Sotheby’s Launches Watch Auctions in the Middle East

To be held in Dubai on 19 November 2018, Sotheby’s first ever watch auction in the Middle East will be highlighted by rare vintage collectors’ timepieces and contemporary watches revolutionizing traditional watchmaking.

The Middle East is a major market for luxury watches since long time. Watch collecting has a long tradition in the Middle East, from the richly-enamelled pocket watches prized by the Ottoman Empire’s elites in the 18th and 19th centuries to the masterpieces of horology and bespoke timepieces commissioned by Middle Eastern collectors in the 20th century. Today, demand for rare vintage and modern pieces in the region is at an all-time high and Middle Eastern collectors have never been as active in Sotheby’s international watch sales as in recent years.

The sale, to take place in Sotheby’s Dubai premises on 19 November, has been carefully curated to feature a rich selection of fresh-to-the market contemporary and vintage timepieces from the world’s most renowned brands including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin.

Highly sought-after by savvy collectors around the world, independent watchmakers, such as Richard Mille, Kari Voutilainen, MB&F and HD3 also figure prominently, with cutting-edge timepieces which revolutionise traditional watchmaking. Further highlights include unique pieces, luxurious diamond-studded watches by Breguet and Chopard and pristine limited editions which are sure to captivate established and new collectors alike.

Rare Vintage Timepieces

In recent years, prices for high-end vintage timepieces have achieved unprecedented levels, especially for hard-to-find pieces by brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe. Among such watches in the sale is a fresh-to-the market Rolex Daytona reference 6263 from circa 1973.

Coming from the family of its original owner – an Engineer who served with the British Armed Forces, this stainless steel chronograph is an outstanding example of one of the most sought-after references for a Rolex Daytona, the “vintage wristwatch par excellence” (est. US$ 35,000 – 55,000).

A tour de force of illusion, blending mind-boggling technology with the mastery of Cartier’s craftsmanship and design skills, “Mystery Clocks” have been coveted by collectors around the world for over a century. Time on these bejeweled art pieces appears to float magically in the air, indicated by two rotating crystal disks that suspend the hour hand and minute hand. From the perspective of the viewer, the clock mysteriously operates without any mechanical means.

Following the legendary Art Deco creations from the 1920s, Cartier revisited the iconic design and created modern masterpieces in the 1980s. Dating from circa 1990, the Mystery clock in the sale belongs to that later series. Possibly unique, this yellow gold, black obsidian, diamond, mother-of-pearl and crystal-set “Pendule Mystérieuse” is evocative of the timeless elegance of Eastern cultures (est. US$ 190,000 – 260,000).

Modern Complicated Watches

Modern complicated wristwatches also feature strongly in the sale. Among them is a unique Royal Oak Grande Complication from 2002 which has never been offered at auction before (est. US$400,000 – 600,000). Audemars Piguet is considered master of minute repeaters and grande complication watches and, since Gerald Genta created it in 1972, the Royal Oak has become emblematic of the brand.

Adorned with diamonds, blue sapphire and mother pearl throughout the case, dial and integrated bracelet, this Grande Complication is driven by a caliber 2885 which is comprised of 648 parts, all hand crafted in-house by Audemars Piguet’s master watchmakers.

Cutting-Edge Timepieces by Independent Watchmakers

In recent years, independent watchmakers have become the stars of the auction market, regularly breaking records with their hand-crafted watches, featuring innovative functionality, technology and groundbreaking materials.

Richard Mille who is credited for having single-handily reinvented watchmaking in the 21st century is represented in the sale by a group of three watches. Two of them are limited editions from 2015, made in honour of the Brazilian Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa and testament to Mille’s use of techniques and materials found in the most innovative sectors, such as F1 racing car development. The first, a RM0011 Felipe Massa China, is a pink gold and black ceramic semiskeletonized flyback chronograph wristwatch with calendar – an example of the most iconic reference created by Mille to this day (est. USD 90,000 – 160,000).

The second, a RM004 Felipe Massa is a titanium semi-skeletonized split-seconds chronograph, equipped with the caliber RM004-V2 especially designed for the intensive environments of Formula 1 racing (est. US$ 110,000 – 170,000).

The third watch by the Swiss watchmaker is a reference RM002 in white gold from 2007 which not only features a manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, power reserve, torque indicator and function selector but also incorporates technology such as modular time setting mechanism and carbon nanofiber baseplate to provide longevity and reliability for the watch (est. US$ 150,000 – 225,000).

The “Horological Machines” from the Swiss brand MB&F (Maximilian Busser and Friends), turn traditional watchmaking of the highest craftsmanship into futuristic, fiercely unconventional timekeeping machines: the elements of a traditional wristwatch are re-engineered in order to produce a new kind of time-telling device. As many of MB&F’s pieces, the HM6 limited edition in pink gold, circa 2016 in the sale celebrates children’s imagination: it was inspired by the 1980s Japanese cartoon Captain Future (est. US$100,000 – 200,000).

Please find more information, please visit Sothby’s Watch Auction Dubai 2018 page .

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