Christie’s presents 300 pocket watches

Christie’s presents 300 pocket watches, an exceptional auction of quintessential watchmaking artistry

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Time expressed at its most precious: the extraordinary engineering and fascinating craftsmanship of pocket watches
A collection of timepieces that set the benchmark for horological mastery and continues to inspire contemporary watchmakers
Watches Online: The Geneva Edit – An Important Private Collection
An exceptional auction of quintessential watchmaking artistry and refinement
Geneva, 2 to 14 December 2021

As the grand finale of a Fall/Winter season which raised the bar in so many ways, Christie’s presents Watches Online: An Important Private Collection. Held between December 2nd and 14th, this important auction will feature more than three hundred marvels of horological mastery in the form of pocket watches and clocks dating from the 18th century to the present day, all from an important and rare European collection passionately built and curated over the course of a lifetime. 27 pieces from this collection have been offered in Geneva’s Rare and Important Watches sales this November and sold 100% to international collectors from around the globe.

A true testament to the art of watchmaking, from ‘simple’ complications to tourbillons, from perpetual calendars to minute repeaters, and everything in-between – the full range of uncompromisingly masterful watchmaking is represented in this collection. The fruit of inspired creativity and physics-defying engineering by horologists who defined their era and shaped the measurement of time as we know it today, such as Breguet, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Ilbery, Henry Capt can be retraced in this collection.

Besides the artistry in mechanical design that is hidden away in mind-boggling complications, the collection also pays tribute to the Métiers d’Art – ‘crafts and art’ – to be discovered on the cases, dials and insides of many items. Fine pocket watches offered a canvas for the most sophisticated enamelling techniques. In this regard, the collection reveals several exceptional pocket timekeepers that not only tell the time but also fascinating tales in brilliant colour and extraordinary details.

This sale represents a unique opportunity to affordably acquire the source and origin of fine watchmaking artistry, one that continues – and will continue – to inspire true watchmakers.

Rémi Guillemin, Head of Watches, Christie’s Geneva shares:  “What is astonishing about this collection is the sheer breadth of different complications. What we see here is the lifetime passion of a private collector, offering a unique opportunity to share a journey – and to discover timepieces that have never been on the market or rediscover others that have been unattainable for so long, and each of the 316 pieces is in remarkably pristine condition.”


Lot 20 – Breguet, yellow gold and enamel pocket watch Ref. 30692. Circa 1840. This timepiece embodies the quintessence of the Métiers d’Art. The dial presents a white enamel with Turkish numerals.

Est. CHF 20,000-30,000 – EUR 20,000-29,000


Lot 17 – Ilbery, yellow gold, enamel and diamond-set openface pocket watch, Ref. 5486. Circa 1800.
Est. CHF 25,000-35,000 – EUR 24,000-34,000


Lot 15 – Breguet, yellow gold automatic openface pocket watch, Ref. 2782. Dial with guilloche silver.
Est. CHF 25,000-40,000 – EUR 24,000-38,000


Lot 19 – Breguet, yellow gold half quarter-repeating openface pocket watch, Ref. 2267.
Est. CHF 20,000-30,000 – EUR 20,000-29,000


Lot 169 – Breguet, yellow gold quarter repeating openface pocket watch, Ref. 3789.
Est. CHF 10,000-15,000 – EUR 9,600-14,000

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