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The Geneva Watch Auction XIII by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo – Highlights

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has announced the highlights of its Geneva Watch Auction: XIII, which is to be held on 8 to 9 May, 2021.

The selection is led by important watches from Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, F.P. Journe and Roger Smith. The list also includes exceptional mechanical timepieces from venerable brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Zenith, Longines, IWC, Urwerk, De Bethune and MB&F.


Patek Philippe Reference 2499 Full Set

Patek Phillipe’s iconic reference 2499 perpetual calendar chronograph set the blue print for perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatches some 40 or so years before this complication was made on a regular basis by other brands, making this reference one of, if not, the most influential and relevant horological references of the second half of the 20th century.

It is always an event when a Patek Philippe reference 2499 appears on the market, especially the earlier 1st and 2nd series models, but to see all four series appear in one auction is extraordinary.

The 1st series was purchased in 2008 and is one of only 23 examples in yellow gold with Wenger case known so far. The 2nd series is one of the ultra-rare examples in pink gold, of which only nine examples are known. The watch was purchased in the early 1960s in the north of Germany and remained in the same family until 2010 when it was offered at auction for the first time. The current owner purchased it directly from the buyer at that auction, so this is a “Three owners since new” watch. It is highly unusual but perfectly appropriate that the watch comes with a German calendar.

The 3rd series last appeared on the market in 2004 and is one of the earliest examples known. It stands out with its full hard enamel dial, a feature that was fading out in the late 1960s and that collectors immensely appreciate today.

The 4th series is from 1985, the last year of production for this reference, and features a rather unusual German calendar. It is only one of six examples known of this series with German calendar.

These four masterpieces share a number of things in common – not only their rarity and impeccable condition – but subtle details that set them apart from their peers, such as Italian or German calendar discs or rare German hallmarks on the caseback of the 2nd series.

The four series of the reference 2499 can generally be divided as follows:

– 1st series: Square chronograph buttons, applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale
– 2nd series: Round chronograph buttons, either applied baton or applied Arabic numerals and tachometer scale
– 3rd series: Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals and outer seconds divisions
– 4th series: Round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal.

Patek Philippe Yellow Gold Reference 2523, Featuring Cloisonné Enamel Dial with Eurasian map

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is offering the earliest made and previously unknown Patek Philippe yellow gold reference 2523 with cloisonné enamel dial, representing the Eurasian landmass. Estimated in excess of CHF 3.5 million, the watch is a leading highlight of The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII.

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Recently discovered in an important European collection, this timepiece is a time capsule, depicting an immaculate polychrome cloisonné enamel dial, rendered in fantastical hues of marine blue, gold, green and turquoise.

Of the eleven reference 2523 known with cloisonné enamel dials, five feature North America, three feature South America and three Eurasia. Of the three examples featuring the European and Asian continents, one is in the Patek Philippe museum, the other in a prominent private collection and the present, newly discovered example, fresh to the auction market.

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Reference 2523 was first launched in 1953 and features a 36mm case, with two crowns and a city ring, which 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.

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It has been close to two decades since the last reference 2523 with Eurasian map has appeared on the market.

Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Split Seconds Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, Reference 5004

Next in the list is an incredibly rare and important stainless steel split seconds perpetual calendar wristwatch, reference 5004, offered without reserve (CHF 200,000 – 400,000).

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One of the most important variants of the reference, it is said that only 50 examples were ever made in stainless steel upon discontinuation of the reference, with only six of them ever having graced the auction market. So rare is this version that the model never officially made it into any Patek Philippe catalogue and was reserved only for the brand’s very top clients and available upon application.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar, Reference 3448

Further impressive timepieces include a series of automatic perpetual calendar wristwatches, such as a reference 3448 in white gold with light grey dial and original bracelet (CHF 200,000 – 400,000).

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Patek Philippe Split Seconds Chronograph, Reference 5950

In terms of modern watches, the sale presents an incredibly rare and attractive split seconds chronograph wristwatch, reference 5950, in pink gold with pink dial and limited to 15 pieces, marking the first time this configuration is available on the auction market (CHF 200,000 – 400,000).

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Rolex Reference 6036

The selection of Rolex timepieces includes specimens rarely seen on the market. Of particularly rarity and importance is a stainless steel reference 6036, retailed by Joyeria Riviera (CHF 150,000 – 250,000). Originally consigned by the first owner at auction over a decade ago and reappearing only once more since, it remains in extremely attractive and original condition and is one among a handful of Killys with this retailer-stamped dial.

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Few retailers have had the opportunity to stamp their name on Rolex timepieces, and doing so was an honor. Together with storied institutions such as Tiffany & Co., Asprey, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, Joyeria Riviera signed their name on watches, which remain favourites amongst collectors due to their exclusivity and aesthetic flair.

The flamboyant loops and curves of the Joyeria Riviera signature are particularly beautiful and when such prestigious watches appear on the market, they are not to be missed.

Rolex Platinum Day-Date, Reference 1831

A particularly rare and important timepiece is the platinum reference 1831, the exclusive – and elusive – automatic platinum Day-Date that is fitted in an Oyster Quartz case (CHF 140,000 – 280,000). In fact, the reference can be considered the most mystical among all Day-Dates ever produced.

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The reference 1831 was probably manufactured in 1977, exclusively for the Shah of Iran. The watches were gifted to His Majesty’s most distinguished dignitaries, and members of his close circle. Research suggests that the model was released in eight examples only, with each watch cased exclusively in platinum. The present watch offered is engraved No 001 to the case back. Most likely, it was the first within the batch to be released, further highlighting its importance and rarity in the collecting sphere.

Rolex Daytona Paul Newman

A number of stainless steel Daytona “Paul Newmans” are also available, ranging from a reference including a 6241 with ivory dial (CHF 120,000 – 220,000).

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Rolex Submariner Reference 5513

Another noteworthy stainless steel timepiece is a Submariner reference 5513 with “explorer” underline dial (CHF 100,000 – 200,000).

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Preserved in extremely original condition and with its factory sticker still intact, the watch displays a beautiful glossy gilt dial with double “- T <25” inscriptions at 6 o’clock, along with the famous “3, 6 and 9” in luminous Arabic numerals.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has compiled one of its largest and most comprehensive series of Royal Oaks available at auction to date.

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Highlights include a “B” series reference 5402 (CHF 40,000 – 80,000). Additionally, there are a number of complicated Royal Oaks, including a platinum and pink gold skeletonized perpetual calendar wristwatch, one of only 25 pieces ever made (CHF 60,000 – 120,000).

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Two early E-series Royal Oak Offshore “Beasts” are present as well, with one in stainless steel (CHF 20,000 – 40,000) and another in yellow gold (CHF 40,000 – 70,000).

Richard Mille RM022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Red-White-Blue Limited Edition

An important Richard Mille is to be offered – a RM022, the Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Red-White-Blue Limited Edition with warranty and presentation box (CHF 250,000 – 500,000). Made of quartz TPT and carbon TPT, the watches were released in three series, with 10 piece each in red, white or blue.

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The case of this incredible timepiece is made from ultra-strong and light quartz TPT while the middle is made from carbon TPT. In order to create the bright red case, thin fibers of quartz with a thickness of no more than 45 microns were first aligned and saturated in colored resins, and then heated and subjected to a pressure of 6 bar before being machined.

F.P. Journe and Harry Winston Tourbillon

A major highlight from the Independent watchmaking arena is the Harry Winston Opus One with tourbillon in platinum (CHF 150,000 – 300,000), made in collaboration with F.P. Journe.

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During his time as CEO of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in the early 2000s, Max Büsser launched the Opus Series. Teaming up with young independent watchmakers, Harry Winston’s collaborative project created watches that combined both the genetic codes of Harry Winston and each watchmaker, gifting the world some of the most unusual, fascinating and complex timepieces to ever see the light of day.

The very first Opus project was launched in 2001 – Büsser had partnered with F.P. Journe to create the Opus 1, which also demonstrated Büsser’s vision of the future. The result was not one, but three models housing Journe’s signature creations: the Octa with power reserve display, the Chronomètre à Resonance and the present Tourbillon with Remontoire d’Egalité.

Roger Smith Series 1 “Theo Fennell”

Appearing on the auction market for the very first time is a Series 1 “Theo Fennell” in white gold by Roger Smith (CHF 40,000 – 80,000).

The Series 1 represents Smith’s very first indelible mark in the world of Independent Watchmaking. Launched in 2001, the Series 1 was Smith’s very first series of timepieces. Impressed by A. Lange & Söhne’s Arkade model, Smith decided to create a rectangular case housing a rectangular movement.

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Heavily inspired by Daniel’s work, the watch displays an intricate guilloché dial, retrograde date and a rectangular movement with typical English finishes, such as frosted and gilded plates, gold chatons and heat-colored screws. Of the nine rectangular Series 1s ever made, three of them were part of the “ONELY” series commissioned by celebrated London jeweler Theo Fennell.

Auction details

Date: 8 – 9 May 2021
Place: Hôtel La Réserve, 301 Route de Lausanne, Geneva

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