The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Phillips – The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

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Following its most successful year ever, with a market-leading annual auction total of over US$133 million, Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is delighted to announce exceptional highlights to be included in The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII on May 8 & 9, 2021 in Geneva. Leading the auction, a full set of Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph reference 2499 series comes from a prestigious single-owner collection that took almost 20 years of dedication to assemble & an incredibly rare Patek Philippe Reference 5004 to be offered with no reserve.

Among other highlights, the Harry Winston Opus One by F.P. Journe, a Series 1 “Theo Fennel” in white gold by Roger Smith, an impressive selection of RolexPatek Philippe and Audemars Piguet models. Relevant and important watches to be offered from prestigious brands also include models by A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Zenith, Longines and IWC.

Phillips – The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII – Highlights

Following the announcement of four extraordinary Patek Philippe reference 2499s, Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is pleased to reveal additional highlights from The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII, to be held in Geneva on 8 to 9 May, 2021. A leading highlight of the sale, to be offered without reserve, is the incredibly rare and important Patek Philippe stainless steel split-seconds perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, reference 5004 (CHF200,000 – 400,000).

Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, Head of Watches, Continental Europe and Middle East, jointly said: “We have curated an exceptional selection of watches spanning most of the 20th and 21st centuries, demonstrating the savoir-faire, technical and design prowess of the watch industry. On offer are watches that will attract both the budding enthusiast and most seasoned collector. What these watches all have in common is their rarity, state of preservation and relevance in the horological sphere today.”

The selection is led by important watches from powerhouses including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille. Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo also continues its tradition of empowering Independent Watchmakers by curating a selection of Independent Watches from titans such as F.P. Journe and Roger Smith.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Patek Philippe

Beyond our four headline reference 2499s, Phillips is proud to offer a stainless steel split seconds perpetual calendar wristwatch, reference 5004, offered without reserve (CHF 200,000 – 400,000). One of the most important variants of the reference, it is said that only 50 examples were ever made in stainless steel upon discontinuation of the reference, with only six of them ever having graced the auction market. So rare is this version that the model never officially made it into any Patek Philippe catalogue and was reserved only for the brand’s very top clients and available upon application.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Further impressive timepieces include a series of automatic perpetual calendar wristwatches, such as a reference 3448 in white gold with light grey dial and original bracelet (CHF200,000 – 400,000).

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

In terms of modern watches, the sale presents an incredibly rare and attractive split seconds chronograph wristwatch, reference 5950, in pink gold with pink dial and limited to 15 pieces, marking the first time this configuration is available on the auction market (CHF200,000 – 400,000).

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII


The selection of Rolex timepieces includes specimens rarely seen on the market. Of particularly rarity and importance is a stainless steel reference 6036, retailed by Joyeria Riviera (CHF 150,000 – 250,000). Originally consigned by the first owner at auction over a decade ago and reappearing only once more since, it remains in extremely attractive and original condition and is one among a handful of Killys with this retailer-stamped dial. Few retailers have had the opportunity to stamp their name on Rolex timepieces, and doing so was an honour. Together with storied institutions such as Tiffany & Co., Asprey, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, Joyeria Riviera signed their name on watches, which remain favourites amongst collectors due to their exclusivity and aesthetic flair. The flamboyant loops and curves of the Joyeria Riviera signature are particularly beautiful and when such prestigious watches appear on the market, they are not to be missed.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

A particularly rare and important timepiece is the platinum reference 1831, the exclusive – and elusive – automatic platinum Day-Date that is fitted in an OysterQuartz case (CHF140,000 – 280,000). In fact, the reference can be considered the most mystical among all Day-Dates ever produced. According to our research, reference 1831 was manufactured in 1977, exclusively for the Shah of Iran. The watches were gifted to His Majesty’s most distinguished dignitaries, and members of his close circle. Research suggests that the model was released in eight examples only, with each watch cased exclusively in platinum. The present watch offered is engraved No 001 to the case back, leading us to believe that it was the first within the batch to be released, further highlighting its importance and rarity in the collecting sphere.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

A number of stainless steel Daytona “Paul Newmans” are also available, ranging from a reference including a 6241 with ivory dial (CHF120,000 – 220,000).

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Another noteworthy stainless steel timepiece is a Submariner reference 5513 with “explorer” underline dial (CHF100,000 – 200,000). Preserved in extremely original condition and with its factory sticker still intact, the watch displays a beautiful glossy gilt dial with double “- T <25” inscriptions at 6 o’clock, along with the famous “3, 6 and 9” in luminous Arabic numerals.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Audemars Piguet’s introduction of the Royal Oak marked the beginning of the luxury sports watch market we know today. Launched in 1972 at Basel Fair, it caused an immediate sensation as the watch industry had never seen anything comparable before. Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has compiled one of its largest and most comprehensive series of Royal Oaks available at auction to date.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Highlights include a “B” series reference 5402 (CHF40,000 – 80,000). Additionally, there are a number of complicated Royal Oaks, including  a platinum and pink gold skeletonized perpetual calendar wristwatch, one of only 25 pieces ever made (CHF60,000 – 120,000).

Two early E-series Royal Oak Offshore “Beasts” are present as well, with one in stainless steel (CHF20,000 – 40,000) and another in yellow gold (CHF40,000 – 70,000).

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Richard Mille

An important Richard Mille is to be offered – a RM022, the Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Red-White-Blue Limited Edition with warranty and presentation box (CHF250,000 – 500,000). Made of quartz TPT and carbon TPT, the watches were released in three series, with 10 piece each in red, white or blue, the present timepiece being the red version. The case of this incredible timepiece is made from ultra-strong and light quartz TPT while the middle is made from carbon TPT. In order to create the bright red case, thin fibers of quartz with a thickness of no more than 45 microns were first aligned and saturated in colored resins, and then heated and subjected to a pressure of 6 bar before being machined.

Independent Watchmaking

Continuing our tradition of empowering and shining a spotlight on Independent Watchmakers, Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is proud to present a number of important wristwatches such as an Opus One with tourbillon in platinum by F.P. Journe in collaboration with Harry Winston, and a Series 1 in white gold by Roger Smith.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

F.P. Journe and Harry Winston Tourbillon

Phillips is also proud to present the Harry Winston Opus One with tourbillon in platinum (CHF150,000 – 300,000), made in collaboration with F.P. Journe. During his time as CEO of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in the early 2000s, Max Büsser launched the Opus Series. Teaming up with young independent watchmakers, Harry Winston’s collaborative project created watches that combined both the genetic codes of Harry Winston and each watchmaker, gifting the world some of the most unusual, fascinating and complex timepieces to ever see the light of day. The very first Opus project was launched in 2001 – Büsser had partnered with at-the-time, up and coming watchmaker F.P. Journe to create the Opus 1, which also demonstrated Büsser’s vision of the future. The result was not one, but three models housing Journe’s signature creations: the Octa with power reserve display, the Chronomètre à Resonance and the present Tourbillon with Remontoire d’Egalité.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Roger Smith

Appearing on the auction market for the very first time is a Series 1 “Theo Fennel” in white gold by Roger Smith (CHF40,000 – 80,000). A living legend, Roger Smith is one of the most respected and leading independent watchmakers today, having worked as George Daniels’ sole apprentice. Working on the Isle of Man, each timepiece is painstakingly finished by hand with incredibly limited outputs each year. The Series 1 represents Smith’s very first indelible mark in the world of Independent Watchmaking. Launched in 2001, the Series 1 was Smith’s very first series of timepieces. Impressed by A. Lange & Söhne’s Arkade model, Smith decided to create a rectangular case housing a rectangular movement.

Heavily inspired by Daniel’s work, the watch displays an intricate guilloché dial, retrograde date and a rectangular movement with typical English finishes, such as frosted and gilded plates, gold chatons and heat-colored screws.

Of the nine rectangular Series 1s ever made, three of them were part of the “ONELY” series commissioned by celebrated London jeweler Theo Fennell, such as the present timepiece. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a Roger Smith Series 1 “Theo Fennel” has ever been offered at international auction, making it a unique opportunity not to be missed.

Other interesting and attractive wristwatches to be offered from Independent Watchmakers include brands such as Urwerk, De Bethune and MB&F.


Far too numerous to mention, but other relevant and important watches to be offered from prestigious brands include A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Zenith, Longines and IWC.

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