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Patek Philippe this week introduces new versions of three existing chronographs, including one (Reference 5905) with an olive-green dial set into a steel case with an Aquanaut-inspired steel bracelet.

The other two debuts, new versions of Reference 5204 (a split-second chronograph with perpetual calendar) and Reference 5930 (a world time flyback chronograph) each feature new case metal and/or a new dial color.

The new Patek Philippe 5905/1A-001 is a flyback chronograph and annual calendar in a 42mm polished stainless steel case.

Reference 5905/1A-001
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Patek Philippe first launched this self-winding flyback chronograph with annual calendar in platinum in 2015 and then in rose gold in 2019. Now, the watch enters the market as a sporty 42mm steel watch, complete with an integrated steel bracelet inspired by the brand’s all-sporty Aquanaut (Reference 5167/1A).

And combined with a trendy sunburst olive green dial, this debut will likely become the latest Patek Philippe watch with demand far exceeding production. Patek Philippe rarely cases its watches in steel, and the metal’s use here will only amplify the already strong demand for the brand’s pioneering and highly legible annual calendar, especially as combined with a flyback chronograph.

Specifically, the dial offers a central chronograph hand, a large 60-minute subdial at 6 o’clock and three day/date/month apertures helpfully arranged along the top of the dial. For setting purposes, Patek Philippe includes a day/night indicator at 6 o’clock.

As seen through the clear sapphire caseback, Caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H shows Patek Philippe’s technical and artisanal mettle, with a vertical disk clutch column wheel. This means the central chronograph seconds hand can also be used as a permanent (running) seconds display.

The new watch will join existing references in platinum with a blue dial and in rose gold with a brown dial. Price: $59,140.

 

Reference 5204R-011
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Patek Philippe dresses up its classically styled split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar with a more contemporary sunburst slate grey dial and matching strap.

The new Patek Philippe 5204R-011 is a split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar in a 40mm rose gold case.

The 40mm watch’s highly desirable technical pairing, first offered in rose gold in 2016, is, like the annual calendar, notable for its legibility. It displays day and month in two apertures at 12 o’clock. Small seconds and the instantaneous 30-minute counter appear on two subdials at 9 and 3 o’clock, while two round apertures display the leap-year cycle between 4 and 5 o’clock. And helpfully, the date hand (at 6 o’clock) includes a moonphase display.

Through its clear sapphire caseback the Reference 5204R allows a view of the manual-wind Caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q, first introduced in 2012. This caliber, with two column wheels, a horizontal clutch and a split-seconds mechanism, is a recipient of seven patents.

The watch is available on a shiny slate gray calf leather strap with an embossed alligator pattern and a rose gold fold-over clasp. Available with interchangeable sapphire crystal and solid caseback, it is joining the two existing versions in rose gold. Price: $309,893.

 

Reference 5930P-001

This automatic World Time Flyback Chronograph is resplendent with its all-new 39.5mm platinum case, especially as it complements a sexy green dial and matching strap.

The new Patek Philippe 5930P-001 World Time Flyback Chronograph is set into a 39.5mm platinum case.

Not only are the green city names right on trend, they do so in a retro style particular to Patek Philippe: In 1940 the Geneva watchmaker actually placed a similar green dial on a one-off model of its famed world timer. Furthermore, the case features the wing-type lugs often seen on Patek Philippe world timers in the 1940s-1950s.

If the design here looks familiar from more a recent era, it’s because Patek Philippe debuted the 5930 in 2016 in a white gold version with a blue dial and matching strap. Here, the green dial center has been guillochéd by hand in a circular pattern while the hands and applied hour markers are coated with a generous application of luminescent coating.

Inside, Patek Philippe’s caliber CH 28-520 HU is equipped with a column wheel and a disk-type vertical clutch. This allows the central chronograph hand to be used as a permanent (running) seconds display without affecting accuracy or power reserve.

Patek Philippe offers the new Reference 5930P-001 on a shiny green alligator strap with a platinum fold-over clasp. It joins the collection alongside a white gold 5930G-010 version with blue dial and strap. Price: $100,538.

Alongside the many new dome clocks and pocket watches Patek Philippe is debuting during its wide-ranging Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021 exhibition in Geneva this month, the manufacture is also presenting six ongoing-collection wristwatches re-interpreted with new artisanal craftsmanship.

These debuts include a Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon, a diamond-set minute repeater with retrograde perpetual calendar (Ref. 5304/301R-001), a minute repeater with perpetual calendar (Ref. 5374-001), the Ref. 7040/250G-001 Minute Repeater for Ladies, a richly decorated Golden Ellipse (Ref. 5738/51G-001), and a white gold Nautilus set with diamonds. Prices for all these models are on request.

The Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat.

The Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat

Patek Philippe has given this ultra-complex watch (with twelve complications) a stunning hand-engraved rose-gold case with a brown dial in grand feu champlevé and cloisonné enamel.

Patek Philippe’s engravers spent more than 100 hours creating the ‘volutes and arabesques’ case, crown and repeater slide. As Patek Philippe’s second most complicated model, the Sky Moon Tourbillon combines a tourbillon and a minute repeater that strikes on cathedral gongs, a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date, a moon-phase display and the leap year cycle.

The reverse side of the Patek Philippe The Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat.

From the back, you’ll see a celestial chart showing the apparent motion of the moon and the stars. Patek Philippe will deliver the new Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon with hand-engraved cufflinks in rose gold. It replaces the Ref. 6002G-010 in white gold with a black grand feu enamel dial.

The new Ref. 5374G-001 Minute Repeater with a perpetual calendar.

The Ref. 5374G-001 Minute Repeater with a perpetual calendar

Initially available in platinum, this chiming watch with cathedral gongs now boasts a white-gold case with a glossy blue grand feu enamel dial. Also new are the slightly larger perpetual calendar (day, date, month, leap year cycle) displays, placed on slightly enlarged subsidiary dials. In addition, the white gold hands are now highly luminous, while the  moonphase aperture is made using the champlevé enamel technique and then framed in white gold (see below).

Up close on the Patek Philippe Ref. 5374G-001 Minute Repeater with a perpetual calendar.

Ref. 7040/250G-001 Rare Handcrafts Minute Repeater for ladies

This groundbreaking minute repeater is now extra luxurious with a blue grand feu flinqué enamel dial and a bezel with a Flamme diamond setting. The new model is slightly larger (36m) than the earlier models, and also boasts a diamond-set bezel.

The stunning Ref. 7040/250G-001 Rare Handcrafts Minute Repeater for ladies.

If you recall the dial on the Patek Philippe “Siamese Fighting Fish” pocket watch from 2019, you’ll see a similarity with this new model. Artisans fully guilloche the dial’s gold plate and then coat it with transparent blue enamel that allows the underlying decor to shine through. This method is an old technique called flinqué enameling. Patek Philippe insures that this watch remains thin (5.05mm) by using its self-winding caliber R 27 PS, powered by a 22-karat gold eccentric mini-rotor.

The new Patek Philippe Ref. 5738/51G-001 Golden Ellipse Haut Artisanat.

Ref. 5738/51G-001 Golden Ellipse Haut Artisanat

This new design takes full advantage of one of Patek Philippe’s most classic case shapes. Here in white gold, the Ellipse boasts a stunning champlevé enamel dial that has been manually engraved. The watch’s curly-cue decor, known technically as ‘volutes and arabesques,’ nicely complements the oval case shape of the Golden Ellipse.

Inside Patek Philippe places its famed automatic Caliber 240 powered by an off-center recessed mini-rotor in 22-karat gold. The thin (6.58mm) watch joins the current Golden Ellipse collection, which also includes Ref. 5738P-001 in platinum with a blue sunburst dial and the Ref. 5738R-001 in rose gold with an ebony black sunburst dial.

The new high-glitter Patek Philippe Ref. 7118/1450G Nautilus Haute Joaillerie.

Ref. 7118/1450G Nautilus Haute Joaillerie

Released in rose gold just a few months ago, this newest highly reflective diamond-set Nautilus can now be had in a white gold case. Set with a random pavé setting (also called snow setting), the watch’s case, dial, bezel, and the bracelet are decorated with nearly 13 carats of diamonds. Still, despite the glitter, the blackened white gold hands remain visible thanks in part to a generous coating of luminous material.

The watch’s blackened white gold hands remain visible thanks in part to a generous coating of luminous material.

This 32.5mm white-gold case is fitted with the automatic Caliber 324 S movement that has been elaborately finished and visible through the sapphire-crystal case back. Sunglasses please.

The Ref. 5304/301R-001 Minute Repeater with a retrograde perpetual calendar
 is now framed in baguette diamonds.

Ref. 5304/301R-001 Minute Repeater with a retrograde perpetual calendar


Now in a 43mm rose-gold case set with eighty baguette diamonds, this grand complication was first launched in 2006 in a platinum case. Its new diamond frame boasts 6.22 carats of diamonds on its bezel, lugs and clasp, dramatizing Patek Philippe’s seriously complicated system for clearly displaying the day, month, and leap year cycle with transparent sapphire-crystal disks. To add subplots to the drama, Patek Philippe has also added white-gold inlays with engraved leaf motifs in the case flanks and the repeater slide.

The back offers its own window into the architecture of the self-winding caliber R 27 PS QR LU movement, most notably the minute repeater mechanism with two gongs. The viewer can also watch the whirring of the centrifugal governor during chiming. Finally, Patek Philippe artisans re-imagined the finished here with a leaf motif now visible on the rose gold mini-rotor. Patek Philippe has built so many stunning technical and artisanal highlights into this watch, we highly recommend you view the brands’ own visual tour, available here.

A clear view into Patek Philippe’s R 27 PS QR LU movement, showing the minute repeater mechanism with two gongs.

 

If you’re in Geneva between June 16 and June 26, we suggest you visit the historic headquarters of Patek Philippe on Rue du Rhône. There, the watchmaker is exhibiting more than seventy-five Rare Handcrafts items from its collection.

In its largest such collection of rare handcrafts masterpieces, Patek Philippe mixes in several of its 2021 Rare Handcrafts with a curated selection of seventy 2020 artisanal items, including one-of-a-kind limited editions. These include pocket watches, wristwatches, dome table clocks and bracket clocks made using a broad range of artisanal skills.

This genuine ‘panda’ dial from Patek Philippe will be on display at the exhibit.

These skills include manual engraving, precious miniature painting on enamel (a Genevan specialty), flinqué enamel on hand guilloching, paillonné enamel, enamel with Limoges painting, fauré enamel (relief enamel), Longwy enamel on faience, and gem-setting.

Patek Philippe has even included several rarely seen examples of wood micro-marquetry as well as mixed-technique pieces that combine marquetry, manual engraving, and flinqué enamel.

While exploring the exhibits, visitors can also observe the artisans at work as they demonstrate their expertise in enameling, miniature painting on enamel, engraving, marquetry and guilloching.

The “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition at the Patek Philippe salons in Geneva on Rue du Rhône 41 is open to the public from June 16 to 26, 2021, every day (except Sundays) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors should register at http://www.patek.com/rhc2021/ in advance.

 

Among its many notable 2021 debuts, Patek Philippe earlier this month unveiled two particularly interesting calendar watches. Each introduces a new approach to full-spectrum timekeeping, and, notably, neither debut is cased in gold. 

One, the much-discussed in-line Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001), is a new perpetual calendar that shows the day, date, and month in a single panoramic aperture at the top of the dial –the first such display in a Patek Philippe wristwatch.

The new Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001), cased in platinum.
The new perpetual calendar is thin, measuring 11.07mm front to back, all in platinum.

The second calendar model, the Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar, places an annual calendar in a steel case and on a steel bracelet. Recall that Patek Philippe pioneered the annual calendar for the wrist in 1996, and this new model is the brand’s first annual-calendar-only watch not cased in a precious metal.

The Perpetual Calendar

A close look at the in-line calendar display on the new Patek Philippe Cal. 5236P perpetual calendar.

Patek Philippe has previously created in-line calendar displays, but strictly for pocket watches. Interestingly, these were made first for the American market. One example from 1972 (No. P- 1450) features a calendar format in the American style (“à l’américaine”), showing month, date, and then day.

Taking a cue from this historic model and a few others, Patek Philippe several years ago challenged itself to devise such a display in miniature for a wristwatch.

Patek Philippe’s watchmakers decided to design a system with two date disks – one for the tens and one for the units. This meant that the entire calendar display would require four disks, one for the day, two for the date, and one for the month, and all needed to be embedded in the same plane.

Stay thin

To accomplish this, and to maintain a thin caliber, Patek Philippe’s watchmakers built the new movement based on the caliber found in the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator from 2011. The caliber in the Ref. 5235 features an off-center micro-rotor, which opens up space for the additional 118 components required to construct the in-line display.

The new Patek Philippe Caliber 31-260 PS QL AMB.

Patek Philippe then had to re-engineer the caliber to more efficiently drive the extra energy required by a perpetual calendar. The firm’s watchmakers increased the torque of the spring barrel 20 percent and boosted the winding power by utilizing a platinum rotor rather than the more typical gold rotor.

And finally, Patek Philippe improved the caliber’s overall rate stability by increasing the frequency from 3.2 to 4 Hz (28,800 semi-oscillations per hour).

The resulting new automatic, ultra-thin caliber 31-260 PS QL boasts a recessed mini-rotor and a customized module for which Patek Philippe has filed three patents. In addition to powering the date display, the movement also powers two round displays that show the leap-year cycle as well as the day/night indications. A further window displays the moon phases.

Patek Philippe is launching the Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P-001 in a hand-polished 41.3mm x 11.07mm platinum case. Its handsome blue dial offers nicely gradated black at the edges. It arrives on a matching navy blue alligator leather strap secured with a fold-over clasp. Price: $130,108.

 

Annual Calendar

The new Patek Philippe  Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar finds the manufacturer re-designing the ultra-practical complication to fit within a steel Calatrava case for the first time. Equally interesting, the Calatrava is attached to an all-new steel bracelet.  

The new Patek Philippe Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar.

You might recall that Patek Philippe invented the wrist-borne Annual Calendar in 1996, effectively creating an entirely new calendar watch category for itself (and many other high-end watchmakers.)

Requiring only one manual correction per year (at the end of February), the annual calendar brings with it a convenient, and moderately priced, calendar function to those who would like the all-encompassing coverage of a perpetual calendar, but balk at the high cost of nearly all examples of the mechanical complication.

Until this new model, Patek Philippe has offered its annual calendar in various ladies’ and men’s models, all in either gold or platinum cases.

The new 38mm steel-cased Patek Philippe  Ref. 4947/1A-001 Annual Calendar offers a polished steel bezel that matches the new, totally integrated steel bracelet. Patek Philippe has created a luxurious five-row bracelet made of fully polished links and a fold-over clasp.

The blue dial on the new watch is patterned with vertical and horizontal satin finishes that appear textured, as on a matte linen fabric. This assures that the dial contrasts nicely with polish of the case and bracelet, creating a surprisingly contemporary overall appearance.  

The watch’s calendar displays are easy to read: Two subsidiary dials between 9 and 10 o’clock indicate the day and, between 2 and 3 o’clock, the month; the date appears in an aperture at 6 o’clock just below a moon-phase display rounds out the calendar functions.

From the back, the wearer can enjoy a clear view of the beautifully finished automatic Patek Philippe caliber 324 S QA LU movement. The watch is nicely sized at 38mm and not too fussy, particularly given its array of calendar functions. It also holds a unique position within the Patek Philippe lineup, especially with its steel case and bracelet. If you’ve been waiting for a steel-cased Patek that is not a Nautilus and not a chronograph, this might be your new watch.

Price: $47,904

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5236P-001)

Movement: Self-winding mechanical Caliber 31‑260 PS QL. In-line perpetual calendar. Day, date, month, leap year and day/night indication in apertures. Small seconds.

Dial: Blue, black-gradient, vertical satin finish, gold applied hour markers.

Case: 41.3 by 11.07 platinum. Interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal case backs. Water-resistant to 30 meters.

Bracelet: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny navy blue. Fold-over clasp.

Price: $130,108. 

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Annual Calendar (Ref. 4947/1A-001)

Movement: Self-winding mechanical movement. Caliber 324 S QA LU. Annual Calendar. Day and month by hands. Date in an aperture Moon phases. Sweep seconds.

Dial: Blue, vertical and horizontal satin-finish (“shantung” finish), gold applied numerals.

Case: 38mm by 11mm steel, sapphire crystal case back, water-resistant to 30 meters.

Bracelet: Steel. Fold-over clasp.

Price: $47,904

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.

 

 

Patek Philippe this week enhances dial color options and adds metal choices within its feminine Twenty-4 collection. Three new Twenty-4 models, one a quartz-powered cuff model and two round-cased automatic editions, now offer new dial colors within the collection’s steel and rose gold offerings.

One of two new Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic watches, here with a rose-gold sunburst dial.

The manchette, or cuff-style Twenty-4 with a Patek Philippe quartz movement, which last year was updated with Arabic numerals, now includes a new version in rose gold with a chocolate-brown sunburst dial. The watch, Ref. 4910/1201R-001, has two rows of diamonds, applied Arabic 12, 6 and trapeze-shaped markers, and a hand-polished rose gold bracelet. Price: $44,947.

The newest Patek Philippe Twenty-4, with chocolate brown dial and diamonds.

And within the Twenty-4 Automatic collection, Patek Philippe now offers two new 36mm round models, one in steel set with an olive-green sunburst dial (Ref. 7300/1200A-011) and the other in rose gold with a rose-gold sunburst dial (Ref. 7300/1200R-011).

Both dials are notably vibrant. The olive-green edition is particularly eye-catching, especially as framed by the two rows of diamonds. The olive-green dial Twenty-4 Automatic joins existing steel models set with gray sunburst and blue sunburst dials.

The Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic, now with an exceptional sunburst olive green dial.

Patek Philippe fits both these Twenty-4 Automatic watches with its top-notch automatic caliber 324 SC, visible through a sapphire caseback and offering up to forty-five hours of power reserve.

If these dials look particularly luxurious, I commend your perception. Patek Philippe uses gold to build the Arabic numerals or markers on all the Twenty-4 models. The numerals and markers are then filled with a luminescent material. The date frames on the automatic models are also made from white gold.

The new watches join the other rose-gold Twenty-4 models (with two-rows of diamonds) with a chocolate-brown sunburst dial or a linen pattern dial.

Like the rectangular Twenty-4 watches, the round automatic models are fit with hand-polished bracelets in the same metal as the case. And both include Patek Philippe’s simple, secure (and patented) fold-over clasp, which is built with four independent catches.  Price: $27,796 (steel) and $48,495 (rose gold).

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 [ Richard.Lopez@sothebys.com ]

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

Patek Philippe this week launches a platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds, the Geneva watchmaker’s primary technical watch debut for 2020.

Patek Philippe’s new platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds.

With its black grand feu enamel dial, slanted Breguet numerals and relatively unadorned time and power reserve indications, the new watch understates its impressive and complex chiming mechanism. While eyeing a classically presented time display, a wearer can also place an ear to the 44.8mm case and enjoy a rarely orchestrated symphony of three gongs: a grande sonnerie (full strike), petite sonnerie (small strike) and an on-demand minute repeater.

Patek Philippe has also added an unexpected layer of complexity to the new watch by incorporating a jumping seconds indicator, prominently displayed at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. Patek Philippe looked to its Reference 5275 from 2014 for inspiration on this complication, as that chiming model boasted jumping hours, minutes and seconds.

Patek Philippe opted to place the strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case.

New slide

Patek Philippe watchmakers, well-versed in designing and building the brand’s highly regarded and extensive range of chiming watches, developed the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement directly inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.  

Unlike most chiming watches from Patek Philippe and elsewhere, the new watch’s chime control center is located below the 6 o’clock position rather than on the left side of the case. On this watch, the selector can be adjusted to petite sonnerie mode (left side), grande sonnerie (center) and silence (right). The user activates the minute repeater on request with the pusher in the winding crown.

Because Patek Philippe opted to place that strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case, the watchmaker needed to move its traditional small-diamond platinum case indicator to the side of the case at the 12 o’clock position.

The diamond, here at 12 o’clock, indicates that the case is platinum.

Two barrels

Two series-connected twin mainspring barrels power the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement. One assures a power reserve of 24 hours for the striking mechanism while the second ensures a 72-hour power reserve for the movement.

New the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM is inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.

All this chiming and timing occurs within a platinum case that may look familiar. Inspired by the Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph Patek Philippe presented in 2015, the case features rounded contours, a concave bezel and a slightly cambered sapphire crystal.

Details of the striking mechanism with three gongs.

In summary, the new Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie includes these six complications:

  1. Grande sonnerie
  2. Petite sonnerie
  3. Minute repeater
  4. Movement power-reserve indicator
  5. Strikework power-reserve indicator
  6. Jumping seconds

In addition, the new watch offers unique technical achievements that have resulted in the Geneva watchmaker earning three patents, which Patek Philippe describes below:

  • Isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode (Patent CH 704 950 B1). In the silence mode, this mechanism totally isolates the grande sonnerie from the power flow and eliminates energy consumption.
  • Selection of the strike work mode (Patent CH 706 080 B1). This mechanism enables the selection of the strike work mode (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence) with a single lever and a single slide switch. Two slide switches were formerly required for this operation.
  • Jumping display with a jumping seconds wheel (Patent CH 707 181 A2). This innovative mechanism for jumping displays does not require springs and levers but instead uses wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, and features a coiled return spring as the only power element. The advantage of this system is that it makes energy consumption easier to regulate and control.

Patek Philippe will offer the new Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie  on a shiny black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with square scales, secured with a fold-over clasp. The price for the limited production watch is available upon request.

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 6310P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds

Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM, manual winding, minute repeater with 3 classic gongs, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie, jumping small seconds at 6 o’clock, power reserve indicators for the movement 
(72h) and for the strike work (24h), frequency of 25,200 bph 
(3.5 Hz), power reserve of 72 hours, strike work power reserve of 24 hours.

Dial: Grand Feu black enamel with glazed finish, gold applied Breguet numerals, 18-karat gold dial plate, white gold leaf-shaped hands 
with luminescent coating.

Case: 44.8 mm
 by 12mm platinum, humidity-and dust-protected only 
(not water-resistant), interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal 
case backs.

Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp.

 

Among the three watches Patek Philippe unveiled this week, this Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon is possibly the most distinctive, in part because the watch is the newest, most contemporary design among the debuts.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5303 is the first Patek Philippe Grand Complication with a minute repeater visible on the dial side. Note the clear view of the hammers and gongs.

While the other two debuts, Reference 5270J-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
 and Reference 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph, represent line extensions for classically designed watches available since, respectively, 2018 and 2015, the new Ref. 5303R-001 modifies a newer design debuted last year as a limited edition of twelve watches during Patek Philippe’s ‘grand exhibition’ in Singapore.

Where that Ref. 5303 appeared accented in red to commemorate the Singapore flag, this new version offers the same open, dial-free architecture but with a black minutes track and a gold seconds hand.

Open architecture

Here, Patek Philippe again reworks the manual-wind R TO 27 PS minute repeater caliber to emphasize its chiming operation. As a result, the repeater is fully visible on the watch’s dial side, where Patek Philippe has repositioned the caliber’s gong and hammers.

This allows the wearer to both hear and see the repeater mechanism’s hammers and gongs as they chime the time without taking the watch off the wrist – a first for any Patek Philippe grand complication.

Patek Philippe has skeletonized the caliber and then carefully hand-finished all its remaining bridges and surfaces. The Geneva brand’s finishers have decorated the movement’s plate with Genevan circular graining, applied a perlage to the recesses and decorated the hammers with a circular satin finish.The tourbillon

The tourbillon is even more transparent than the minute repeater as it’s visible from the front and the back of the watch.

The tourbillon at 6 o’clock is visible through the small seconds counter and can also be seen from the back.

From the back, the viewer can eye the back of the tourbillon case, exactly opposite the dial-side seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Patek Philippe finishers have filigreed the tourbillon’s steel components until they sparkle – a nice contrast to the rose gold back plate.

The case

The watch’s 42mm rose-gold case notably features a wide polished bezel framing a black-lacquered sapphire-crystal rim. Patek Philippe has also placed leaf-shaped white-gold inlays along the watch’s the sides (including the repeater slide) and the sides of the lugs.

This somewhat surprising naturalistic design element –also seen shaping the white gold, black-lacquered hands ­– nicely balances the watch’s contemporary skeleton caliber.

The watch’s white gold minute repeater slide is engraved with a leaf-shaped pattern.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon emphasizes both Patek Philippe’s mastery of the minute repeater and the depth of its artisanal arsenal.

Full view of the back of the watch.

Now available in limited production (though not as a limited edition) without the initial model’s red-tinted accents, this chiming watch will undoubtedly attract serious collectors who seek both Patek Philippe’s technical acumen as well as its contemporary aesthetic combined into one highly complicated watch.

Price: Upon request.

 

Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon

Movement: Manual-wind 
Caliber R TO 27 PS minute repeater with classic gongs, tourbillon, small seconds, 365 parts, golden plate decorated with circular Geneva striping. Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations/hour 
(3 Hz) with a power reserve of 48 hours maximum.

Dial: Transparent sapphire, black hour circle with minute markers printed in white and golden powdered dots, pierced black lacquered leaf-shaped hands in white gold.

Case: 42mm by 12.13mm rose gold, white gold decorative inserts, humidity- and dust-protected only 
(not water-resistant), sapphire crystal case back, UV-protected sapphire crystal glass.

Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp

Price: Upon request.