START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs – Geneva 14 May 2016

PHILLIPS in association with Bacs & Russo

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs

Hôtel La Réserve, 301 Route de Lausanne, Geneva

14 May 2016

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Stopping Time by Aurel Bacs and Sam Hines

Over the centuries, the world’s most ingenious watchmakers and engineers have graced us
with dazzling and bewildering complications. May these complications enhance precision such as tourbillons, offer an acoustic delight such as minute repeaters or squeeze the cosmos into rotating pinions and gears such as perpetual calendars and moon phases, few are at the same time speaking to the hidden adventurer within us, action loaded and visible as the chronograph.

From the Greek “chronos” meaning time and “graph” meaning to write, the chronograph measures and records time intervals stated in seconds (and sometimes even less), minutes and/or hours.

However, the chronograph also embodies one of mankind’s greatest – yet unattainable dreams – that to control and stop time. However, what it does allow is to freeze a moment, preserve it for posterity and to look back with consideration.

It is of no surprise that doctors, scientists, sportsmen and members of the armed forces have relied on their trusty chronographs in the course of their daily lives, their successes (and sometimes failures) recorded by their timepiece. Where life does not offer the possibility to stop time it does sometimes offer a second chance and as with chronographs to reset and start again. A second opportunity to overcome a failure, to repeat a success and sometimes, to break a new record. Thus the name of this thematic auction: START-STOP-RESET.

Rome, January 2016. During a dinner with Pucci Papaleo we started discussing a thematic sale focussing on tool watches, those most likely to have been used in action loaded, rough and exciting environments and by dessert the theme of stainless steel chronograph wristwatches, the date of the auction, the scope and responsibilities were decided upon! Curating this sale was a fascinating journey for the specialists at Phillips Watches. A true team effort shared with our friend Pucci Papaleo whom, after the Glamorous Day-Date auction, needs no further introduction.

The team includes Andrea Foffi who kindly shared his encyclopaedic knowledge and prepared many of the watches for photography, Fabio Santinelli, whom many consider the world’s most talented photographer of watches, supported by Gino La Bella for image management, Paolo Gobbi, an extremely talented contributing writer and finally Naomi Ornstein as general coordinator… and believe me, the need for a coordinator was vital!

Choosing is renouncing and we had to regretfully refuse highly interesting pieces that either did not meet our extremely stringent quality criteria or duplicated another consigned piece. We wanted to offer you the broadest variety in terms of brands, styles and period and each model needed to tell a captivating story. The result being a catalogue reuniting over 80 classic, legendary, rare and attractive examples from the world’s most prominent chronograph makers.

Being chronographs aside, all the timepieces shown in this catalogue have in common that they are not only technically and visually stimulating but are historically relevant, having survived in amazing original condition, decades after they left the workshops and happily accompanied their wearers, may they have been sportsmen, doctors or members of the armed forces.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this journey through 20th century watchmaking and that we will be able to welcome you personally to one of our preview exhibitions or in Geneva for the auction and maybe one of the chronographs in this auction will enable you to start, stop and reset your own story.

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo: The Only Watch auction – November 7, Geneva

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is pleased to announce details of the Fall season auctions dedicated to fine collectors’ watches that will take place on 7 and 8 November 2015 at Hôtel La Réserve, Geneva. 

The Only Watch auction beginning at 3PM on Saturday 7 November is dedicated to unique timepieces created and donated by the finest watchmakers for research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) – it will offer 44 one-of-a-kind timepieces created especially for this noble cause – establishing watchmakers’ continued support for scientific and medical research on neuromuscular diseases.

Phillips’ second watches auction will take place on the grounds of Hôtel La Réserve, Geneva, as with the sales in May, and will begin on the evening of Saturday 7 November at 6:30PM, continuing at 6:30PM Sunday 8 November. Faithful to its publically communicated core values and mission, Phillips has rigorously applied its industry-leading standards in terms of quality, condition, originality, and provenance in its selection of watches for this sale. Phillips has, as a result, put together a highly compact and exciting auction of only approximately 200 watches that reunites some of the most beautiful watches that can possibly be obtained. The Geneva Watch Auction: Two is estimated to realise over $14 million (€12.5 million / $13.7 CHF).

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Rolex “James Bond” Submariner from “Live and Let Die”, Reference 5513 – Estimate SFr 150,000 – 250,000

Quite possibly the most recognizable watch in history with over 1 billion people having watched the film “Live and Let Die”, the wristwatch seen on Sir Roger Moore is in fact a Rolex Submariner reference 5513 made in 1972, and was later modified for the movie.

The acclaimed Rolex Submariner worn by Sir Roger Moore was memorable for its buzz saw bezel that spun and could cut through rope to escape dangerous situations, and the hyper intensified magnetic field with the ability to deflect bullets. Used for both humor and heightened dramatic events, the magnetic reach could unzip Miss Caruso’s dress, and catch a spoon off a coffee saucer.

The present Rolex reference 5513 “Q” is the most unforgettable watch prop used in a movie and is even signed inside the caseback “Roger Moore 007”. As a highlight in the most iconic scenes “Live and Let Die”, this watch is sure to interest both watch collectors and true fans of cinematography alike.

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Rolex Daytona “Solo Quicksilver”, Reference 6239 – Estimate SFr 250,000 – 500,000

Simultaneously rare and stunning, the “Solo Rolex Quicksilver” is so exceptional that it graces the cover of the landmark tome, “Ultimate Rolex Daytona” by the renowned scholar, Pucci Papaleo. A reference 6239 in stainless steel made in 1968, it’s fitted with an extraordinary, and quite possibly unique dial with only the word ‘ROLEX’ written in bold black printing at 12 o’clock. Playfully nicknamed the ‘Solo Quicksilver’, the model name “Cosmograph” seen on nearly all other 6239s is missing, giving strong prominence to the iconic brand name.

This watch is, unquestionably, one of the rarest versions of the legendary Daytona. Possessing remarkable elegance, its importance in the field of collectible Rolex watches cannot be overstated. It is a trophy watch worthy of crowning the world’s most important collections of Rolex watches.

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Rolex “Paul Newman” Cosmograph Daytona, Retailed by Hermès, Reference 6241- Estimate SFr 300,000 – 600,000

As Hermès is a leading retailer, it only made sense for them to work with Rolex, a front-runner in the watchmaking industry. This highly sought after Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6241 features an acrylic bezel with printed tachometer and round “pump” pushers. What adds to the collectability of this piece is the highly attractive “Paul Newman” black dial with gold registers and gilt writing.

The present example is rare, not only because it is encased in yellow gold, but it also bears the highly desirable “HERMÈS” stamping on the outer case back. Additionally, the caseback is stamped with French gold import marks and the stamp of Rolex France. Confirmed by Hermès in Paris, this very watch was retailed by Hermès and sold on 30 November 1971.

The double-signature adds a certain element of collectability that one cannot find in other watches, which is the wonderful duo of Hermès and Rolex working in tandem. The present example is the only one known, making it most probably unique, and makes this watch an ultimate trophy for discerning Daytona collectors.

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Rolex Reference 6062 – Estimate SFr 500,000 – 1,000,000

To many of the world’s most experienced collectors of vintage Rolex wristwatches, reference 6062 represents the pinnacle of the “crowned” firm’s entire production. In fact, reference 6062 is one of only two models ever to feature a full calendar paired with the indication of the phases of the moon, together with reference the 8171 – an example of which will also be offered in this sale.

In 40 years of auctions, we can hardly count more than a handful of legitimate and unrestored pink gold star-dial reference 6062s, underlining this model’s utter exclusivity. The present example is now offered at auction for only the second time since it was made over 60 years ago.

In the 1950s, Rolex produced some of the most iconic cloisonné dial wristwatches in conjunction with world renowned Stern Frères of Geneva.

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Rolex Bombay “La Caravelle” Cloisonné, Reference 6102 – Estimate SFr 350,000 – 700,000

The present reference 6102, in virtually mint condition and seemingly unworn, is adorned with a spectacular cloisonné dial made by one of Geneva’s most acclaimed enamellers, Mrs. Koch, who worked with Stern to produce some of the most sought after Rolex watches to date. The dial depicts a wonderful scene featuring a multi-colored boat at sea, topped with facetted baton hour markers.

When it comes to high-end, luxury watches, Patek Philippe‘s timepieces were consistently crafted with utmost excellence over the course of its storied history.

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Patek Philippe World Time Cloisonné, Reference 605 HU – Estimate SFr 500,000 – 1,000,000

The present reference 605 HU is one of a small number world time pocket watches made by the brand during the 1940s and early 1950s. Accompanied by the Extract from the Archives, Patek Philippe notes the “special theme” dial, which in fact has the movement number engraved underneath the dial.

It is arguably the most important example to appear on the market in recent memory, as it is the only example of this reference known with a depiction of a dragon on the dial. Quite likely unique, it has not appeared at auction in over two decades.

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Patek Philippe Steel Split Seconds Chronograph, Reference 1436 – Estimate SFr 1,500,000 – 3,000,000

Reference 1436 is one of the finest complicated wristwatches ever made by Patek Philippe. It is one of only two vintage split second chronograph references produced by the distinguished firm. Normally, these were cased in yellow gold, and only a very small number were completed in pink gold. According to scholarship, less than a handful of stainless steel cases were produced and fitted with movements during the first half of the 1940s. The present stainless steel 1436 is offered here only for the second time ever since its original sale in 1949, having only seen three owners since its original purchase over half a century ago. It is one of only two known reference 1436 in stainless steel, made and completed in the 1940s.

Inside the case back there are no traces of any watchmakers signs, and it is possible, given the extraordinary condition of the movement that it has never been dismantled or worked on since leaving Patek Philippe’s workshops in 1949.

Patek Philippe’s reference 2499 is one of the company’s most treasured perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatches to date.

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Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, Reference 2499 First Series – Estimate SFr 800,000 – 1,400,000

This exceptional example in yellow gold is the only known 2499 from the first series to be fitted with a champagne colored dial. Furthermore, the watch is accompanied by the Extract from the Archives confirming it was in fact born with a champagne dial.

Distinguished by its square shaped pushers, tachometer scale and applied Arabic numerals, the present example is part of the first series, and considered to be highly desirable by collectors. As reference 2499 is highly sought after, what sets this piece apart is its rarity and remarkable condition, as the lugs and case are seemingly unpolished.

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Vacheron & Constantin “Cornes de Vache” Chronograph, Reference 6087 – Estimate SFr 50,000 – 100,000

Scholars and enthusiasts have long considered Vacheron Constantin’s Chronographs to be among the most beautiful chronograph wristwatches ever designed. Some references are so utterly rare that until today have never appeared at auction, and were only known by archival images that survived in the books of Vacheron Constantin.

We are particularly delighted that, in this auction, we have been entrusted by different collectors coming from numerous countries with an incredibly handsome and varied selection of wristwatch chronographs. In our view, shared by numerous scholars in the field, this is the most varied and rich offering of different Vacheron Constantin chronographs for at least a decade. We are pleased to offer nine chronographs, seven of which are different models, including an ultra rare 6026 in pink gold – one of only six made, and a superb example of the coveted reference 6087, the so-called “Cornes de Vache”.

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Audemars Piguet Minute Repeater, retailed by Cartier – Estimate SFr 300,000 – 600,000

Audemars Piguet produced very few minute repeating wristwatches through the 1920s. The present watch was originally purchased by Henry Haven Windsor, Jr., the son of the founder of Popular Mechanics magazine and an avid watch collector. After his father’s death, when Windsor was 26 he became editor and publisher of the magazine, which had originally been founded in 1902.

The combination of many highly desirable elements such as the platinum case, the minute repeating movement, the Cartier signature and Breguet numerals on the dial is impressive. Few complicated vintage wristwatches can better echo the style of the 1920s and 30s as this watch.

This is the second season of auctions to take place since Phillips announced the creation of its Watch Department dedicated exclusively to the world’s finest collectors watches. The department is based in Geneva and partners exclusively with Bacs & Russo, the firm of Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo.

As of August 2015, Phillips announced the appointment of Sam Hines as International Head of Watches in Hong Kong. Sam is currently heading the global team of Watch Specialists from Phillips’ recently opened Asian Headquarters in the landmark Building in Hong Kong.


Info on

PHILLIPS – The Geneva Watch auction ONE: 1927 Patek Philippe 130 sold for €4.400.000

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Ginevra 10 maggio – Un altro record raggiunto da Phillips nell’evento che inaugura la collaborazione con Bacs & Russo. Il top lot #123, il Patek Philippe 130 in acciaio del 1927,  è stato aggiudicato alla incredibile cifra di €4.478.100 all’asta evento The Geneva Watch auction: ONE.  Dopo la giornata di ieri dedicata all’asta monotematica Glamorous Day-Date che ha visto venduti tutti i 60 lotti a catalogo, un altro trionfale successo che suggella nel migliore dei modi la neonata collaborazione tra Phillips e Bacs & Russo. – Andrea Foffi & Manuel Galvez

Geneva, May 10 – Another record achieved by Phillips in the event that marks the new working partnership with Bacs & Russo. The top lot # 123, the 1927 Patek Philippe Stainless steel 130, reached the remarkable amount of € 4,478,100. After the yesterday venue dedicated to Rolex, the Glamorous Day-Date which saw sold all 60 lots in the catalog, another triumphant success that seals in the best way the fledgling partnership between Phillips and Bacs & Russo – Andrea Foffi & Manuel Galvez