Christie’s, The Marvel(ous) Sale: one of the most posted, talked and written about watches when it debuted in April 2021 – offered at auction for the first time, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Marvel Black Panther’ Flying Tourbillon. The sale also channels the spirit of Gerald Genta through the Royal Oaks, Nautilus, and a Minute Repeater among the 221 lots on sale, as well as unmissable Patek Philippe and Rolex pieces.
Hong Kong, 24 August 2021 – Christie’s Hong Kong is delighted to present an online auction (24 August – 7 September). The star lot of the sale is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon, the first example to be offered for sale at auction globally.
Alexandre Bigler, Vice President and Head of Watches, Christie’s Asia Pacific comments: “Following our strong first half, we are thrilled to kick off the second half of the year with a stunning online sale spanning vintage and contemporary, including the famous Audemars Piguet ‘Marvel Black Panther’. This particular example of the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon, Lot 46, is the first to be offered for sale at auction, a fantastic opportunity many collectors will no doubt relish.
Is it necessary to remind that a one-off version of the same model, created to raise funds for two charities, First Book and Ashoka, sold for US$ 5.2 million, making it the most expensive Audemars Piguet model ever sold? Inevitably, the sale of this unique timepiece has heightened the desirability of the “Black Panther” of which only 250 were made and all sold.”
LOT 46 – The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon was unveiled at a star-studded event in April 2021. Its release followed the announcement that the esteemed Manufacture from Le Brassus and Marvel would be collaborating moving forward.
Audemars Piguet, a brand synonymous with Haute Horlogerie, unveiled the first Royal Oak Concept watch in 2002, marking the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking Royal Oak. Conceived by the illustrious designer Gérald Genta and in its day considered avant-garde, when the Manufacture unveiled the inaugural Royal Oak Concept Ref 25980/D003, it looked positively space age by comparison. This latter model, limited to 150 pieces, was endowed with an unusual power-reserve indicator displaying units around the circumference of the barrel. Other indications included a function selector and dynamograph. Lastly, the model featured a tourbillon, positioned at 9 o’clock. This watch embraced bold, avant-garde styling, characteristics that would be repeated on several occasions with the advent of further Royal Oak Concept models.
When Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon it perpetuated the revolutionary design of former Royal Oak Concept models. Its hand-painted white gold 3D Black Panther character, unconventional and elaborate titanium bridges as well as extensive use of vivid purple tones polarised opinion both in the media and among the watch collecting community. Est. HKD 3,000,000– 5,000,000 / US$ 380,000– 650,000).
THE GERALD GENTA HERITAGE
One look at the bezel of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon and the influence of Gérald Genta is clear to see. Widely regarded as the most influential watch designer of the 20th century and known for his prolific work rate, Genta was responsible for a plethora of watch styles.
Christie’s is delighted to present three further examples of Gérald Genta’s work.
LOT 45 – Audemars Piguet Tropical Dial Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST ‘A Series’ is much sought after by watch collectors and is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. This particular example is particularly rare as it features a highly desirable ‘tropical’ dial. This can be traced back to an era when watch companies applied a chemical primer to help the dial retain its showroom fresh appearance. Ironically, the presence of the chemical caused the dial to assume different tones when exposed to sunlight. The resultant appearance is unique to the dial and is not easily replicated. Needless to say, the ‘tropical’ is in much demand among the watch collecting community.
Consistent with other steel ‘A Series’ models, the AP logo is positioned in the lower portion of the dial, located between the 9th and 11th line. The correct ‘SWISS’ text is stamped and sits below the index at 6 o’clock. With the passage of time, the black dial has acquired unique areas of bronze-gold hues. When released, Audemars Piguet produced 2000 examples of the ‘A Series’ before it progressed to making the ‘B Series’. This particular example is 843/2000. Est. HKD 400,000–800,000 / US$ 50,000– 100,000).
LOT 96 – Gérald Genta Minute Repeater with Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minutes. In this instance, Christie’s present a rare watch encompassing a green guilloché dial and platinum case with a distinctive ribbed profile. The model pairs one of the most technically challenging complications, a minute repeater, with two indications often associated with Mr Genta, jumping hours and retrograde minutes. The minutes are presented on an arcing track. A lone hand sweeps clockwise from ‘0’ to ‘60’, before returning to its point of origin as the jumping hour, shown at 6 o’clock, advances forward. This particular composition expresses meaning with a notable flurry of style. Est. HKD 400,000–800,000 / US$ 50,000– 100,000).
LOT 2 – Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus with Date Ref. 5711/1A-001. First released in 1976, this iconic sports watch has attracted numerous column inchesand discussions relating to rocketing resale values pervade the collecting community. Moreover, with several references now discontinued, the pre-owned route is the only means of acquiring a coveted reference from yesteryear. Housed in a 40mm stainless steel case with a black/blue dial the watch is equipped with an automatic movement and integrated stainless steel bracelet. Est. HKD 650,000 – 950,000 / US$ 85,000– 125,000).
LOT 20 – Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 1579R with original certificate. This exquisite timepiece is housed in a pink gold case. With only 82 known examples of the Ref. 1579R produced in pink gold, this particular watch is very rare, andboth gold marks remain visible. The watch is endowed with so-called ‘spider lugs’. It is largely untouched and is presented in wonderful condition. The dial exhibits a charming mellow aged appearance. The two registers are encircled by applied pink gold Arabic numerals and square indexes. Unusually, the watch is supplied with the original ‘Certificate of Origin’. Est. HKD 1,300,000–2,000,000 / US$ 165,000– 250,000).
LOT 1 – A possibly unique and magnificent Patek Philippe Platinum Minute Repeater Tourbillon Ref. 3939. This paragon of fine watchmaking is wonderfully understated, a characteristic which belies the mechanical complexity within. The two high complications, a two-gong minute repeater and a tourbillon escapement, require the expertise of the most talented watchmakers and an inordinate amount of time and patience. Surprisingly, despite such complexity, the platinum case measures a modest 34mm in diameter. The enamel dial is dressed in black while the hours are denoted with white gold Breguet numerals. This latter combination differentiates this specific example from the ‘standard’ versions of the Ref. 3939 which came with a white enamel dial. Indeed, this model, crafted in 1999, is believed to be one of only a few specimens equipped with a black dial. The ‘Certificate of Origin’ makes reference to the ‘émail noir’.
Est. HKD 1,000,000–2,000,000 / US$ 130,000– 230,000).
LOT 21 – Patek Philippe Platinum with Date Ref. 3445. Typically this reference was presented in a white or yellow gold case. However, this particular example is housed in platinum, making it one of the rarest and most coveted versions of the Ref. 3445. The slender hour and minute hands converse with baton style indexes. A date display, often termed ‘monodate’ by collectors, is postioned at 3 o’clock, while a small seconds indication resides above 6 o’clock. At the heart of this elegantly, understated, watch is the Caliber 27-460, an automatic movement produced by Patek Philippe and finished to the exacting standards of the Geneva Seal. This provides the perfect opportunity to secure one of the ultimate examples of this Patek Philippe classic. Est. HKD 400,000–650,000 / US$ 50,000– 85,000).
LOT 177 – Rolex Ref. 8171 ‘Padellone’. This impressive pink gold example of the legendary Ref. 8171 ‘Padellone’ is of particular distinction as it is one of only six examples to feature the ‘HL Mark II Officially Certified Chronometer’ type dial. The watch is presented in pink gold, again contributing to its rarity.
Indeed, only about 350 pieces were produced in pink gold over a 3 year period., and itis estimated that a mere 32 examples have appeared on the open market in the last 70 years. The case measures 38mm in diameter, which was considered large when it was produced. The watch is equipped with dauphine-style hour and minute hands, lapped bullet-style indexes, a small seconds display above 6 o’clock and pointer-style date indication. Two calendar windows sit beneath the ‘tall’ Rolex crown. The watch has been cleaned perhaps only once or twice throughout its life and the dial now benefits from a prepossessing patina that is highly prized by connoisseurs. Est. HKD 1,200,000 – 2,000,000 / US$ 150,000– 250,000).
LOT 152 – Roger Dubuis Limited Edition White Gold Double Tourbillon. This version of the Excalibur Double Tourbillon has been produced and finished to the exalted standards of the Geneva Seal. The openworked hour and minute hands are positioned above a mother-of-pearl dial. An arc-shaped minute track, positioned between 9 and 3 o’clock, provides the basis for the unusual retrograde minutes display. Two flying tourbillons reside at the base of the dial and are framed with silver-coloured circlets. Unlike a ‘conventional’ tourbillon, a flying tourbillon eschews an upper bridge/bar, affording superior views of the escapement, regulating organ and cage in motion.
The two flying tourbillons are linked by a differential, augmenting precision. Housed in a white gold case, this model was produced in a limited series of 28 pieces (this example is No. 9/28). Roger Dubuis, a fully integrated Manufacture, currently describes its watches as ‘Hyper Horology’ and avant-garde styling aside it is widely accepted that the Genevan firm’s watchmaking prowess is beyond reproach. Typically, the Maison’s double flying tourbillons attract six-figure pricing, whereas the estimate for this example (Est. HKD 240,000-400,000 / US$ 30,000–50,000), provides a potential opportunity for making a substantial saving on new.
HAUTE JOAILLERIE PIECES
Christie’s is delighted to offer two incredible Haute Joaillerie pieces. The first timepiece (lot 82) is a white gold Chopard bracelet watch set with diamonds and emeralds (Est. HKD 320,000 – 650,000 / US$ 40,000 – 85,000).
The second watch (lot 140) is a resplendent creation from Piaget set with 94 brilliant and marquise-cut white diamonds with a total weight of 16 carats along with 43 rubies totalling 16.68 carats. This Piaget masterpiece, part of the Maison’s haute joaillerie collection, is in exceptional condition and is supplied with the original Piaget Certificate of Origin (Est. HKD 650,000–1,200,000 / US$ 85,000–150,000).
To preview the lots curated for the ONLINE auction please click here:
Christie’s, The Marvel(ous) Sale Gallery