Dubai, 21 September 2023 – Christie’s Middle East is proud to announce the upcoming Watches Online: The Dubai Edit auction featuring a stunning bespoke creation in 18k white gold by Patek Philippe Reference 3843/1 from 1991: its case, merging with an integrated bracelet, was designed around a 13.43-carat portrait-cut diamond that serves as the watch crystal, enhancing the dazzling blue sunburst watch face. It is the only timepiece known to feature lasque diamond, to both enhance and protect the dial.
This bespoke Patek Philippe with the unique reference 3843/1 is estimated at US$1,000,000-2,000,000. Watches Online: The Dubai Edit will take place from 5 to 19 October 2023.
Remy Julia, Head of Watches Christie’s Middle East, India & Africa: “It is extremely rare for Patek Philippe to make special orders, even for its most important clients. It follows that the appearance of a bespoke Patek Philippe at auction is an event, and for a bespoke Patek Philippe to be adorned with a portrait diamond, probably the third largest known, is a truly rare sight.”
This fascinating wristwatch ingeniously incorporates one of the world’s most precious treasures, the diamond. The 13.43-carat transparent flat gem – the third-largest portrait-cut diamond known – was supplied by the original client to Patek Philippe when he commissioned the project in 1990. The completed watch was delivered to him on 18 January 1994, in Geneva, as a Pièce Unique.
Lasque – when the diamond becomes the medium
Like no other gemstone, diamonds have always captivated the imagination, with no other purpose than to enchant. There is one exception, however, when rather than being showcased, they fulfil a function – as lasque diamonds or, as they are also known, portrait-cut diamonds. Exhibiting an extremely rare mastery of gemstone cutting, they are polished flat on both sides, with the top surface faceted at the edges, and owe their name to the fact they were used to glaze precious miniature portraits in medallions.
The most famous examples, created almost exclusively for royalty, date from the 17th to 19th centuries and constitute the highlights of legendary jewellery collections. According to jewellery historian Diana Scarisbrick, “the reflections of the facets illuminate the portrait, the highly polished limpid surface lets the subject shine through with much more brilliance than crystal and also draws the eye towards it. Only the clearest stones could achieve this magical effect”, an effect that renders the deep blue gold dial of this Patek Philippe all the more stunning.
Founded in 1766, Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai). Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Recent innovations at Christie’s include the ground-breaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change. Browse, bid, discover,