Complicated watches for complicated times

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Complicated watches for complicated times
Vacheron Constantin ‘Traditionelle’ ref.80172 achieved £225,063. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- The touchstone of Rolex watches, a c 1970 Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’, was the top lot in yesterday’s Bonhams Fine Watches Sale at New Bond Street, London, selling for £237,563, double its pre-sale estimate.

The Rolex led a trio of ultra-desirable, rare and complicated watches which sold for more than £200,000 each in the sale, including a recent Vacheron Constantin ‘Traditionelle’ref. 80172 and a very rare and factory sealed 2017 Patek Philippe 40th Anniversary Nautilus, ref. 5951P, that showcased the watchmakers’ exquisite craftsmanship and engineering.

Complicated models from these three horological powerhouses dominated the top ten in the sale, which achieved a total of over £2.6 million, with 80 per cent of the 74 lots sold.

Global Head of Bonhams Watch Department, Jonathan Darracott, said: “It is good to see, in these challenging times, that the market is still robust, active and buoyant.

We were pleased to receive strong bidding from around the globe and positive results for our highly-curated sale.”

Highlights of the sale included:

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’, c 1970, ref 6265/6262 sold for £237,563
The rare stainless-steel manual wind timepiece is considered the ‘holy grail’ for many Rolex collectors, as only a limited number were produced with the exotic dial characterised by square markers in the chronograph scale and subsidiary dials. This watch also featured a contrasting black and white ‘panda’ dial and the much sought-after screw-down chronograph pushers.

Vacheron Constantin ‘Traditionelle’ ref.80172 achieved £225,063
An auction rarity, this exceptionally fine platinum manual wind minuterepeating perpetual calendar wristwatch, with tourbillon and power reserve to reverse, represented the finest in the company’s watchmaking. With its minute repeating function even including a centripetal speed regulator, to eliminate the noise interference of the pallet system, this was, in its day, the most complicated watch that Vacheron Constantin had ever produced.

Patek Philippe 40thAnniversary Nautilus, ref 5951P, 2017, sold for £225,063
Also featuring in the sale were a number of exceptional watches by Patek Philippe, which again proved popular with bidders, led by a very rare and factory sealed 2017 40th Anniversary Nautilus, ref 5951P which also broke the £200,000 barrier, selling for £225,063. The 18K white gold automatic calendar flyback chronograph bracelet watch featured a diamond set dial and was limited to just 1300 examples, which were only offered to Patek Philippe’s most loyal clients.

F.P.Journe. The Octa Réserve de Marche Jour et Nuit, no.49/99-02, c 2003, sold for £81,313
This platinum automatic calendar wristwatch with power reserve and day/night indication, was another limited edition only offered to favoured clientele of this exclusive Swiss watchmaker. The timepiece set the Bonhams saleroom telephones alight and finally sold for an impressive £81,313, four times its pre-sale estimate.

Rolex Day-Date ‘Khanjar’ ref 18038 achieved £57,562
Rich with historic provenance, was the Rolex Day-Date ‘Khanjar’, which doubled its pre-sale estimate. The Fine and Rare 18k Gold Automatic Calendar Bracelet Watch with Orange Lacquered 'stella' Dial features a green ‘Khanjar’ the Emblem of Oman and was one of a select few of Day-Dates commissioned by the Sultanate.

This watch belonged to Colonel Tony Lewis, DSO, MBE, nicknamed 'the boy colonel' after WWII, who later held the position of commander of the Sultan of Muscat’s armed forces.

Bonhams next global watches sale will be ‘Art of Time’ in New York on 21 August 2020, 11.00 EDT.

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