Freeman’s auction house this Friday will offer a host of interesting vintage timepieces at its Philadelphia headquarters (and online), including many standouts from Patek Philippe, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Rolex.
But not all the top lots in Freeman’s ‘Watches of Distinction’ sale on April 7th are from these banner auction brands. Sprinkled in among the sale’s most intriguing offerings are pieces from F. P. Journe, Breitling, LeCoultre, Ulysse Nardin and even Gerald Genta, all names that never fail to attract notice from specific sets of very passionate collectors.
Take a look at Lot 83, an F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sport Aluminum CTS ALU, made in 2011 (Estimate: $30,000 - 40,000). This lightweight, manual-wind watch, one from a small production made for a few years, was fashioned with aluminum, including the bracelet, case and –incredibly – the movement. Also of note is the fact that chronograph is started, stopped and zeroed by a (patented) rocker mechanism at 2 o’clock instead of with the usual buttons on either side of the crown. And the chronograph utilizes a rarely seen foudroyante display in the upper left subdial, which displays the 1/100th of a second.
Also note the Gerald Genta Mickey Mouse quartz watch from 2000 (lot 70, estimated at $3,000 to $5,000). Here you’ll find a relatively accessible entry point for a collector who knows about the deep influence Genta had on watchmaking design since he penned classics like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Omega Constellation.
Two truly vintage lots with lugs to die for include a LeCoultre 36mm gold chronograph from 1950 (Lot 133, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000) and Vacheron & Constantin 35mm gold small-seconds model from 1940 (Lot 34, estimated $3,500 to $5,500).
Collectors of more recent vintages can check out the solid Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339 from 2010 (Lot 11, estimated between $7,000 - 10,000) and the early Hublot Big Bang King Power UNICO GMT from 2010 (Lot 100, estimated between $20,000 and $30,000).
“The Unico represents a different take on the world time complication with four sub-dials to coordinate with the main dial,” notes Michael Larsen, Senior Specialist, Fine Jewelry & Watches at Freeman’s. “It’s a great look while maintaining a classic wristwatch appeal.”
Larsen has lined up a fewer other notable Lots that his auction house, which is not only the first auction house founded (in 1805) in the United States, but is one of the first small businesses founded on these shores. Here are several of his favorites, along with a few of ours.
Patek Philippe Complication World Time Ref. 5131R-001. (2015, estimate: $100,000 - $120,000). “Patek Philippe continues to lead the way with this state-of-the-art World Time watch. This piece combines an extremely complicated movement, aligning time zones for variations international locales, with the unique beauty of the enamel globe dial that sets it apart from the everyday timepiece,” says Larsen.
Patek Philippe Chronograph, Ref. 533. (1947,estimate: $60,000 - 90,000) “This piece represents an early and extremely rare chronograph from Patek Philippe and is highly sought after by astute buyers. The quality and condition of this watch makes it an excellent addition to and collection,” he adds.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Chronograph Limited Edition, circa 2011. Estimate: $35,000 - 45,000.
De Bethune Ref.DB22, circa 2007 self-winding automatic watch. Estimate: $20,000 to $30,000.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver Chronograph Ref.8006-102-3A/926, circa 2010. Estimate: $14,000 to $16,000.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 'Bubbleback' Ref.5015, circa 1949. Estimate: $3,000 to $5,000.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref.6000G-001 circa 2000, 37mm. Just recently replaced at Baselworld 2017 with a new 39mm model. Estimate: $14,000 to $16,000.
To see all 149 watches Freeman’s will place up for auction this Friday, click here.
About Freeman’s auction house:
The company was founded in 1805 by Tristram Bampfylde Freeman, a printseller who came to America from London. After an order from Pennsylvania Governor Thomas McKean, Freeman was appointed to the office of auctioneer in Philadelphia, where he subsequently began the company. Over the years Freeman’s has grown both nationally and globally, opening regional offices throughout the United States and expanding into the European market after forming an alliance with Lyon and Turnbull in 2000.