Five sleeper picks from the upcoming “Precious Blues” Ineichen auctionZach Blass
A core component of being an auction house is curation, often under the scope of a particular theme. But, even with a theme in mind, we often see an abundance of the usual suspects: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille. Swiss auction house Ineichen, however, loves to work outside the norm. Sure, they present lots from AP and Patek as well. But the crux of their catalogue offerings are typically off the beaten path, showcasing independents such as Konstantin Chaykin, Daniel Roth, De Bethune and more. Even within their latest theme “Precious Blues”, a collection devoted to the ubiquitous colour, Ineichen has managed to compile a set of 50 lots that are anything but the standard picks.
Highlights include a sapphire-set and platinum-cased Daniel Roth Perpetual Calendar Piece Unique, a Konstantin Chaykin Genius Temporis Prototype, and, for the savvy-minded collector, a limited edition tourbillon watch from watchmaker and designer Alain Silberstein. Those pieces are already drawing the eyes of heavyweight collectors around the world. So, while I could run through the aforementioned trio, instead I have assembled five sleeper picks from the Precious Blue auction – pieces I believe you may be able to get for a lower hammer price while getting high value.
Patek Philippe Golden Elipsse ref. 3738/100
While it remains one of their most elegant and distinct designs, the Golden Ellipse is by no means the mainstream option within the Patek Philippe catalogue. I know first-hand, having had the original ref. 3548 in my own collection once upon a time, that this is a piece, at the right moment and time, you can get at an incredible price all things considered. Later and larger references within the Ellipse collection tend to hold their value more these days, but for a buyer who enjoys vintage sizing this creates an opportunity. Sure 31mm in diameter, 6mm in thickness, and 36mm lug-to-lug might sound tiny. When set against other timeless dressy references like the Cartier Tank, however, the dimensions start to make more and more sense. The only real shame of the reference is that you can’t see the in-house automatic micro-rotor calibre 240/111 within, especially when you consider the fact it is equally as decorated as the calibres which can be seen beneath an exhibition caseback.
You also have the added value of receiving the original accessories, a tie pin and set of cufflinks. The accessory set is manufactured in yellow gold, like the watch, and mimic the golden ratio inspired elliptical shape and blue satin sunburst dial seen on the ref. 3738/100 as well.
Estimate: CHF 5,000 – 7,000
A. Lange & Söhne Arkade ref. 106.027
A. Lange & Söhne are known for producing some of the highest quality timepieces in the world, and one characteristic of their designs, aside from their distinct German DNA, that showcases the amount of care in their approach is the fact that every in-house calibre they design is tailor-made to perfectly fit into a case. The majority of their offerings take on a traditional concentric case form, but the Arkade collection comes in the form of a tonneau case reminiscent of the shape of Daniel Roth designs. That being said, the Arkade is still distinctly Lange – with a double-apertured operatic date window at 12′ and trademark spear-shaped hands. The blue dial features a rich vertical satin brush, the sub-seconds register at 6′ introducing a concentric guilloche that increases the legibility of the running seconds.
Despite the tonneau-shaped case that’s less common for the brand, you still have a tonneau shaped in-house calibre L911.4. The calibre flexes the best of German movement aesthetics with a Glashütte striped and razor-thin chamfered 3/4 bridgeplate that holds fired-blue screw and jewels set in chaton – all of which are reminiscent of German pocket-watch design. If that were not enough, you also have a hand-engraved balance cock with a black polished swans neck regulator. With its smaller 29mm diameter and 38mm length, this rare reference in 18K white gold may not get the bidding love it deserves. Therefore opportunity knocks, so you’d be making a smart move by swooping in.
Estimate: CHF 6,000 – 8,000
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Meteorite ref. PFC267
Meteorite dials in dressier watches are not uncommon, with the likes of Piaget making the pairing quite often. But Parmigiani Fleurier enjoys hitting differently. At first glance you might assume this watch was made of white gold, but in fact the dressy yet sporty Tonda 1950 Meteorite ref. PFC267 actually has a 39mm x 7.8mm case made of titanium. Perhaps the lumed hours and minutes hand is a bit of a tell that there is an aspect of functional formality to the watch and, while the pairing of a titanium case and meteorite dial is a bit of a switch up, much of what is alluring about this watch is rooted in classic sensibilities. The squared lugs are stronger than the teardrop lugs they are reminiscent of, and, when you flip the watch over, the visible in-house calibre is equally as beautiful as its rich blue meteorite dial.
The in-house calibre PF701 boasts top-notch Côtes de Genève, circular graining (perlage) and anglage, with a guilloched micro-rotor that allows you to take it all in without obstruction.
Estimate: CHF 5,000 – 7,000
Daniel Roth El Primero Chronograph
Daniel Roth is a name really only known by more seasoned watch collectors, but more and more people are waking up to the quality of his designs – which were acquired by Bulgari in 2000. The double ellipse case form, a staple of Daniel Roth, is once again seen in this very wearable 38mm x 11.9mm 41mm stainless-steel case. The multi-textured dial has a rather dark electric blue tone, a very rare execution seldom seen on the secondary market with “pearled” applied indices representing every fifth minute or each hour. The creamy hue would suggest patinated lume, but this is not the case as none of the hands feature luminescent material.
Inside you have the legendary El Primero hi-beat chronograph calibre from Zenith, but finished with the Daniel Roth touch. Its aesthetic is modestly heightened with a level of perlage, straight grinding, polished sinks and bevels, blued screws and solarization that take it beyond the standard finish of the El Primero.
Estimate: CHF 8,000 – 10,000
Breguet Type XX Transatlantique ref. 3820
The Bregeut Type XX has rich military provenance, but in the form of the Transatlantique ref. 3820 you have an attractive opportunity to secure a stealth-wealth sporty design. Many would assume it is stainless steel, considering its aviation heritage. But this Precious Blues lot is truly precious. The tell is its rich blue dial, which Breguet reserved only for their less common white gold and platinum executions within the collection. Its 18K white gold case measures in at 39mm in diameter and 14.4mm thick – which you might find a tad beefy until you realize the case sports a depth rating of 100 metres. While it looks lovely on the factory dark blue leather strap, I would definitely look into a rubber alternative as well to affix the 18K white gold deployant clasp to. Inside, beneath a solid caseback, is the Breguet flyback column wheel chronograph calibre 582Q – based on the Nouvelle Lémania 1350 (an evolution of the Lémania 1340 designed by Lémania and Omega in 1972).
Estimate: CHF 5,000 – 7,000
Live bidding for the “Precious Blues” auction, curated by Ineichen, will take place on April 23, 13:00 CET. Advance bids may be placed online now at ineichen.com. Please note: estimates above do not include the 24% buyers premium.