Christie’s Presents Watches Online: The Marvel(ous) Sale, 24 August – 7 September 2021

Christie’s Hong Kong has kick-started an online auction named The Marvel(ous) Sale since 24 August. This online bidding will be active until 7 September. The star lot of the sale is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon, the first example to be offered for sale at auction globally.

It is worth to note that a one-off version of the same model, created to raise funds for two charities, First Book and Ashoka, sold for US$ 5.2 million, making it the most expensive Audemars Piguet model ever sold.


(1) LOT 46 – The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon was unveiled at a star-studded event in April 2021. Its release followed the announcement that the esteemed Manufacture from Le Brassus and Marvel would be collaborating moving forward.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon

Audemars Piguet unveiled the first Royal Oak Concept watch in 2002, marking the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking Royal Oak. Conceived by the illustrious designer Gérald Genta and in its day considered avant-garde, when the Manufacture unveiled the inaugural Royal Oak Concept Ref 25980/D003, it looked positively space age by comparison.

This latter model, limited to 150 pieces, was endowed with an unusual power-reserve indicator displaying units around the circumference of the barrel. Other indications included a function selector and dynamograph. Lastly, the model featured a tourbillon, positioned at 9 o’clock. This watch embraced bold, avant-garde styling, characteristics that would be repeated on several occasions with the advent of further Royal Oak Concept models.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon

When Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon it perpetuated the revolutionary design of former Royal Oak Concept models. Its hand-painted white gold 3D Black Panther character, unconventional and elaborate titanium bridges as well as extensive use of vivid purple tones polarised opinion both in the media and among the watch collecting community. Estimate: HKD 3,000,000– 5,000,000 / US$ 380,000– 650,000.

(2) LOT 45 – Audemars Piguet Tropical Dial Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST

Audemars Piguet Tropical Dial Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST ‘A Series’ is much sought after by watch collectors and is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. This particular example is particularly rare as it features a highly desirable ‘tropical’ dial.

Audemars Piguet Tropical Dial Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST

Consistent with other steel ‘A Series’ models, the AP logo is positioned in the lower portion of the dial, located between the 9th and 11th line. The correct ‘SWISS’ text is stamped and sits below the index at 6 o’clock.

With the passage of time, the black dial has acquired unique areas of bronze-gold hues. When released, Audemars Piguet produced 2000 examples of the ‘A Series’ before it progressed to making the ‘B Series’. This particular example is 843/2000. Estimate: HKD 400,000–800,000 / US$ 50,000– 100,000.

The other interesting Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches featured in this auction are two white gold, diamond-set ladies’ quartz watches (circa 1990 and 1997), a stainless steel 38mm triple calendar with yellow dial (circa 1990), an 18k yellow gold 30mm quartz watch with date (circa 1985) and a 36.5mm stainless steel automatic model with blue dial featuring dual time, power reserve and date (circa 2004).

(3) LOT 96 – Gérald Genta Minute Repeater with Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minutes

This rare Gérald Genta watch has an eye-catching green guilloché dial and platinum case with a distinctive ribbed profile. The model pairs one of the most technically challenging complications, a minute repeater, with two indications often associated with Mr Genta, jumping hours and retrograde minutes.

Gérald Genta Minute Repeater with Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minutes

The minutes are presented on an arcing track. A lone hand sweeps clockwise from ‘0’ to ‘60’, before returning to its point of origin as the jumping hour, shown at 6 o’clock, advances forward. This particular composition expresses meaning with a notable flurry of style. Estimate: HKD 400,000–800,000 / US$ 50,000– 100,000.

Christie’s Hong Kong is also offering two more Gérald Genta masterpieces dating back to 1990.

The first one is an automatic perpetual calendar with moonphase wristwatch featuring a 33mm diameter round case made of 18K yellow gold and Onyx. It has a skeleton dial with centre hour and minute hands, three sub-dials in 18K gold for displaying perpetual calendar functions and a lapis lazuli sub-dial for moonphase display.

The second model is also a Gérald Genta automatic perpetual calendar moonphase watch with the similar dial style mentioned above, but with a 31mm diameter octagonal-shaped 18K yellow gold case.

(4) LOT 2 – Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus with Date Ref. 5711/1A-001

First released in 1976, this iconic luxury-sports watch has attracted numerous column inches and discussions relating to rocketing resale values pervade the collecting community. Moreover, with several references now discontinued, the pre-owned route is the only means of acquiring a coveted reference from yesteryear.

Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus with Date Ref. 5711/1A-001

Housed in a 40mm stainless steel case with a black/blue dial the watch is equipped with an automatic movement and integrated stainless steel bracelet. Estimate: HKD 650,000 – 950,000 / US$ 85,000– 125,000.

(5) LOT 20 – Patek Philipe Chronograph Ref. 1579R with original certificate

This exquisite timepiece is housed in a pink gold case. With only 82 known examples of the Ref. 1579R produced in pink gold, this particular watch is very rare, and both gold marks remain visible. The watch is endowed with so-called ‘spider lugs’ and the dial exhibits a charming mellow aged appearance.

Patek Philipe Chronograph Ref. 1579R

The two registers are encircled by applied pink gold Arabic numerals and square indexes. Unusually, the watch is supplied with the original ‘Certificate of Origin’. Estimate: HKD 1,300,000–2,000,000 / US$ 165,000– 250,000.

(6) LOT 1: Patek Philipe Platinum Minute Repeater Tourbillon Ref. 3939

This lot is possibly a unique Platinum Minute Repeater Tourbillon (ref. 3939) watch from Patek Philipe.  Surprisingly, despite such complexity, the platinum case measures a modest 34mm in diameter. The enamel dial is dressed in black while the hours are denoted with white gold Breguet numerals. This latter combination differentiates this specific example from the ‘standard’ versions of the Ref. 3939 which came with a white enamel dial.

Patek Philipe Platinum Minute Repeater Tourbillon Ref. 3939

Indeed, this model, crafted in 1999, is believed to be one of only a few specimens equipped with a black dial. The ‘Certificate of Origin’ makes reference to the ‘émail noir’. Estimate: HKD 1,000,000–2,000,000 / US$ 130,000– 230,000.

(7) LOT 21 – Patek Philipe Platinum with Date Ref. 3445

Typically this reference was presented in a white or yellow gold case. However, this particular example is housed in platinum, making it one of the rarest and most coveted versions of the Ref. 3445. Its slender hour and minute hands perfectly harmonize with baton style indexes. The watch has a date display at 3 o’clock,  and a small seconds above 6 o’clock.

Patek Philipe Platinum with Date Ref. 3445

The watch is equipped with the Caliber 27-460, an automatic movement produced by Patek Philippe and finished to the exacting standards of the Geneva Seal. Estimate: HKD 400,000–650,000 / US$ 50,000– 85,000.

In addition to the above lots, the other notable Patek Philipe wristwatches featured in this auction are:

  • A Steel Calatrava Pilot Travel Time (reference 7234) made to celebrate the Singapore Grand Exhibition 2019.
  • A stainless steel Annual Calendar Chronograph (ref. 5960) circa 2016.
  • An 18K Yellow Gold Calatrava (ref. 2508) dating back to 1959.
  • An Aquanaut 34mm Automatic stainless steel model with black dial (reference 5060 A, circa 1998).
  • An 18K Yellow Gold Annual Calendar with power reserve and moonphase (reference 5146/1J-001, circa 2008).
  • An 18K white gold and diamond-set, hand-wound time-only watch, circa 1990 (reference 3965/1).
  • A Manual-winding Calatrava Platinum time-only watch with an ivory-colored dial and diamond hour-markers, circa 1992 (reference 3796).
  • An 18K Yellow Gold Automatic Annual Calendar with 24H display (reference 5035) and white ceramic dial, circa 2004.

(8) LOT 177 – Rolex Ref. 8171 ‘Padellone’

This impressive pink gold example of the legendary Ref. 8171 ‘Padellone’ is one of only six examples to feature the ‘HL Mark II Officially Certified Chronometer’ type dial.

Rolex Ref. 8171 ‘Padellone’

Indeed, only about 350 pieces were produced in pink gold over a 3 year period, and it is estimated that a mere 32 examples have appeared on the open market in the last 70 years. The case measures 38mm in diameter, which was considered large when it was produced.

The watch is equipped with dauphine-style hour and minute hands, lapped bullet-style indexes, a small seconds display above 6 o’clock and pointer-style date indication. Two calendar windows sit beneath the ‘tall’ Rolex crown. Estimate: HKD 1,200,000 – 2,000,000 / US$ 150,000– 250,000.

In addition to this watch, more than 30 Rolex watches are being offered in this auction. Some noteworthy lots among them are:

  • An 18K yellow gold Submariner with automatic movement and tropical brown dial (reference 1680), circa 1979.
  • A white gold Daytona automatic chronograph with diamond and ruby set dial (reference 116509), circa 2009.
  • A stainless steel Submariner Date with 39mm diameter case, automatic movement, and tropical MK-II dial, circa 1969.
  • A two-tone (stainless and steel) Oyster chronograph with 34.5mm case, manual-wound movement and silvered dial, circa 1938.
  • A GMT Master with 39mm stainless steel case, automatic movement and gilt dial (reference 1675), circa 1965 (the same reference but made in 1966 is also available).
  • An Explorer watch with 36mm stainless steel case, automatic movement and tropical dial with chapter ring, circa 1960.
  • An 18K pink gold Day-date with 36mm diameter case, automatic movement, silvered dial with diamond markers (reference 1803), circa 1974.
  • An Explorer II with 40mm diameter stainless steel case, automatic movement and cream rail dial (reference 16550), circa 1986.
  • An 18K yellow gold Day-date with 36mm diameter case, automatic movement and diamond-paved dial (reference 18038), circa 1981.
  • An 18K Yellow Gold Submariner with 40mm diameter case, automatic movement and black dial (reference 16618), circa 1991.
  • A Stainless Steel Daytona Automatic Chronograph with 39mm diameter case and white dial (reference 116500), circa 2018.
  • An 18K Pink Gold Daytona Chronograph with 40mm case, automatic movement and golden dial (reference 116505), circa 2009.
  • An 18K Yellow Gold Day Date with 36mm case, Lapis Lazuli dial, automatic movement and 18K president bracelet, circa 1997.
  • A Stainless steel Submariner with 39mm diameter case, automatic movement, tropical gilt dial and pointed crown guard (reference 5512), circa 1960.

(9) LOT 152 – Roger Dubuis White Gold Double Tourbillon

This version of the Excalibur Double Tourbillon has been produced and finished to the exalted standards of the Geneva Seal. The open-worked hour and minute hands are positioned above a mother-of-pearl dial.

Roger Dubuis White Gold Double Tourbillon

An arc-shaped minute track, positioned between 9 and 3 o’clock, provides the basis for the unusual retrograde minutes display. Two flying tourbillons reside at the base of the dial and are framed with silver-coloured circlets. Unlike a ‘conventional’ tourbillon, a flying tourbillon eschews an upper bridge/bar, affording superior views of the escapement, regulating organ and cage in motion.

The two flying tourbillons are linked by a differential, augmenting precision. Housed in a white gold case, this model was produced in a limited series of 28 pieces (this example is No. 9/28). Roger Dubuis, a fully integrated Manufacture. The estimate for this example is HKD 240,000-400,000 / US$ 30,000–50,000.

More highlights:

  • Lot 138: Panerai limited edition titanium watch with tourbillon, dual time and AM/PM indication, circa 2017.
  • Lot 51: Blancpain Platinum hand-wound watch with skeletonised dial and a set of 9 bezels, circa 1994.
  • Lot 54: Breguet Yellow Gold Automatic Tourbillon Regulator watch, Ref. 5307, circa 2005.
  • Lot 85: CORUM 18K White Gold Quarter Repeater with automaton, automatic movement by CHRISTOPHE CLARET, circa 1995.
  • Lot 107: HYT Iceberg limited edition with titanium case and white dial with retrograde blue fluid hours and power reserve, circa 2014.
  • Lot 53: Breguet 18K White Gold manual-wound watch With Dual Time and Day/Night Indication, Ref. 7067, circa 2014.
  • Lot 55: Breguet Reine De Naples automatic watch with 18k white gold and diamond-set case and mother-of-pearl-dial, circa 2000.
  • Lot 141: Piaget hand-wound watch with Yellow gold, Onyx and diamond case and bracelet, gold dial, circa 1991.
  • Lot 121: Longines 18K Yellow Gold, manual-winding chronograph with 37mm case and silver dial, circa 1937.
  • Lot 128: Moritz Grossmann Stainless Steel with Hand Painted Dial displaying a tiger, circa 2019.


During this auction, Christie’s is offering a number of Haute Joaillerie pieces. The first timepiece (lot 82) is a white gold Chopard bracelet watch set with diamonds and emeralds (Est. HKD 320,000 – 650,000 / US$ 40,000 – 85,000).

Chopard bracelet watch

The second watch (lot 140) is a dazzling creation from Piaget set with 94 brilliant and marquise-cut white diamonds with a total weight of 16 carats along with 43 rubies totalling 16.68 carats. This Piaget masterpiece, part of the Maison’s haute joaillerie collection, is in exceptional condition and is supplied with the original Piaget Certificate of Origin. Estimate: HKD 650,000–1,200,000 / US$ 85,000–150,000.

Piaget high jewellery watch

Three Vacheron Constantin high-jewellery watches are also available. Dressed in a white gold case, these timepieces can be distinguished by their gem-setting combination: ‘diamond with emerald’, ‘diamond with ruby’ and ‘diamond with sapphire’.

Another high-jewellery lot featured in this auction is a set of Patek Philippe Lady’s yellow gold and lapis lazuli and diamond-set bracelet watch with matching ring and earrings.

Click here to view the lots curated for the The Marvel(ous) Sale ONLINE auction.

Info and Image credit: Christie’s Hong Kong