Tag

auctions

Browsing

A 2019 Rolex GMT-Master and a very sharp-looking Chopard L.U.C men’s watch highlight the January Jewels and Timepieces live auction by Farber Auctioneers & Appraisers, set for January 11.

Also drawing collector attention in the 452-lot auction is a men’s tourbillon model by Franck Muller and an unusual Speake Marin Velsheda Piccadilly men’s watch.

U.S.-based auction house Farber Auctioneers & Appraisers is a favorite for many collectors in search of a wider range of watches than typically found at the larger auction houses. Farber maintains an active presence in its own New Jersey community and has a well-established global network.

Founded forty years ago, Farber Auctioneers & Appraisers specializes in fine jewelry, timepieces, sterling silver flatware and hollowware as well as United States coins and Collectibles.

Below is a look at a few of the highlights for the January 11 Jewels & Timepieces live auction. Bidding begins at 10 am EST. Click here for a list of all the auction’s watch and jewelry lots and for details on how to bid.

 

Rolex GMT-Master Stainless Steel from 2019.

Rolex

This vintage Rolex GMT-Master Stainless Steel Watch (Reference number 1675) features an automatic movement. Its case measures 39mm (excluding crown) and it has a gold gilt dial, acrylic crystal and a non-original stainless steel Oyster bracelet. Watch is in working order. Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, GMT function. Watch comes with official Rolex Service Paperwork from 2019 and Rolex pouch with service box.

Starting bid: $15,000

Estimate: $30,000 – $40,000

Franck Muller Ronde Tourbillon Men’s Watch.

Franck Muller

The 42mm Ronde Tourbillon Men’s Watch features a manual wind 21-jewel movement. Its case measures 42mm x 49mm lug tip to lug tip. Original leather band and tang buckle.

Back view, Franck Muller Ronde Tourbillon Men’s Watch.

Watch is in working order. Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Tourbillon. Marked- Tourbillion, 7002 T, Number 75, Franck Muller marked on movement. Watch is in excellent pre owned condition. Does not come with box or papers.

Starting bid: $30,000

Estimate: $45,000 – $60,000

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Celeste 18-karat Rose Gold Ladies Watch.

Jaquet Droz

This very nice 39mm Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Celeste 18k Rose Gold Ladies Watch features an automatic 28-jewel movement with an impressive 68-hour power reserve and is in working order. Functions: Hours, Minutes. The watch is in new store sample condition. Comes with box and papers.

Starting bid: $15,000

Estimate: $22,000 – $30,000

Chopard 18k White Gold Tourbillon Esprit de Fleurier Men’s Watch.

Chopard

This sharp-looking Chopard 18k White Gold Tourbillon Esprit de Fleurier Men’s Watch features a top-notch, highly decorated Chopard L.U.C manual-wind movement. Bearing components of the movement are solid 18-karat gold. The case measures 40.5mm x 49mm lug tip to lug tip.

Chopard, back view showing decorated L.U.C movement.

Original Chopard leather band and 18-karat gold tang buckle. Watch is in working order. Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, display showing the excellent eight-day power reserve. Marked ‘Chronometer Esprit de Fleurier, 11/15, 1911, LUC, 1691751.’

Starting bid: $35,000

Estimate: $55,000 – $70,000

Cartier Pasha Moonphase perpetual calendar.

Cartier

Two Cartier watches are particularly noteworthy. One (above) is an 18-karat yellow gold Cartier Pasha Moonphase perpetual calendar watch with a quartz movement. The 38mm watch comes with its box.

Starting bid: $6,000

Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000

Cartier Tortue 18k Gold Diamond Ladies Watch.

The second Cartier watch is this 18-karat gold Tortue Diamond Ladies Watch, featuring an 18-jewel manual-wind movement. Its case measures 28mm x 34mm. Original Cartier leather strap and gold deployant buckle. Watch is in working order. Functions: Hours, Minutes. Ref 2643. Marked ‘Cartier, 2643, 750, Swiss made, 18781CE.’

The watch is in excellent pre-owned condition and comes in Cartier pouch. No box or papers.

Starting bid: $6,000

Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000

Speake-Marin Velsheda The Piccadilly.

Speake Marin

This rarely seen 41mm Speake-Marin Velsheda The Piccadilly 18k Rose Gold Men’s Watch features an automatic 28-jewel movement with a 50-hour power reserve. The watch includes an original brown leather band with tang 18-karat gold buckle and is in working order. The watch is in new store sample condition and comes with box and papers.

Starting bid: $7,500

Estimate: $11,000 – $15,000

Back view of Speake-Marin Velsheda Piccadilly 18-karat Rose Gold Men’s Watch.

A different kind of auction house

(Sponsored) With more than forty years of experience, Farber Auctions is now expanding its fine jewelry and wristwatch categories with unique selling points for a wide scope of timepiece owners.

First of all, if you don’t want to wait for the auction to happen, Farber’s experienced team will evaluate your wristwatch (or jewelry item), confirm the authenticity and condition, and then develop a minimum valuation. At that point you can move forward with placing your item in the auction, or as an unheard-of service within the auction world, Farber will offer to buy your item at their original estimate right then and there – before it ever goes to auction!

Sellers who would rather let their item go forward in a given auction may very-well realize more than the “buy it now” estimate from Farber, but if for any reason your item does not reach the minimum bid, Farber Auctions will offer buy your wristwatch for their original quoted price after the auction is complete.

Eliminating the risk of leaving you empty handed when the auction is over sets Farber Auctions apart from the crowd and will no doubt appeal to a huge audience of collectors looking to divest themselves of part or all of their collections.

In another unprecedented service, Farber Auctions does not charge the seller any fee when an item is sold. Buyers do pay a premium, while sellers receive the full amount of the hammer price – another reason to look at Farber as a great option when you’re looking to get the most for your watches & jewelry. You simply can’t lose as you know the minimum you will receive for any given item.

Finally, while other auction houses tend to curate ultra-exclusive offerings to appeal only to the highest net worth individuals, Farber Auctions has an ethos that encompasses a wider swath of timepieces and jewelry to come under the hammer. While other auction houses turn their noses up at more moderately priced jewelry and watches, these accessories now have a new home at Farber Auctions.

This F. P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Ruthenium is just one of the three rare watches made by pioneering independent watchmaker F.P. Journe set to be auctioned this weekend, November 20-21,  by Ineichen Auctioneers in Zurich.

F.P Journe Chronometre a Resonance Ruthenium

The platinum watch, with an estimate between CHF 200,000 and CHF 250,000, was purchased in 2002 and features a solid gold dial with dark grey ruthenium coating and Journe’s famed hand-wound Résonance caliber 1499.3.

Back view of the F.P Journe Chronometre a Resonance Ruthenium.

The auction, titled 17 Shades of Grey, will feature timepieces produced in tantalum, platinum and steel. Other watchmakers with watches in the auction include Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Breguet, F.P. Journe, Vianney Halter, Konstantin Chaykin, and Urwerk.

After its primary auction of vintage watches and pocket watches, Ineichen will also host a second specialized auction called Alchemy of Gold that features wristwatches in yellow metals.

One highlight in this specialized auction is a set of twin Vianney Halter pieces. These are the Antiqua Yellow Gold and the Antiqua White Gold (each estimated at $53,800 to $107,600) which drew much collector attention when Halter revealed them in 1998.

Vianney Halter Antiqua Perpetual Calendar.

These interpretations of the perpetual calendar allow the wearer to read the hour and minutes, month/ leap year, day of the week and the date via four riveted portholes in order of decreasing diameter.

Other highlights of Alchemy of Gold include watches from Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne, Patek Philippe, Girard-Perregaux, Tissot, Daniel Roth, and Vacheron Constantin.

Here is a look at a few highlights from the Ineichen Auctioneers auction this weekend.

The F. P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Ruthenium.

The F. P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Ruthenium Collection (estimate $107,600 to $215,150) is numbered and limited to 99 pieces. This one features the caliber 1498, the movement that helped the brand make its mark in watchmaking in 1999. No more than 520 Tourbillon Souverain watches were ever produced, and that includes those in the Ruthenium Collection.

The F. P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain de Boulle.

This F. P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain de Boulle (estimate $53,800 to $107,600) is among the rarest versions of this model. At that time, only eight watches were supplied to the authorized Dallas retailer, de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry, in the US in 2007, with two more delivered for owner Denis de Boulle and a director. This piece belonged to the owner.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Tantalum/Platinum.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 25820TP (estimate $107,600 to $215,150) in platinum and tantalum is the rarest version of this model, which forms part of a limited edition of fifteen pieces. A characteristic feature is its design with a matte non-Tapisserie dial.

Audemars Piguet “Starwheel”

Also from Audemars Piguet is the Ref. 25720 from a collection that featured dials mostly decorated with a guilloché plate. Hand- engraved dials were less common, especially like this one in platinum, ranking this Audemars Piguet Star Wheel Automatic Ref. 25720PT (estimate $10,800 to $21,550) among the most rare of this kind. It was released in a limited edition of only nine pieces, which is indicated at the bottom of the dial (9/9).

A few more highlights:

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Minute Repeater, Est. $21,550 to $32,300.

 

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar (Est. $16,150 to $21,550).
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Skeleton Chronograph, Est. $10,800 to $21,550.

Check out the Ineichen auctions here.

 

The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) raised $81,396 at its online Timepieces for HSNY: 2021 Charity Auction, presented by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo from June 7 to June 14. The 2021 figures nearly doubled the $45,000 raised by HSNY in 2019.

All seven of the auction lots sold, either at or above their estimated prices. HSNY reports that more than sixty horological enthusiasts were placing bids from around the world.

Highlights from the auction include HM Horological Society New York, a unique timepiece made especially for HSNY by Arnold & Son, which sold for $30,240, well above its high-end estimate. Additional lots included watches made by Rolex (pictured at top), Patek Philippe, Grand Seiko, Ulysse Nardin and Greubel Forsey.

This specially made Arnold & Son watch sold for $30,240, well above its high-end estimate.

“The incredible results from Timepieces for HSNY: Online Charity Auction 2021 will enable HSNY to further expand our annual financial aid programs, including scholarships for watchmaking students and grants for watchmaking schools,” said HSNY executive director Nicholas Manousos.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit HSNY in its ongoing mission to advance the art and science of horology, which includes offering financial aid to watchmaking institutions and full-time watchmaking students in the United States.

In 2021, HSNY offered four financial aid opportunities, and introduced the Benjamin Banneker Scholarship for Black Watchmaking Students and the Oscar Waldan Scholarship for Jewish Watchmaking Students. In all, HSNY awarded $70,000 in scholarships and awards in April 2021.

 Click here for more details about the auction.

 

A previously unknown Patek Philippe world timer (Reference 2523) with cloisonné enamel dial tops the lots at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XIII, scheduled for May 8 and 9 in Geneva. But alongside that ultra-desirable watch, estimated at CHF 3.5 million, collectors can also bid on rare watches from Cartier, Audemars Piguet, F.P Journe and Rolex, among many others.

This Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 is one of three with a Silk Road cloisonné enamel dial. It’s a top lot at the upcoming Geneva Watch Auction by Phillips on May 8 and 9.

That top lot, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523, was first launched in 1953 and features a 36mm case, which at the time was considered large. The watch’s city ring is an integral part of the dial rather than being engraved on the bezel. Two versions were available, with reference 2523 with larger lugs sitting above the bezel and reference 2523/1 with a slightly larger diameter and thinner lugs that do not sit above the bezel. This example is known as the “Silk Road” 2523 and is the earliest ever made.

Lot 33, showing the superb Patek Philippe Cloisonné dial.

To help you activate your collector gene, we’ve gathered five additional particularly enticing lots from the upcoming auction.

Lot 23, Cartier, circa 1965.

Lot 23: This Cartier Grande Tank Cintrée, circa 1965 (above), was Cartier’s largest Tank model and has been produced in extremely limited quantities since 1921. This example is all original, dating to 1965 with all hallmarks and serial number engravings intact. The movement is a manual-wind Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.

Lot 31, Richard Mille circa 2018.

Lot 31: The Richard Mille RM022 Tourbillon Aerodyne from 2018 is a tonneau-shaped dual-time wristwatch with tourbillon, function selector, power reserve, torque indication, original warranty and presentation box.

It’s a complicated Richard Mille limited edition watch made for the American market and features a red quartz TPT case. Numbered eight of ten examples, the watch has not been auctioned previously. Estimate: $267,000-$533,000.

Lot 73, a Tissot World Time from 1950.

Lot 73: This Tissot World Time from 1950 is a very early 14-karat gold World Time wristwatch produced at the start of the Jet Age. Considering that very few watch brands were making any type of world timer or even dual timer in the 1950s, this is a surprising watch to surface from Tissot. At 36mm it will fit any wrist size. Estimated at $4,300-$6,400.

Lot 140., an F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain “The Number 001”.
Lot 140, likely the very first F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain watch ever made.

Lot 140: This platinum-cased F.P.Journe Chronomètre Souverain features a serial number of 001, meaning it’s the very first example of the desirable model, produced in 2005. Estimate: $21,300-$32,000.

Lot 147, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978.
The back of Lot 147.

Lot 147: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, B-Series, circa 1978, is an original Royal Oak Jumbo – produced six years after the launch of the model. The total production of B-series was just 1,000 examples. The dial is preserved in excellent condition with the AP logo at 6 o’clock, which can be found on any A and B Series as well as some C Series. This example is in superb, all-original condition with hardly any signs of wear. It also comes complete its original box and guarantee certificate. Estimate: $43,000-$86,100.

Click here to download the entire auction catalog, or check out the Phillips website to view the 236 auction lots online.

By Laurent Martinez

In the world of watches, becoming a senior executive and department head at a prestigious auction house is one of the most rewarding positions to get. It is often regarded as a dream job that many want but few can attain. As expected, it’s a position that requires plenty of work, expertise and human skills.

I have had the privilege to meet and interview someone who is in this position: Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s.

Richard’s approachable demeanor and friendly smile are a clear indication that he loves his job and appreciates all the vintage and contemporary watches that surround him day-to-day.

Richard Lopez is Senior Watch Specialist at Sotheby’s.

When I asked Richard how he found himself in the watch business, he told me that he thought he would be an architect. But as is often the case, life had a different path for him. When Richard was an architecture student more than twenty years ago, he was looking for a job for a little extra pocket money.

One day, he passed by the famed Betteridge watch and jewelry boutique in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he saw a trainer teaching the staff how to use special software for engraving. He quickly realized that the software was very similar to the CAD programs that he used for architecture. After showing the Betteridge team that he could engrave a piece in a couple of minutes, he became the in-house engraver—and eventually added polishing to his duties.

Once Richard began learning how to solder and started training as a jeweler, he decided to take a break from school. After a handful of years as a bench jeweler at Betteridge, he switched roles to become the company’s watch repairs coordinator. Not only did he discover a wide variety of timepieces, ranging from quartz to grand complications, during this period but he also had the opportunity to learn from Swiss-trained watchmakers as part of his job. Lopez ultimately fell in love with watches and watchmaking.

Auction houses

After climbing the ranks at Betteridge, Lopez joined Christie’s as a watch specialist and online retail manager. Not long after he joined, the online Christie’s Watch Shop made its debut, which marked a major step in the company’s e-commerce strategy. Lopez’s foray into the auction house market gave him even greater access to extraordinary vintage and modern timepieces, and permitted him to hone his skills in the realm of luxury e-commerce.

Today, Lopez is head of online sales and a senior watch specialist at Sotheby’s and he is based in New York. It is a role that he took on earlier in 2020, a pivotal time for online sales due to the global pandemic.

Like most other industries, auction houses are shifting focus from live events to online channels. Since Sotheby’s will only host in-person auctions twice a year (June and December) for the foreseeable future, Lopez is responsible for launching weekly and monthly online auctions to make up for the current restrictions.

Additionally, he also has to organize lots for the two in-person auctions by curating, qualifying, and authenticating timepieces. Along with his team in the New York office, which also covers the East Coast of the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, there is the Los Angeles team. Most of the timepieces are sourced from private clients and a few dealers.

Auction houses are shifting focus from live events to online channels.

Hands-on

Lopez’s experience as a jeweler and in watch repair prepared him for his current role. It takes a certain type of hands-on experience to understand the nuances of vintage timepieces, particularly if information about a specific watch is not readily available from the manufacturers.

For instance, with vintage Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” watches, it’s important to remember that Rolex has never disclosed how many were made, how many versions there are, and the exact years they each version was produced. Unlike some other watchmakers, Rolex does not offer any type of archival or authentication services, so it is up to collectors, scholars, and professional experts like Lopez to investigate, study, and compile the information.

The record-breaking ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex.

Only with a great understanding of the watch at hand and the current market condition can an appropriate price estimate be given to the client looking to auction his or her timepiece.

Given the current times we are living in, Sotheby’s has decided to lean towards an online platform since the reach is vastly wider than the classic auction catalog. In addition to generating more traffic, an online platform provides plenty of data, such as how many clicks per page and which models have been viewed the most.

This type of information can then be analyzed to predict customer needs and potential trends. For a long time, auction houses never thought that they could convince a large number of buyers to buy expensive fine watches online. It was always understood that potential buyers had to see the watches “in the metal” before even considering placing a bid.

But that is no longer the case—seasoned collectors are happy to purchase online as long as the accompanying pictures and information are clear enough to tell the full story. Clients are also more comfortable if there is an easy return policy and if the watch is being sold by a renowned name like Sotheby’s. To further protect its clients, Sotheby’s always provides detailed condition reports and authenticity guarantees with each watch available for auction.

Strong team

Having a team that truly understands how to navigate the online luxury business is one of Sotheby’s greatest assets. Plus, the team’s ability to make quick adjustments during all the uncertainties that COVID brought about, such as working remotely while still in full control of consignments and sales, allowed Sotheby’s to execute more than twenty online events in the summer compared to some competitors that could only complete a fraction of those numbers.

Sotheby’s weekly online watch auctions list around fifteen to twenty lots for bidding while monthly online sales can reach 200 timepieces in the mid to high-end watch segment.

The two annual in-person events are where Sotheby’s showcases incredible grail watches that command attention from collectors across the globe. These auctions will maintain the customary format of a preview of the watches available at Sotheby’s, followed by an auctioneer-hosted auction in the main room.

Demand rises

The supply of and demand for top-tier timepieces remains strong and it is projected to grow. Rolex and Patek Philippe lead the charge with a slew of coveted sports watch models that have hefty prices to match their insatiable demand. Consumers who are unable to buy popular luxury sports watches in the retail market are turning to the secondary market and discovering a bevy of other watch models from the likes of Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, Panerai, and others.

Although it must be said that while brands like Rolex and F.P. Journe have contemporary watches that are highly valued in the secondary market, it is the vintage segment that is the star of that market. More and more, consumers are treating watches as investments, which can sometimes outshine gold, diamonds, and jewelry as investment pieces. The current-production steel and ceramic Rolex Daytona that retails for about $13,000 is frequently being traded around $25,000 in the secondary market—a return on investment that is hard to beat.

While brands like Rolex and F.P. Journe have contemporary watches that are highly valued in the secondary market, it is the vintage segment that is the star of that market.

As a professional in the watch industry and an avid watch collector, Lopez has learned that although a fine watch is most certainly a luxury and not a necessity, if you really want a timepiece and it fits your budget, go ahead and buy it. Not only will you enjoy the watch immensely, if you also take good care of it, it may sell for a premium in the future. His biggest advice is to keep your box and papers because a complete set will always be more valuable.

Keep your vintage watch’s box and papers.

Talent, enthusiasm, experience, and hard work can open up an array of possibilities and, as with Richard Lopez, it may even lead to a dream job where the profession is dependent on a personal passion.

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s website.

 

 

By Laurent Martinez

For most collectors, there’s always one coveted piece that stands above the rest—the so-called grail, if you will. And in the world of vintage watches, most would agree that the Patek Philippe Reference 2499 holds that honor.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest timepieces designed by the renowned Swiss watchmaker, Reference 2499, a manual-winding Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with Moonphase produced in very low quantities, is the quintessential Patek.

When a Patek Philippe ref. 2499, comes to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention.

Few have had the privilege to see a Reference 2499 in real life, let alone touch one. Watch experts recognize this very special timepiece as one that perfectly combines incredible exterior design with a masterful internal movement.

Given the rarity and collective fascination with the Patek Philippe ref. 2499, when one comes up to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention. Collectors won’t want to miss the chance to see it, study it, and most importantly, share a room with other fellow enthusiasts whilst witnessing the inevitable bidding battle that will ensue to claim this watch as his or her own.  

Sotheby’s New York on December 15th will be hosting a holiday season watch auction with a magnificent example of the revered Patek Philippe Reference 2499 as the star of the event.

Few were made

Succeeding Reference 1518 and preceding Reference 3970, Patek Philippe produced Reference 2499 from 1950 until 1985. Despite only 349 pieces ever made, there are four distinct series of the ref. 2499 to note.

The first series was in production from 1950 until the mid-1950s and features square chronograph pushers, applied Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial. There are less than four-dozen of these ref. 2499 watches in existence. The second series, manufactured from 1955 until 1966, include round chronograph pushers, applied baton or Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial.

Next in line was the third series, made from 1960 until 1978, with round chronograph pushers, applied baton indexes, and no tachymeter scale on the dial.

Finally, the fourth and last series of the Reference 2499 is dated from 1978 to 1985 (with later examples taking on the reference 2499/100) and the watches have round chronograph pushers, applied baton numerals, no tachymeter scale, and sapphire crystals shielding the dials.

Fourth series star

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 coming up for sale on December 15 in New York at Sotheby’s belongs to the fourth series family. And it is simply a magnificent piece manufactured in 1981. While the creamy dial is in very good condition it is not perfect.

A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional.

The dial does have some discoloration owing to the humid conditions of the Southern United States, where its owner resides. The customary applied gold batons mark out the hours while the three subsidiary dials for minutes, date/moonphase, and running seconds sit at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, respectively. The double windows displaying the day and month are placed at 12 o’clock while the gold hands at the center are in the “Dauphine” style.

Tiffany branding

A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional and rare. Sotheby’s consulted with Patek Philippe to see how many Tiffany marked examples were made but there are no records in-house.

The winding crown is furnished with the Patek Philippe logo and of course, the chronograph pushers are round in shape. The interior of the yellow gold case back is engraved with Patek Philippe Co – Genève – Swiss – 2499 – 100 – 2.779.174.” Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425. Potential bidders will be happy to know that the watch keeps very good time.

Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425.

This Patek 2499 is fitted with a brown lizard Patek Philippe strap with a gold Patek Philippe buckle. The width in between the lugs is 20mm and 14mm at the buckle end. The interior of the buckle is engraved with “To AIL – Love – BKL – 7-5-96” and both the case and buckle include all the required poinçons or hallmarks. 

Under the sofa 

The watch was first appraised 20 years ago but it was lost for some time inside the estate. After a long period of searching, this superb Patek Philippe 2499 was finally found inside the house, underneath the sofa. No one knows quite how long it had been lying there, hidden from the world.

As a one-owner Patek Philippe Reference 2499, this is the first time this watch comes to auction. The estimated price is between $500,000 and $800,000, even though I think it is a conservative figure.

For any inquiries about the watch, please contact Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s at [ [email protected] ]

The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 will draw bids at the December 15 Sotheby’s auction in New York.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and joyful season.

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com

By Laurent Martinez

Over the years, I have noticed a recurring pattern with collectors that are new to the vintage watch market. There seems to be a tendency to compulsively buy too many watches at once without clear motivation as to why.

However, it appears that many new collectors who have taken this approach are ready to part with at least half of their new collection only a few months after building it. Perhaps they were attracted to a certain style. Maybe they enjoyed the mystery of discovering something special.

Or maybe they purchased a watch thinking they got a good bargain despite never having seen or heard of the watch before.

I remember meeting a young collector in Paris who wanted to sell his watches. He came to me with bags of timepieces, but he did not really know what he had.

I unfortunately had to let him know that most of his watches were worthless. Out of the one hundred or so timepieces, he only had a few interesting pieces from Croton and Lip.

Of course, this type of collecting can have a serious impact on your wallet. Buying a watch without knowing much about its value ends up being a waste of time and money. It may end up costing you more to fix the watch than it is actually worth. You may not be able to resell the watch for the price you paid for it or worse; you may be unable to sell it at all—even at a loss.

Do your homework

So, how do you start a vintage watch collection? The most important thing to do is to do your homework to build some guidelines. This does not necessarily mean having to spend hundreds of hours researching watches, but at the very least you should invest time into setting some parameters.

For example, define your preferred style. Dressy or sporty? Simple three-handed dial or a more complex chronograph? Stainless steel or gold? Civilian watches or military-issued timepieces? While you may like all of the above, it is always better to start with some restrictions in mind to avoid getting carried away. This approach will narrow your options and give you more focus.

After you have thoughtfully acquired some pieces that fit your initial criteria, then you can expand the parameters.

 

Estimate value

In terms of estimating the value of a watch, you can always visit websites like eBay and Chrono24 for well-known brands to see what people are asking for. Yet, keep in mind that there is a difference between asking price and market price. Listed prices on eBay are a reflection of what people want to sell the watch for and not necessarily what buyers are willing to pay.

You can choose the “Sold Items” filter to see how much a watch was purchased for. What’s more, you have to also consider commission fees, state taxes, and other dues.

If possible, I always recommend going to flea markets, local watch shows or auction events to have the watch in hand before buying. This approach allows you to inspect the details of the watch and speak to the dealer to ask any questions you may have.

Talking to the seller face-to-face will give you a better sense of how accurately priced the watch is. You learn a lot this way, and most importantly doing this can give you a better feeling of what watches you actually like “in the metal.”

Be wary

Buying online can be trickier since some websites are full of retouched images and incorrect information. However, if you have no choice but to buy online, then my advice is to only purchase from a domestic seller. Buying internationally is always riskier whether its complications with shipping and customs or sourcing from regions that are known to be flooded with counterfeit products.

I would also advise purchasing watches that are priced at the lower end of the market rather than the higher end. It is easier to come to terms with making a mistake that costs a few hundred dollars over one that costs a few thousand.

Quartz or automatic?

As always, it is all about the details. For instance, new or vintage quartz watches rarely hold their value as well as mechanical watches. There is hardly any interest in quartz watches in the secondary market. You would fare better with a hand-wound or automatic watch. If you purchase a lower-priced quartz watch, the financial loss would not be too great.

Yet, remember that high-end brands like Breitling and Omega sell quartz watches and these battery-operated timepieces lose tremendous value in the pre-owned market.

Even in the mid-range market, you would be better off buying an automatic Invicta watch instead of a quartz one. I have a friend who collects mid-range priced watches and he is very successful. There is a flourishing market for mid-priced watches and they sell quickly. He is well versed in these particular watches and understands their specifications and how they differ from high-end timepieces. As such, I always try to pick his brain and ask his advice when I am about to get one of them.

Online queries

Another great tool to gain watch knowledge is checking watch forums. There are some very knowledgeable people there that are especially focused on the technical aspects of watchmaking, which can be very helpful. The great thing is that forum members are usually very helpful and willing to share information. Always cross-reference your information with several sources to make sure it is accurate.

When looking at a watch, always start with the basics. I recently saw a watch with chronograph pushers, but the watch had a calendar dial! Obviously, it was a fake.

And sometimes people pretend to know more than they do. A lady contacted me to appraise a watch she bought at a tag sale. Five of her friends told her it was a real Audemars Piguet with a tourbillon.

I had to regretfully inform her that it was not a tourbillon at 6 o’clock, but in fact, a running seconds subdial.

Take your time

In short, educate yourself, ask questions, and take your time. Do not buy on impulse and set a budget for yourself. If you can, see the watch in real life instead of just photos, but if this is not possible, do not be shy to ask for more pictures.

Most importantly, listen to your gut. Keep these tips in mind when building a watch collection and things should go relatively smoothly. Good luck!

Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com