Andy Warhol’s Patek Philippe is up for auction at a surprisingly low estimateThor Svaboe
The 2021 auction season has seen highs and lows, marked by a lack of physical attendance in the auction halls due to COVID and a tendency towards conservative estimates to ensure that projections are broken. But excitement is mounting ahead of Christie’s closing auction before the summer, with Andy Warhol’s Patek Philippe being the big tease of the day and offering a veritable bargain compared to the stars of the Hong Kong auction earlier in May.
At that Hong Kong auction we saw estimates being smashed in refreshingly varied results, with both pocket watches and simple classics at the top of the graphs. However, it’s fair to say that while estimates were beaten, the new norm of setting a fairly wide spread estimate is a similar trick to altering the vertical vs horizontal increments of a graph to skew the results. That being said, a few watches went far above their high estimates, a positive result for a slow starting 2021.
The Top Draw
This time Christie’s have a major draw in their online auction set for the June 8-22, and that is the simple, perfectionist joy of a Patek Philippe ref 570 18K gold Calatrava. Andy Warhol was a prolific collector, and the classic designs of Warhol’s watches are a charming contrast to his exuberant pop art, creating an interesting paradox. This beautifully elegant Calatrava ref 570 is made even more desirable by its double-signed dial, with a Hausmann & Co retailer signature, founded in Rome in 1794. And yes, the firm is still residing in the same premises in Rome’s historical centre, representing the world’s top tier manufacturers.
The estimate for this is set at a very moderate $45,000-95,000 USD, once again a wide spread for the estimate. My prediction is that it’ll blast past $100,000 ending at closer to $180K – Warhol’s timeless provenance should see to that. As a side note, I do hope they changed the strap – Warhol’s preferred aging process for watch straps allegedly involved urinating on them.
The best of the rest
The mad, twisted shape of the Cartier Crash is a cool addition to any curated collection, here represented by a tempting looking 2003 model in 18K pink gold. While you might think the inspiration lies in the Salvador Dalì’s painting The Persistence of Memory, the inspiration is a lot more literal, and all the more charming for it. A client handed in his seriously damaged Baignoire to Cartier in London after a car accident, and Jean-Jaques Cartier was so enamored with the bent case shape that he decided to reproduce it. Estimate $40,000 – 60,000 USD
Rolex reference 6036
The clean purity of pre-Daytona Rolex chronographs is made ‘”patinatedly” clear in this reference 6036, an important part of the Dato-Compax family of early sixties chronographs. A jewel-like complex wristwatch powered by the Valjoux 72C movement, it will surely breeze past its estimate of $80,000 – 120,000 USD on the day. We’re all aware of the iconic status of the Daytona, Paul Newman or not, but there is a lot to be said for the complex yet legible dial of one of these svelte pieces of Rolex history with its syringe hands, crisp blue minute track and creamy patina.
Patek Philippe ref. 3800 Nautilus
While we might lament the passing of the blue dial Patek Philippe ref 5711 Nautilus, personally I have a very weak spot for the minimalist, vintage charm of the 90’s tinged 3800 Nautilus. This one has a clean case, blue dial, and those understated hands and diamond indices for added sparkle. I’d happily claim this as an End Game watch, and have no doubt that someone else might put their money where their mouth is. This 3800 has a conservative $30,000 – 50,000 USD estimate ready to be doubled.
We’ll pay close attention to this final spring auction from Christie’s and bring you all the results. Should you want a closer look, you’ll find the complete catalogue here.