

Founded 182 years ago in 1839, the manufacture has dedicated itself to producing only the finest quality timepieces with exquisite attention to detail. The house epitomises luxury not only through its demonstrable skill and craftsmanship but also through its underratedness.

We are proud to present a select few of Some of Patek’s most desirable and exclusive creations from the rarest and highly complicated vintage references 2499, 2497 and 3448, a selection of double signed pieces including a reference 1579 retailed by Gobbi, to the ultra desirable Nautilus lineage, to name but a few.

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Cartier is synonymous with creativity. A Maison that is not simply quick to pick up on the latest trends but one that, quite frankly, leads the pack. This has been true essentially since the company’s conception in the late 19th century and, impressively, in the design of both its jewellery and it watch creations. The Cartier Crash perhaps exemplifies these attributes better than any other.

The design of the Cartier Crash was first conceived in Cartier’s London boutique on Bond Street, a premises that to this day remains their flagship location in the United Kingdom. This location, more than any other in Cartier’s portfolio, would see the creation of the most stand out and innovative designs in their collection. This was due to the innovation of Jean-Jacque Cartier and the autonomy which his team of craftsman were gifted. It is understandable why the Crash was to some considered avant-garde upon its release in the late ‘60s but it is this that almost certainly contributed the most to its success, and as such it is a model that is still available today.

Although the Crash first appeared in 1960s its form significantly differed from all other watch designs of the decade. It doesn’t particularly embody any of the typical stylistic features of the decade and, in fact, one may go further to say that it doesn’t entirely embody the stylistic features of any decade. Perhaps this is where its appeal lies; its abstract nature is in a sense transcendent. It simultaneously fits and does not fit into aesthetic spheres and in so doing acquires a trait that the vast majority of designs never even veer close to: timelessness.

Cartier’s unique designs concentrate on the basics of form playing within simple shapes such as the square or the square and then bending, elongating, or compressing them in a way that is highly refined. This sale features a selection of vintage Cartier pieces that embody this ethos entirely.

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F.P. Journe

As a field, watchmaking, as with watch collecting, has in many ways always been focussed on innovation, on the next new thing; be it in accuracy, a new form of complication or purely design. It is this shared appreciation that has in turn led to the symbiotic relationship between collector and maker, specifically independent makers.

Independents also serve to cater for the collectors almost primal desire - to have a piece that few others, if any, can have. Independent makers are, in many ways, to watchmaking what Saville Row is to tailoring; they offer a bespoke and beautiful and very personal alternative to owning ‘just another watch’.

Of course, a watch as an item, is a personal one regardless of whether it comes off a production line of millions of pieces or a bench, for example, that produces just 10 or fewer a year. That said it cannot be disputed that knowing your watch belongs to a group of just a handful of others like it, and moreover, the opportunity to forge a relationship with those that created it certainly serves to elevate this feeling.

Building his first tourbillon at the age of 25, Francois-Paul Journe began his watchmaking career in 1985 making unique watches for private clients from a small Parisian workshop. Dedicated to providing the highest quality and craftsmanship Mr Journe sees a depth, an emotional element to watchmaking.

"The art of watchmaking is more than a matter of making fine watches – it means giving a part of oneself… as a legacy bearing witness to one’s time"

He was to spend 15 years developing his brand until, in the year 2000, he opened his first boutique in the heart of Geneva’s contemporary art scene. There, with a team of 50, the now ‘F.P. Journe – Invenit et Fecit’ were producing three to four watches per day.

With boutiques worldwide F.P Journe is a multi-award winning watchmakers deservedly renowned for that standard of quality and craftsmanship that Mr Journe insisted upon over 30 years ago.

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