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Three highlights from Antiquorum, Christie's and Sotheby's May auctions

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In the past days Antiquorum, Christie's and Sotheby's offered important watches in three auctions held in Geneva. Not necessarily the most expensive lots, we highlight below three rare and special timepieces.

Antiquorum: Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces - 10 May 2015

An ultra complicated Leroy yellow gold pocket watch powered by a Louis Audemars movement and featuring eleven complications realised Swiss Francs 351,750 (estimate Swiss Francs 150,000 - 250,000). Complications include two-time-zone, minute-repeating, perpetual calendar, jumping center-seconds split-seconds chronograph, moon phases and age, Réaumur thermometer. The precious white enamel dial features two meantime sub-dials at 9 and 3 with radial Roman numerals, outermost chronograph ring with Arabic five-second numerals, subsidiary dials for the date, days of the week, the months of the four-year cycle combined with seconds and fifths of a second diablotine, aperture for the moon phases with moon`s age on the edge, Rèaumur thermometer beneath.

Not only ultra-complicated, the watch is also very important because it was a present that King Alphonse XIII (1886-1941) of Spain made to Count Vicente Santamaria de Paredes in 1920. A Spanish lawyer and politician, Vicente Santamaria de Paredes (1853-1924) served as tutor and professor in law and social sciences to King Alphonse XIII , with particular reference to constitutional, administrative and international law, political economy and finance.

Christie's: Important Watches - 11 May 2015

Exceptional for rarity and quality, an Audemars Piguet Reference 5528 minute repeating wristwatch was sold for the amount of Swiss Francs 605,000 / US$ 641,905 / Euro 575,355 to the Auemars Piguet Museum (the estimate was Swiss Francs 150,000 - 250,000). This rare example features a 38 mm gold case with repeating slide in the band, a silvered matte dial with applied gold triangular-shaped and Arabic numerals and a small seconds sub-dial.

Its movement was produced around 1885 and sold in 1889 as pendent watch to return back to the workshops of Audemars Piguet in 1904. Around March 1921 it left the factory again in an Art Deco style case. In 1951 it was finally transformed into the present wristwatch which was completely restored by Audemars Piguet in 2014. Given the complex and costly manufacture of minute repeating movements, it is common practice for a watch manufacturer to upgrade and reuse existing calibres.

According to the archives of Audemars Piguet, only two other examples of a reference 5528 are believed to exist. Audemars Piguet produced only 47 of such small minute repeating movements between 1882 and 1900.

Sotheby's: Important Watches - 13 May 2015 

A Patek Philippe Nautilus in stainless steel ref. 3700/1 with a ribbed white prototype dial made in 1978 was sold to a private collector for the amount of Swiss Francs 250,000 smashing the initial estimate of Swiss Francs 30,000 - 50,000. The original black dial was also delivered with the watch.

The extract from the Patek Philippe archives confirms the case as a prototype. Reference 3700/1 was equipped with calibre 28-255 C based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre ebauche, a really thin automatic movement for that time. Both white and black dials were hand made by the Stern Freres dial factory.

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