Important Timepieces from 9 of the Most Renowned Watchmakers

Launch Slideshow

Sotheby’s is honoured to showcase important and rare timepieces from prestigious brands in our upcoming Important Watches sale. We invite you to preview some of our special highlights from renowned watchmakers including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger LeCoultre, Cartier and more.

Important Watches
6 December | New York

Important Timepieces from 9 of the Most Renowned Watchmakers

  • Patek Philippe, A Highly Important and Rare Yellow Gold Automatic Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Moon Phases and Red Dot Leap Year Indication REF 3450, 1981. Estimate $150,000–250,000.
    Patek Philippe is undisputed in their position at the apex of horology, producing horologically complex, as well as simple, timeless pieces. The present lot is, according to our research, chronologically the first example of red dot reference 3450 to appear at auction. Production of reference 3450 began in 1981 and ceased in 1985. The 3450 is beloved for its striking, angular case shapes, which straddle the line between “vintage” and “modern” from a design and historical perspective.

  • Rolex, A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Registers and Bracelet REF 6239 Daytona "Paul Newman," Circa 1969. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    The iconic reference 6239 was introduced in the United States in 1963, and available in the US and Europe until 1969. It was the first model fitted with this exotic dial, later coined the Paul Newman, and distinguished by its square markers. Today the Paul Newman Daytona is extremely sought after amongst Rolex aficionados.  

  • A. Lange & Söhne, An Impressive Platinum Wristwatch with Date and 31 Day Power Reserve Indication, Circa 2007. Estimate $50,000–70,000.
    The Lange 31 is the first and only mechanical wristwatch with a power reserve of 31 days and a patented constant-force escapement that delivers a constant and uniform torque. This impressive wristwatch is one of many pieces by A.Lange & Söhne, a rejuvenated company committed to outstanding form and function.  

  • Cartier/European Watch & Clock Co., Inc., A Fine and Rare Platinum Curved Rectangular Wristwatch Tank Cintrée, Circa 1929. Estimate $40,000–80,000.
    Introduced in 1917, the Cartier Tank is perhaps one of the most recognizable designs in the watch world. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the Tank has adorned the wrists of some of the most influential people in history from Princess Diana to Andy Warhol to Cary Grant. Cartier started production of the Tank Cintrée, seen in the present lot, in 1921. Unusual for its elongated and slimmer profile, the Cintrée was manufactured in different iterations and in very limited quantities, making it one of the most sought after and highly collectible models.

  • Cartier, A Limited Edition Yellow Gold Asymmetric Wristwatch No 196/400 Crash, 1991. Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    The Crash originally launched in 1967 with an inspired design by Cartier London. Arguably one of the most iconic watch designs of the 20th century, the present model was released in the early 1990s as a limited edition.

  • Jaeger-LeCoultre, A Pink Gold Rectangular Reversible Skeletonized Dual Axis Spherical Tourbillon Wristwatch with 24 Hour and Power Reserve Indication REF 247, Circa 2009. Estimate $100,000–200,000.
    Jaeger-LeCoultre has been a constant force in the world of horology since its early beginning. They are renowned for the iconic Reverso wristwatch and have reinterpreted the classic form in countless ways. The Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 combines classic aesthetics with contemporary haute horology. The dual axis tourbillon rotates three-dimensionally and incorporates a cylindrical balance spring ensuring unparalleled precision and performance. A mesmerizing feat of ingenuity, the Gyrotourbillon is visible from both Reverso positions and boasts an impressive 50 hour power reserve.

  • Vacheron Constantin, A Fine and Rare Yellow Gold and Enamel Open Faced Watch Originally Owned by “Diamond” Jim Brady, 1910. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    The present lot is a beautiful and unique example of the bespoke firm’s vintage watches, likely customized for their elite clientele. The watch case and dial are finely decorated in all manner of red enamel work, making a visually striking and unusual piece to behold. The present lot was previously in the collection of Jim Buchanan Brady, the noted Gilded Age American businessman and philanthropist. His legendary interest in collecting jewels and precious stones earned him the moniker “Diamond” Jim Brady.

  • Audemars Piguet, A Fine and Rare Yellow Gold Open Faced Perpetual Calendar Split Seconds Chronograph Minute Repeating Watch with Moon Phases REF 5543BA, Started In 1907 Completed Circa 1968. Estimate $50,000–100,000.
    With its early 1900s movement and its bold 1960s angular case format, the present lot brings the viewer on a horological and aesthetic journey from the first to the second half of the last century. One can only imagine the delight with which the watchmakers at Audemars Piguet discovered this highly complicated movement, encapsulated from a previous generation. It would be their privilege to fit this treasure into a suitably important case, just as it would have been some 60 years earlier.

  • Richard Mille, A Titanium and Pink Gold Automatic Chronograph Wristwatch with Date and Month REF RM011, Circa 2012. Estimate $50,000–70,000.
    The RM011 Felipe Massa was introduced by Richard Mille in 2007, and has since become a staple of the manufacturer’s line-up and their most successful chronograph. Bearing the name of the famed Formula One driver, the RM011 was Richard Mille’s first chronograph that was not a rattrapante. Coincidentally, this year marks the last year Massa will professional race in Formula One, announcing his retirement 7 November, 2017.

  • F.P. Journe, A Limited Edition Stainless Steel Minute Repeating Grande and Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch with Power Reserve Sonnerie Souveraine, Circa 2006. Estimate $260,000–360,000.
    The grand and petite sonnerie is a complication reserved for the upper echelon of watchmaking. Unlike many other prestigious complications such as the perpetual calendar, the split second chronograph and even the tourbillon, the grand and petite sonnerie was only just developed in 1992. Even more extraordinary, the stunning Sonnerie Sourveraine by F.P. Journe was developed by a singular man, and is the recipient of ten technical patents, a truly impressive feat. Awarded the Aiguille D’or at the 2006 GPHG and, with only four pieces made per year, it offers any collector the rare opportunity to purchase what may rightly be considered the pinnacle of the F.P. Journe collection. (To learn more, please view the lot essay here ).


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