The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062
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Five “Nicknamed” Watches Headline Phillips Bacs & Russo Geneva Auction Five, May 13, 14

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062. Bidding starts at $1.5-million.

Care for a “Double Swiss Underline” or a “Sydney Rose?” Don’t laugh: a watch important enough to have a nickname, no matter how silly it sounds, means it is adored by collectors and highly sought after on the secondary market. The Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo Geneva Auction Five has at least five such Grail pieces among the 237 lots to be auctioned in Geneva this coming weekend, May 13 and 14. (Not to mention some amazing pieces by Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre).

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062

  1. The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062, is the watch every collector wishes he had bought when it last came up for auction in 2002 – it sold for $235,000, the highest auction price paid for a Rolex at the time. But the investment would have been worth it. This time the bidding starts at $1.5-million. “This is the one of world’s most important collector’s watches, across all brands, not just Rolex,” says Paul Boutros, head of Americas and international strategy advisor for Phillips. “Made in 1952, it is a rare creation for Rolex.” The watch belonged to Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam, who bought it in 1954 in Geneva. Made in 1950, it is a rare creation for Rolex, with an iconic Oyster case and an in-house movement driving a triple date calendar and moon phase. It was one of the most complicated watches of its era and is one of only three made with a black dial and diamond indexes – the only one of which has diamond indexes for even numerals (the other two mark odd numerals with diamonds). The watch is in great, unrestored condition, with a case that has never been polished. This is the second time the Bao Dai has been up for auction at Phillips. It was sold in 2002 for $235,000 to a private collector who stands to make a windfall on May 13. Lot 93. Bidding starts at $1,500,000.
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, nicknamed the “Double Swiss Underline.”

The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, nicknamed the “Double Swiss Underline.”

  1. The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, nicknamed the “Double Swiss Underline” is a transitional piece in the coveted Daytona line. “Any time Rolex introduces a new model, they experiment with the design with many iterations until they find a configuration that they think is going to sell well. This is a very early iteration of the Daytona,” says Boutros. It is among the first Daytona watches ever created and represents the first series marked “Cosmograph” as well as the first Rolex chronograph with the tachymeter scale moved from the dial to the bezel. It is also the first to use contrasting subdials rather than monochrome. Rolex transitioned from the pre-Daytona 6238 to this model, the Daytona 6239 – in fact the caseback is marked 6238, as Rolex used leftover casebacks from previous models. The nickname, “Double Swiss Underline” comes from two distinctions on the dial; it has two Swiss designations, one barely peeking up above the bezel, and the other just above it at 6 o’clock (hence “Double Swiss”); and the underline beneath the Rolex Cosmograph signature signifies it used tritium instead of radium on the dial. In 1961, Swiss authorities banned the use of radium because it was so radioactive, so companies switched to tritium, which was much less radioactive. To signify the use of tritium in these early days, Rolex used an underline, but stopped using it in 1963-1964. A characteristic of early Daytonas fitted with “pump” pushers is that they were not designated as “Oyster” models, so they were not water resistant. It is therefore rare to find these early models in such well-preserved condition. Lot 234. Estimate $100,000-$200,000.

    “The Legend” is a rare yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, Ref. 6263.

    “The Legend” is a rare yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, Ref. 6263.

  1. The Legend” is a rare yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, Ref. 6263, one of only three ever made. It is called the Paul Newman Daytona because it was the model favored by the actor and race car driver, and distinguished by the arrangement of the subdials and the contrasting colored seconds hand scale along the periphery of the dial. It is called the Daytona because Rolex became the official timekeeper of the Daytona International Speedway in 1962, and so added the word “Daytona” to the Cosmograph reference. (“The Legend” was made in 1969). It is also distinctive for its screw-down pushers, as opposed to pump pushers, a change Rolex made to Daytona models starting in 1965 to make the watches water resistant. The “lemon” dial is another draw, contrasting the black subdials with creamy yellowed “square lollipop” markers and distinctive Art-Deco style font. “This is the rarest of the Paul Newmans because it’s an Oyster with screwdown pushers, with an Oyster dial and in yellow gold. It’s the first I’ve seen,” says Boutros, who no doubt had a hand in authoring this intro in the auction catalogue: “There are some watches so elusive and so mythical that they stun even the most seasoned and weary of collectors.” Lot 237. Estimate $793,000-$1,590,000.

    The “Sydney Rose” is a rare Patek Phillipe Ref. 2497, one of fewer than 20 made in rose gold.

    The “Sydney Rose” is a rare Patek Phillipe Ref. 2497, one of fewer than 20 made in rose gold.

  1. The “Sydney Rose” is a rare Patek Phillipe Ref. 2497, one of fewer than 20 made in rose gold, and a pure representation of the brand’s heritage as a master of perpetual calendars. It is an early model of the reference, made in 1954, with a large case for the era, at 37mm, and Arabic numerals. It is distinctive for its long flared and curved lugs – “If you lay it down on a surface it rises up like a piece of modern art,” gushes Boutros. It is the only one in the world with luminous hands. It is called the Sydney Rose because it was sold to a private collector in Australia. The woven gold Milanese bracelet is original. “The watch sat in a safe for five decades and is now being sold by the family of the original owner,” says Boutros. Lot 171. Estimate $396,000-793,000.
The T&Co. Ref. 2499 is notable for its dual-logo, with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial.

The T&Co. Ref. 2499 is notable for its dual-logo, with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial.

  1. The T&Co. Ref. 2499 is notable for its dual-logo with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial. It is one of only four references in its particular series to bear the Tiffany & Co. signature, and possibly unique in its use of markers rather than Arabic numerals. “In the world of vintage Rolex, the most desirable watches are Paul Newman Daytonas; in the world of vintage Patek Philippe, the most desirable models are perpetual calendar chronographs, especially the 2499,” says Boutros. Only 349 pieces of the Ref 2499 were made over a period of 34 years, which makes this watch exclusive. The yellow gold woven bracelet is signed Tiffany & Co. Lot 38. Estimate: $991,000-$1,980,000.

For more information and to view the online catalog for all 237 lots, please visit https://www.phillips.com/auctions

 

 

 

 

Baselworld 2017: Patek Philippe Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899-900G with flawless gems and a legendary caliber

Patek Philippe Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899-900G Calatrava.

Patek Philippe’s best men’s debuts at Baselworld 2017 – including the wonderful Ref. 5320 Perpetual Calendar – had to compete for the spotlight with the sensational Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899-900G Calatrava. I have seen many gem set watches from Patek with impressive carat content and perfectly executed setting, but never have I seen something this creative. It is spectacular without being over the top, which is pure Patek, and a loupe will tell you that it is set with perfect, perfectly-matched gemstones: 149 flawless diamonds and 182 pink sapphires in several shades, for a total aggregate weight of 4.35 carats. The background on the upper dial is natural pink mother-of-pearl, which is rare. It is also delicate, so it is a testament to the steady hand of the engraver that the mother-of-pearl is carved with feather motifs. Another subtle but exquisite detail is the engraving on the 18k gold hands, also to resemble feathers.

Patek Philippe Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899-900G Calatrava.

The movement is the ultra-thin automatic Caliber 240 with an integrated micro-rotor, silicon-based components and a 70-hour power reserve. Patek celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 240 this year. Remarkably, the movement was developed at the height of the quartz crisis in 1977, when men’s wristwatches were much smaller than they are today. Any movement developed at that time had to be slim to compete with the much smaller proportions made possible by quartz technology.

Automatic Caliber 240 in the Patek Philippe Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899-900G Calatrava.

Creating a slim automatic was a particular challenge. The key to keeping it slim was a small off-center rotor, recessed into the plate. The micro-rotor kept the 240 to the proportions of a manual-wound movement (it is 2.53mm thick), and today it is a mainstay of the slim Calatrava collection. It has also served as the base for several high complications, including the Celestial Ref.5102 and the World Time Ref. 5110, as well as several perpetual calendars. The Caliber 240 is used in three variations in new introductions this year from Patek Philippe, including the high jewelry Ref. 4899-900G – for which the 240 is perfect, allowing space for the gemsetter to work his magic.

Even the buckle is set.

Case side of the Patek Philippe Haute Joaillerie Ref. 4899-900G Calatrava. Perfectly integrated strap.

Baselworld 2017: Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G.

There are many reasons to love the Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G, introduced at Baselworld 2017: The stepped case, the claw lugs, the generous lume, the vintage font, the 40mm diameter, the cream-colored lacquer dial. It is firmly at the top of my list of men’s watches I’d love to own. The dial seems both retro and modern at the same time, with those elegantly readable Arabic numerals and detailed minute track. The watch was in fact inspired by Patek models from the 1940s and 1950s. Patek Philippe has created some 30 perpetual calendars in the past 90 years, beginning 1925 with Ref. 97-975, the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch – it resides in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. Beginning in 1941, the perpetual calendar with a Patek movement became a regular part of the company’s collection, establishing some of the brand’s signature design codes for that function, including the double window for day and month displays.

Plenty of lume on the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G.

Arabic numerals appeared on the original 1941 piece, but the 5320G has a font closer to a 1944 perpetual calendar, Ref. 1591, in a font that has not since been used on a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar; with a few exceptions, most have had simple straight markers or Roman numerals. On the 5320G, the large applied blackened-gold numerals with plenty of lume have a 3-D quality, sitting there on the dial like Stonehenge monuments that glow in the dark. The five-minute cabochons are also treated with luminous coating, as are the large hands, and overall that gives it almost the look of a sports watch. In fact, the fine-tipped baton hands are inspired by those on a Patek Philippe chronograph, Ref. 1463 from the 1950s. The 18k white gold case was inspired by the Ref. 2405 a Calatrava, from the 1940s with fluted sides and a complex, three-tiered lug profile. A greated nouvelle-vintage feature is the thin bezel with a boxed crystal, which we saw a lot of at Baselworld 2017. The crystal is dramatically cambered with parallel inner and outer sides to prevent optical distortion of the dial from any viewing angle. In the 1940s and 1950s, it would have been technically impossible to craft such a sapphire crystal to current quality standards. Back then, easily formable but highly scratchable Plexiglas was often used instead.

Clawed lugs and stepped case on the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G.

The lush, cream-colored lacquered dial has a small round day/night aperture between 7 and 8 o’clock and a round aperture for the leap year cycle with Arabic numerals from one to four between 4 and 5 o’clock.The caliber 324 SQ is an updated version of the self-winding Caliber 324, with a large central rotor in 21k gold that rests on ball bearings. Through the sapphire crystal caseback, you can see the decorated bridges with round-chamfered and polished edges, côtes de Genève striping and gold-filled engravings, polished screws, chamfered slots and polished countersinks. Its maximum rate deviation ranges between -3 and +2 seconds per day. It is priced at $82,784. I want this watch almost as much as the Haute Joaillerie Calatrava Ref. 4899-900G.

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 In Steel Is The World’s Most Expensive Watch at $11-million

Patek Philippe

Today’s Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo Geneva Watch Auction Four sale in Geneva set a new record for a wristwatch at auction. Bidding started at 3-million Swiss francs (US$3,034,000) for the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in stainless steel, a rare perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases. A little over 10 minutes later, the hammer went down at 9.6-million Swiss francs, approximately US$9.7-million. With the buyers’ premium included, the price comes to 11,002,000 Swiss francs, or US$11,136,642. This beats the previous record of 7.3-million Swiss francs (about US$7.38-million) paid for a wristwatch sold at auction last year – a Patek Philippe Ref. 5016, at the Only Watch charity auction in 2015. The Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 was the top lot in today’s sale and, according to Paul Boutros, head of watches for the Americas for Phillips Bacs & Russo, “a once in a lifetime event” for collectors. “I have waited a lifetime to see a 1518 in stainless steel,” he says. “It is number one of only four known to exist.” Made beginning in 1941, the 1518 was the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever to be produced in a series by any manufacturer. It is number one in a series of only four. Seven bidders were fighting for the watch. It was sold to a private collector.

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in rose gold.

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in rose gold.

Two other Patek Philippe Ref. 1518s, one in yellow gold and the other in rose gold, are also in the Phillips Bacs & Russo sale, which finishes tomorrow, marking the first time all three case metals of the model have been offered at auction. The yellow gold version sold today for 598,000 Swiss francs or just over US$600,000, slightly over the high estimate of US$515,000.

Patek Phlippe Ref. 1518 in 18k yellow gold.

Patek Phlippe Ref. 1518 in 18k yellow gold.

The rose gold Ref. 1518 sold for 1,474,000 Swiss francs (about US$1,478,000, or US$1,848,729.77 including the buyers’ premium). Another important watch, a rose gold Rolex Ref. 3330 “pre-Oyster” chronograph made in 1941 that had never been worn – nicknamed the “Perfect Rose” – sold for 598,000 Swiss francs, or US$599,712 – US$749,640 including the buyers’ premium.

Rolex Ref. 3330 “pre-Oyster” chronograph made in 1941: "Perfect Rose"

Rolex Ref. 3330 “pre-Oyster” chronograph made in 1941: “Perfect Rose”