This week, Christies are promising the “Auction of the Decade”. So should you believe the hype?Thor Svaboe
It’s always a good idea in marketing to talk a strong game. But after describing the forthcoming Legends of Time in Hong Kong as the “auction of the decade”, Christies are setting the stakes sky-high.
For the auction that takes place on Saturday, May 22 over two sessions, Christies estimates a total tally of over $25 million USD. The reason for this confidence is a top-heavy catalogue of Patek Philippe, 36 unusual Rolex references and a smattering of watches from this year’s auction darling F.P Journe. Here’s a closer look at what might be the top three favourites straight out of the gate.
Travel in enamelled style with the ref.1415
Let’s take ourselves back to the golden age of post-war travel. With its wide rose-gold bezel depicting far-flung destinations from Klondike to Le Cap, its evocative style would be ideal for the glamour of an intercontinental flight back in the 1950s, cocktail in hand. Whimsical in design for a Patek Philippe, the beauty lies in the hand-painted enamel dial centre being an impressionist’s view of the eastern hemisphere. Small intricately detailed hands and roman numerals make this more miniature artwork than actual travel tool. The estimate for this solid 18K pink gold world time wristwatch from 1949 is $1,033,000 – $3,000,000USD
Another trip in First Class with the ref.2523/1
As if the previous reference had its entire shape re-cased inside a sixties sharp suit, the ref.2523/1 sits on unusually angled, seemingly untouched contemporary lugs. Within the 18K solid yellow gold case of this 1965 reference we recognize the broad, brushed bezel chapter ring with its evocative destinations. This encircles a wave-patterned guillochè dial (private luxury cruise anyone?), razor-sharp hands and baton indices. A sunken 24 hour GMT indicative rotating disc gives you a good indication of whether its martini time at home or not. The estimate for this is a similar $1.033,000 – $3.000,000USD
The famous ref.3448 one of a kind “Alan Banbery”
The predicted winner in this auction, is the historically important ref.3448 “Alan Banberry”, an 18K gold self-winding perpetual calendar with its particular English calendar, leap year indication and “no moon” dial. This truly exceptional piece was specially modified by messrs Henri and Philippe Stern in 1975 for Alan Banbery, who joined Patek as Director of Sales for English-speaking territories in 1965. Aside from this watch, Banbery became known for his book on Patek and was instrumental in numerous developments at the company for close to 50 years, ending in a position as Curator of Patek Philippe’s private collection. In short, he’s a very important figure in the watch auction world we know today. Predictably, this perfectly presented piece of Patek history, with its delightfully coloured register at 6 o’clock has the highest estimate of the auction at $3.100,000 – 5.000,000USD
The Christies Legends of Time auction starts on the 22.May, have a closer look at the catalogue here.