auction house

Important watches at Christie’s New York on June 17

New York – Christie’s New York auction of Important Watches on June 17 will offer over 260 vintage and modern timepieces, pocket watches, and pens. Highlights include an exceptional 1903 Patek Philippe Two Train Trip Minute Repeating Split-Seconds Chronograph (Lot 118; estimate: $50,000 – $70,000; one of only three known and fresh to the market), and a unique Patek Philippe Hunter Case Pocket Watch with miniature enamel by famed artist Susan Rohr of Renoir’s Two Sisters (Lot 65; estimate: $120,000 – $180,000). This sale features a special selection of Vacheron Constantin watches, including an Important Single- Button Chronograph, formerly owned by King Alexander I of Yugoslavia (Lot 81; estimate: $40,000 – $60,000). Additional top lots include a rare Patek Philippe Reference 3424 designed by Gilbert Albert and one of only five known to come to market in white gold (Lot 57; estimate: $50,000 – $80,000), an attractive Patek Philippe Reference 2499 Third Series (Lot 185; estimate: $260,000 – 360,000), an extraordinary Rolex Submariner Reference 6538 (Lot 37; estimate $60,000 – $100,000) with a “big crown” in unpolished and original condition, and a group of special vintage Panerai watches (Lots 153, 154, and 155).

The important selection of Patek Philippe timepieces is highlighted by the Reference 2499. The reference 2499 was introduced to the market in 1950 and is acknowledged to be one of the most coveted wristwatches of all time. The Reference 2499 perfectly embodies Patek Philippe’s technological and artistic know-how, and has greatly inspired and influenced the configurations of many important wristwatches.

Moreover, this particular Reference 1518 (Lot 48; estimate: $200,000 – $400,000) was last seen at auction in 1987, marking its appearance at auction on June 17 the first time it will appear in public in nearly 30 years. The full crisp lugs and short signature on the beautiful dial make this an extremely desirable watch for the discerning collector.

In 1970, Rolex introduced two new Cosmograph Daytona models; the Reference 6262, which was manufactured for only one year in 1970, and the present example Reference 6264 (Lot 40; estimate: $80,000 – $120,000), manufactured for three years in 1970 – 1972. Both were produced in stainless steel, and only the Reference 6264 appeared on the international market also in 18k and 14k gold. Fresh to the market, the present watch is of great interest to collectors not only because of its rarity, but also because of the Tiffany & Co. signature on the dial. This remarkable example is made even special because of its original condition.

Purchased by the father of the current owners circa 1963 during a layover in Dubrovnik, the present Vacheron Constantin wristwatch (Lot 81; estimate: $40,000 –$60,000) has never before been offered at auction. In remarkable overall condition given its history, the watch is fascinating from both horological and historical perspectives. Single button chronograph wristwatches were first produced during the golden age of watchmaking in the 1920s and 30s. A true classic at the time and even today, their elegant lines and understated quality make them a trophy for any passionate collector. The original owner of the watch was King Alexander of Yugoslavia (December 16, 1888-October 9, 1934), who lived during one of the most turbulent times of the 20th Century. The provenance is confirmed in a letter from Vacheron Constantin. As a young man, Alexander spent time in Geneva schooling and one can only speculate that years later his early experiences in Switzerland could lead him to buy a Vacheron Constantin, which was known as the preferred timepiece of royalty. The present example presents a unique opportunity to collectors to own such a marvelous wristwatch with royal provenance.

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