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Highlights from the upcoming May watch auctions in Geneva

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In the coming days Geneva will host a number of important auctions of fine timepieces from Antiquorum, Christie's, Phillips and Sotheby's.

The number of lots is huge so here we can only highlight a few pieces - not necessarily the most important - and provide you with the links to the detailed on-line catalogue of each auction.

Sotheby’s Important Watches will open on Saturday May 14 at the Beaus Rivage Hotel and will offer 267 lots, including a very rare musical automaton clock, in the shape of a bird cage.

Lot 60 is a rare Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon in platinum featuring a multi-axis spherical tourbillon dominating the skeletonized dial with off-centre time display, Arabic numerals and subsidiary dial for the 24 hours. On the reverse side, the 50-hour power-reserve indication. A limited edition produced in 2009, this lot has an estimate of Swiss Francs 150,000 - 250,000.

The ultra-rare Rolex Dato Compax Reference 6036, a chronograph wristwatch with triple calendar, is also known as ‘Jean-Claude Killy’, from the name of the famous French ski racer and Rolex ambassador. Dating back to circa 1955, this watch features a silvered dial with applied gold lozenge-shaped indexes, three engine-turned subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour registers, twin apertures for day and month in English, outer chapter ring for date in blue with blued steel date hand and gold ‘Alpha’ hands. The yellow gold case has a diameter of 36 mm. Estimate of lot 104 is Swiss Francs 100,000 - 150,000.

Important Watches
14 May 10am CEST, Beau-Rivage Hotel

On May 14 at the Hotel La Réserve, Phillips will offer 88 stainless steel chronographs in the "Start-Stop-Reset" dedicated auction. Together with timepieces with estimates in the one million Swiss Francs range, there are several interesting lots at accessible prices.

Lot 2 is a beautiful Eterna chronograph in a 36 mm stainless steel two-piece case framing a silvered dial featuring a concentric blue tachometer scale around the dial’s center and a red telemeter scale along the outer rim. Powered by a Valjoux hand-wound movement, the watch was produced in 1940s and has an estimate of Swiss Francs 8,000 - 16,000.

Nicknamed in Italian "Doppia Lancetta", which means "double hand", the Longines Reference 5699 (lot 9) stands out with its considerable case size, measuring 39.5 mm in diameter, pretty large for a watch designed in 1947. Fitted with the in-house manual calibre 13ZN, reference 5699 features two additional, centrally mounted hands on the dial, both controlling different functions of the watch. The dial layout suppresses the minute register and instead replaces it with a centrally mounted red hand, which counts the minutes that have elapsed. Estimate: Swiss Francs 40,000 - 80,000.

Lot 75 is a Patek Philippe reference 1579 in a large 36 mm stainless steel case featuring unusual lugs in the shape of briolette diamonds. The matte silver dial is fitted with applied white gold Arabic and square-facetted hour markers and an outer tachometer scale. Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming the date of production of the present watch in 1954 and its subsequent sale in 1956. It furthermore states that during a servicing at the firm’s workshops in 1989, the present stainless steel case was added. Estimate: Swiss Francs 450,000 - 900,000.

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs
14 May 6pm CEST, Hotel La Réserve

The day after, Phillips will hold a second auction called "The Geneva Watch Auction: Three" with 138 lots from many of the major watchmaking brands.

Lot 135 is a wristwatch of great beauty, a Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 530 produced in 1941. Housed in a stainless steel 36.5 mm case, this example is fitted with a black dial adorned with Breguet numerals and, according to Phillips, it is the only one of its kind to exist in the world. In pristine, virtually unworn condition, this reference 530 is for the first time presented at a watch auction. Estimate: Swiss Francs 300,000 - 600,000

The A. Lange Söhne Tourbillon "Pour le Mérite" was produced from 1994 to 1998, in limited editions of 150 pieces in 18k gold, 50 in platinum and 1 in stainless steel. Among the most prestigious and collectible of all wristwatches ever produced by A. Lange & Söhne, this watch utilizes a chain and fusée to control the equalization of power and optimize the rate accuracy.
On this occasion Phillips presents a platinum example produced in 1995 which bears the number 38 of 50. The estimate of lot 159 is Swiss Francs 200,000 - 400,000.

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE
15 May 6pm CEST, Hôtel La Réserve

Also on May 15, Antiquorum will hold its Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel presenting 478 timepieces, including a rarely seen Patek Philippe Ref. 3651 and an exceptional selection of pocket watches from several leading brands.

One of them is lot 225, the Urban Jurgensen & Sonner Twin Barrel Tourbillon Power Reserve pocket watch designed by Derek Pratt in 1980. Derek Pratt (1938-2009) is considered one of the geniuses of the world of horology of our times. A close friend of George Daniels, he was intensely involved in the development of the co-axial escapement and developed the thin version of the escapement as well as a number of wheels for George Daniels watches. The present lot is a great example of his attention to detail and an important testament to his genius. Estimate: Swiss Francs 50,000 – 70,000.

One of the most beautiful grande complication wristwatches ever created, the IWC Grand Complication Reference 377017 on sale at this auction as lot 439 is the example number 5 of a 50-piece limited edition in platinum produced in 2006. Its self-winding movement offers the following functions: minute-repeating, chronograph, secular perpetual calendar, moon phases. Estimate: Swiss Francs 60,000 – 80,000.

Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces
15 May 11am CEST, Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Finally, on Monday May 16, Christie’s Rare Watches Including Important Private Collections will feature 273 lots from three important private collections, offering a wide range of vintage pieces and modern watches.

The sale will be led by the exceptional and historically important lot 123, the Breguet No. 217 "montre perpétuelle à répétition à quantième de mois et dates et équation, échappement libre à ancre", a gold self-winding à toc quarter repeating lever watch with sectoral equation of time, day and month calendar and sectoral power-reserve indication. Signed Breguet et Fils, it was sold in Germinal an 8 (1800) to Général Moreau for the sum of 3,600 Francs, then resold to Charles-Louis Havas, founder of Agence France-Presse (AFP) in 1817 for 4,800 Francs. The estimate of this probably unique timepiece is Swiss Francs 600,000 – 1,200,000.

Lot 272 is a rare stainless steel automatic Rolex wristwatch with "Explorer Dial". Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, this reference 6200 model dates back to circa 1954 and features a black matte dial with luminous baton and Arabic numerals, luminous Mercedes hands, and sweep centre seconds. The 37 mm water-resistant case is enhanced by a bi-directional revolving black bezel calibrated for 60 units. Due to its rarity, this lot has an estimate of Swiss Francs 100,000 – 200,000.

Rare Watches Including Important Private Collections 
May 16 10am CEST, Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues

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