Phillips Announces Early Highlights from The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

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Sale on 10-11 December to Feature an Original Cartier London Crash and an Early F.P.Journe Tourbillon Souverain in Platinum with Salmon Dial,  with a Section of the Auction Dedicated to Timepieces by Grand Seiko, Including a Unique Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon

An Historically Important Patek Philippe Ref. 3998J with Newly Deciphered

Egyptian Hieroglyph Dial, Specially Made for Renowned Photographer  Helmut Newton

17 Lots to be Offered in TimeForArt, the First Watch Auction to Support Contemporary Art, Benefitting Swiss Institute

On 10-11 December, Phillips will host The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN at 432 Park Avenue. Comprised of 180 lots, the sale will present an array of iconic and important timepieces from leading brands and independent makers alike. Amongst the exceptional lots leading the sale will be a Cartier London Crash, being sold directly from the family of its original owner, alongside an early and exceedingly rare F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain in Platinum with Salmon Dial. The auction will also present a special chapter of 10 lots dedicated to Grand Seiko, with a unique Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon leading the collection. Phillips is also proud to host TimeForArt, which will raise funds for Swiss Institute.  Prior to the sale in December, highlights will tour to Singapore, London, Los Angeles, Geneva, and Hong Kong. 

Paul Boutros, Head of Watches, Americas, and Isabella Proia, Head of Sale, New York, said, “We are proud to announce highlights from The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN, one of our most ambitious sales to date.  From one of Cartier’s most iconic and cherished timepieces ever produced to a unique Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon being unveiled for the very first time, the sale offers something for watch collectors across the globe, of all backgrounds and interests. The exceptional vintage and modern watches on offer have especially fascinating provenances and histories, including an elusive Cartier London Crash made in 1970 – considered the pinnacle of wristwatch design by many. This example is offered for the first time ever by a descendent of the original owner, Daphne Farago – an esteemed collector of art, jewelry, and recognized philanthropist. We’re thrilled to shed new light on a unique Patek Philippe Ref. 3998J with an Egyptian hieroglyph dial, formerly from the Collection of Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani – an achievement made all the more timely as we mark the 200th anniversary of the decoding of the Rosetta Stone. The watch’s provenance and newly deciphered intended recipient, Helmut Newton, bring together the worlds of watchmaking, modern art history, popular culture, and royal intrigue, making it one of the most exciting examples of a Calatrava to appear on the market in recent years. With chapters dedicated to Grand Seiko and TimeForArt, an unprecedented auction raising funds for contemporary art, The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN marks an exciting conclusion to the Phillips calendar. We look forward to sharing these extraordinary watches with our dedicated community of collectors across Asia and Europe before exhibiting them in Los Angeles and New York at 432 Park Avenue.”

Cartier, London Crash in 18 Karat Yellow Gold
Cartier, London Crash in 18 Karat Yellow Gold

Cartier, London Crash in 18 Karat Yellow Gold, circa 1970

Estimate: $400,000-800,000

Amongst the top lots of the December auction is a Cartier London Crash, made in 1970, offered directly from the family of the original owner. The famed Crash watch, with its amazing, dream-like curved form, is Cartier’s most radical watch design, surrounded by mythical stories on the origins of its fabled, asymmetric shape.  Despite the countless legends, including ties to Surrealist artist Salvador Dali, the design was actually the brainchild of Jean-Jacques Cartier, Head of Cartier London, and designer Rupert Emmerson, with the original being released in 1967. They modified a Maxi Bagnoire Alongée to make it look as if the watch had been in a crash.  

The watch being offered at Phillips is part of a very limited number of examples produced by Cartier London, featuring London hallmarks on the case back interior, and its original Cartier deployant buckle with similar London hallmarks also dating it to 1970 – both further stamped ‘JC’ for Jean-Jacques Cartier. A possibly unique and unusual aspect of this particular example is the “Swiss Movement” engraved to the case back, a feature not seen on other examples. 

This Cartier Crash is offered for the first time ever by a descendant of the original owner, Daphne Farago. Along with her husband Peter, Daphne was an esteemed art collector and recognized philanthropist with an intelligent eye for American folk art and furniture, contemporary craft, and jewellery. Today, her extraordinary jewellery collection is housed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, donated in 2006. The Crash is an embodiment of her collecting style. She was ahead of her time, seeking artists and artisans whose work displayed an authentic and unique style. She regarded jewellery in the same way and saw these items as a form of public art to be worn and enjoyed.  Her passion and keen eye for wearable works of art is exemplified by the Cartier Crash, and the brand’s commitment to outstanding design.

Well-preserved in outstanding condition with a sharp case and remarkably well-preserved dial, this model is hardly ever seen at auction, and is a breathtakingly rare opportunity to acquire such an important and iconic timepiece.

F.P. Journe, Tourbillon Souverain in Platinum with Salmon Dial
F.P. Journe, Tourbillon Souverain in Platinum with Salmon Dial

F.P. Journe, Tourbillon Souverain in Platinum with Salmon Dial, circa 1999

Estimate: $300,000-600,000

Journe’s interpretation of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s masterful invention of the tourbillon has catapulted his creations into the most esteemed and venerable collections worldwide. An exceptional specimen eve            n disregarding its mechanical ingenuity, this extremely early and rare example of Journe’s Tourbillon with remontoir d’egalité is numbered 038, dating from 1999. The case back engraving style is typical of Journe’s earliest – extremely shallow and also extremely soughtafter. This particular example even exhibits what can be considered a rare error. Engraved ‘In  . Fecit’ instead of ‘Inv. Fecit’ on the caseback, the missing ‘v’ is a charming, human-error on this very early production model.

An extremely small minority of these early tourbillons were fitted with pink gold dials, such as the present number 038, and have highly reflective traits. Scholarship indicates that only six hand-made pink gold dials are known, with the dial exhibiting subtle stripes that attest to its hand-finished nature. Completely original, the dial’s printed text appears as though it is floating over the dial surface – a trait that is prominently featured in this example, where it can almost seem as though one is seeing double. Furthermore, it exhibits the remarkable sheen and luster found in Journe’s’ earliest dials that is today so coveted by collectors. Such early Journe dials often display beautiful variations of patina, taking on colors ranging from a rosé champagne color to a shimmering copper.

The present early Tourbillon Souverain number 038 with an extraordinary pink gold dial, extremely rare even in the rare pantheon of early Journe tourbillons, was purchased by the current consignor from the original owner in 2004. Having remained in the same collection for almost two decades, it is offered with guarantee and presentation box in exemplary condition. 

Patek Philippe, Ref. 3998J-013 Hieroglyph “Helmut Newton”
Patek Philippe, Ref. 3998J-013 Hieroglyph “Helmut Newton”

Patek Philippe, Ref. 3998J-013 Hieroglyph “Helmut Newton” in 18 karat yellow gold, circa 2002

Estimate: $50,000-100,000

Phillips is honored to offer a unique Patek Philippe Calatrava featuring an extraordinary Egyptian hieroglyph dial. The present reference 3998J first appeared at public auction in June 2014 along with two other watches with hieroglyphs, another in yellow gold model and one in titanium. Prior to this auction appearance, no other Patek Philippe timepiece with Egyptian hieroglyph markers were known and no one had ever had them translated.

The choice of hieroglyphs is one of the most unusual and unique options ever found on any Patek Philippe dial. Given the absolute rarity of this dial type, it was certainly a special order by an extremely important Patek Philippe client. Close inspection of the dials of each watch reveals they each have unique hieroglyphic combinations and layouts. Their placement puzzled watch enthusiasts, since they don’t follow the traditional hour marker pattern, with numerals placed around the outer edge of the dial. Phillips is now proud to present the translations of these hieroglyphs for the first time. The dial of the present lot spells out “HALMUT” at 6 o’clock, and “NAUTUN” at 12 o’clock, while the titanium example translates to “SAUD” at 6 o’clock and “AL TANI” at 12 o’clock. The late Saud bin Muhammed Al

Thani, a Qatari Prince who served as Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, was an avid art and watch collector, and the former owner of the famed Henry Graves Supercomplication, which he purchased during the 1999 Time Museum auction in New York City. 

The present yellow gold 3998 represents a surprising discovery; however, when viewed in a broader context, one understands the decision for its creation. At the time of his death, the art collection Al Thani amassed in the span of about a decade was valued at $1.5 billion and included a diverse array of art and objects. Among his many interests was a sustained passion for photography, owning works by Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and, of course, Helmut Newton. In fact, Al Thani and Helmut Newton had a working relationship, with the prince paying Newton $210,000 for a three-day commission. Following this project, one can extrapolate Al Thani most likely had the wristwatch made as a gift for Newton, but never presented it. 

The “Helmut Newton” 3998J is a wonderful representation of Patek Philippe’s iconic Calatrava wristwatch and is offered at auction with a history that is as unique as its dial. With its most probably unique 3998J-013 reference number and Extract from the Archives confirming the Egyptian hieroglyph hour markers, the present lot presents an extremely rare opportunity for the most discriminating connoisseur.

Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon SLGT001
Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon SLGT001

Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon SLGT001, circa 2022

Estimate on request

Phillips is delighted to include a chapter of the auction dedicated to Grand Seiko, which will feature 10 exceptional lots spanning vintage and modern watches from this highly respected Japanese luxury brand. A unique, one-ofone Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon – Grand Seiko’s very first mechanical complication – will lead the group. At its heart is a uniquely innovative movement that delivers a level of stable accuracy unprecedented for Grand Seiko by combining a tourbillon and a constant-force mechanism as one unit on a single axis for the first time in history. The watch is named Kodo, the Japanese word for heartbeat. Featuring an open-work design and sapphire case back, the distinctive nature of its motion and carefully designed sound can be admired at all times by its wearer.

The concept for the unique Kodo model to be sold exclusively by Phillips was based on musō 無双, which roughly translates to “one and only” or “second to none.” A fitting term for this one-of-a-kind piece, the Kodo SLGT001 differs in several important ways compared to the global model limited to 20 pieces, reference SLGT003.

First, the multi-component case structure is made of Grand Seiko’s proprietary alloy, Brilliant Hard Titanium. This material, which is used on only the outer case and outer construction of the bezel of SLGT003, is used for both the inner and exterior case components to reduce weight and achieve a comfortable feel. Brilliant Hard Titanium is as light as pure titanium but twice as hard as stainless steel and, therefore, highly resistant to scratches. Its color is brighter than other forms of titanium used by Grand Seiko, allowing the Zaratsu polished surfaces to stand out more prominently.

The bridges, mainplate, and many of the components of the movement are plated in a silver color to create an entirely new aesthetic for the Kodo. A yellow-gold accent for the power reserve and seconds track of the carriage inherits the aesthetic of the T0 concept movement.

The GS letters are specially engraved by hand on the Brilliant Hard Titanium clasp by Grand Seiko’s very best engravers. The watch is offered with a unique, brown-colored calf strap specially treated in the same traditional way as was used to create the high-durability material once used in the armor of the Samurai. The strap’s surface is painted by hand with Urushi lacquer in a multi-coating process that gives the strap a delicate sheen.

Accompanying the unique piece Kodo SLGT001 will be an exclusive trip to Japan to meet its creators, the Grand Seiko team, and a visit to Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi in Japan’s Iwate prefecture.

Grand Seiko will be donating proceeds from the December auction to charity. The profit from the sale of select modern timepieces will be donated to the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Miami, Florida. Its commitment to the environment perfectly aligns with the brand’s “Nature of Time” philosophy and recognizes the importance of the natural world as a source of inspiration and creativity.  For the piece-unique Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon, a portion of the sale will be donated to the Children’s Heart Foundation. The Children’s Heart Foundation is the leading organization dedicated to funding congenital heart defect research.


Phillips will also offer 17 watches to benefit Swiss Institute in a special section of the sale called TimeForArt, marking the first-ever watch auction to support contemporary art.  The timepieces curated for TimeForArt express the most artistic elements of contemporary watchmaking, shining a light on the creative minds of modern horology. With the theme of artists for artists, all featured watches are either unique collaborations with world-renowned artisans, collaborations by leading contemporary artists, bespoke examples of innovative craftsmanship, or coveted limited-edition timepieces. The inaugural edition of TimeForArt gathers exceptional timepieces from the world’s foremost watchmakers – all offered with “no reserve” – and with 100% of the proceeds supporting today’s most visionary artists through Swiss Institute’s innovative exhibitions, public programs, education, and community engagement workshops in New York and beyond. Timepieces that will be auctioned as part of TimeForArt include: a unique timepiece by world-renowned enamel artist Anita Porchet with award-winning independent Swiss watchmaker Romain Gauthier, a unique piece by legendary luxury watchmaking and jewelry house Chopard, and a uniquely sized hourglass collaboration between independent watchmaker De Bethune and design legend Marc Newson.

Auction: 10-11 December 2022
Location: 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Click here for more information: 

The team of specialists at Phillips Watches is dedicated to an uncompromised approach to quality, transparency, and client service, achieving a global auction sale total of $209.3 million in 2021, the most successful year for any auction house in watch auction history.
A selection of our record-breaking prices:
1. Paul Newman’s Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona reference 6239 (CHF 17,709,894 / US$17,752,500) – New York Auction: Winning Icons – 26 October 2017 – Highest result ever achieved for any vintage wristwatch at auction.
2. Patek Philippe reference 1518 in stainless steel (CHF 11,020,000 / US$11,112,020) – Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR – 12 November 2016 – Highest result ever achieved for a vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch at auction.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

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