Capping a stellar Autumn-Winter season, a spectacular watch offering for fans of audacious mechanics and iconic designs
Where else but in New York: Christie’s Watches captures the spirit of independence and the mystique of icon status in watchmaking
Christie’s Fine Watchmaking: Important Timepieces and the Independent Collection Online Auction | 24 November – 10 December
Over 200 lots | Total Estimation: In excess of USD 3M
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon ‘Invention Piece 3’ in white gold
Rolex ‘Turn-O-Graph’ Ref. 6202 in steel, circa 1954, formerly owned by Eric Clapton
New York, 22 November 2021 – Preparing for a strong finale, Christie’s Fine Watchmaking: Important Timepieces and the Independent Collection Online Auction will delight those who appreciate of unique creations, iconic designs, timeless craftsmanship, inventive engineering and centuries of heritage. The fabulous and just as desirable Greubel Forsey Tourbillon ‘Invention Piece 3’ in white gold 18k, No. 9 of a limited edition of only 11 pieces is one of the amazing rarities to be brought to auction by Christie’s.
Amongst the other highlights of this sale: a highly sought-after Rolex, the famous Ref. 6202 Turn-O-Graph in steel formerly owned by Eric Clapton; an early brass movement F.P. Journe Octa in rose gold; the Patek Philippe Celestial Ref. 5102G as well as a Rolex Ref. 8171 ‘Padellone’ and a Rolex ‘Big Red’ Daytona Ref. 6263 in stainless steel.
Exceptional pieces from Patek Philippe, Breguet, A. Lange & Söhne, and Rolex will be presented alongside a curated collection of works by independent watchmakers such as FP Journe, MB&F, Urwerk, Richard Mille, and others.
New York Fine Watchmaking: Important Timepieces | 24 November – 10 December
Lot 219 – F.P. Journe, Réserve de Marche Octa, in 18k pink gold, with 120-hour power reserve. Introduced in 2001, the Réserve de Marche Octa was the first automatic movement to deliver precision timekeeping with a power reserve of 120 hours.
Earliest examples, such as this one, were made with rhodium-plated brass movements. In 2004, as the brand quickly matured and took manufacturing to the next level, brass made way for 18K gold.
As only the earliest watches house brass movements, across all lines, pieces such as the present watch are extremely desirable – and are further notable for having straight Côtes de Genève finishes (Est. USD 100,000-140,000| EUR 87,000-120,000).
Lot 22 – Rolex ‘Padellone’, 18k yellow gold, triple calendar, Ref. 8171. Padellone is Italian for ‘large frying pan’ in Italian. Indeed, if the case size is appropriately modern at 38mm, it was quite definitely an avant-garde outlier when it came out in the early 1950s. The Padellone is one of only two vintage Rolex models with moon phase, making it both aesthetically fascinating and highly collectable. It is estimated that no more than 1,500 pcs were produced it total, with approximately only 25% of the total inventory in yellow gold. The automatic movement is housed in an extraordinary case made by none other than Favre-Perret in La-Chaux-de-Fonds. Fresh to market, this Rolex 8171 comes from the family of the original owner.
(Est. USD 40,000-50,000 | EUR 35,000-43,000)
Lot 109 – Patek Philippe Celestial with Sky Chart, 18k white gold, self-winding mechanical movement, Ref. 5102. A milestone in Patek Philippe’s grand tradition of astronomical watches, the Celestial devotes its dial to a rotating chart of the heavenly bodies.
The owner may admire the exact configuration of the nocturnal sky in the northern hemisphere, with the apparent movement of the stars and the phases and orbit of the moon.
Two skeletonised hands point to the hours and minutes of mean solar time. An ellipse, deposited on the underside of the sapphire glass, frames the portion of the sky visible from Geneva and all other cities located at the same latitude.
(Est. USD 120,000-180,000 | EUR 110,000-160,000)
Lot 20 – Rolex ‘Big Red’ Daytona Ref. 6263, in stainless steel. This exceptionally well preserved, iconic and thus highly collectable ‘Big Red’ Daytona is from 1984. Instantly recognisable as the legend it has become, this ‘Big Red’ features a flawless black dial with warm and equally flawless chronograph registers. The fully intact domed lume plots have developed a beautiful patina, matching the hands perfectly. The razor-sharp case exhibits its proper and original factory proportions in original and untouched condition.
This highly sought-after exemplar of one of the most desirable Rolex references is fresh to market and from the family of the original owner.
(Est. USD 60,000-80,000 | EUR 53,000-70,000)
Lot 222 – Greubel Forsey, Invention Piece 3, Tourbillon, 24-hour display with minutes, small seconds and 72 hours power reserve, 18k white gold, No. 9 of a limited edition of 11 pieces. Circa 2010.
To pay homage to their third invention, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey took on the challenge of housing a mechanism combining complex and innovative techniques within an unprecedented architectural setting. The third invention consists of a single ultralight tourbillon cage inclined at a 25-degree angle and performing a rapid rotation in 24 seconds which can be viewed via top sapphire crystal as well as a lateral window with shaped sapphire crystal, a truly unique and original mechanism which guarantees maximum efficiency and optimal performance on the wrist.
A personal message written in French from Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey is engraved on a gold crescent-shaped plate visible through the case back, providing some insight into the creation of this extraordinary mechanism. This exceptional and exquisitely balanced timepiece expresses a rare degree of innovation and technical mastery, made all the more remarkable by its exceptional hand finishing.
Creating a watch of such unique character has led its designers to surpass themselves – and push the limits of the possible. Greubel Forsey defines micromechanical inventions of the 21st century through the mechanisms it designs, but also through the interpretation and architecture it gives them. This Invention Piece 3 is clearly a feast for the eyes of dreamers and the hearts of engineers (Est. USD 150,000-250,000 | EUR 130,000-220,000).
Lot 117 – Rolex, Turn-O-Graph, Ref. 6202, in steel, formerly owned by Eric Clapton. Circa 1954.
The Turn-O-Graph 6202 launched in 1953 stands for Rolex’ first true golden age. Debuting at Baselworld in that year, the Ref. 6202 can best be described as the pre-Submariner, in the same way that the groundwork for the Daytona was laid with the Ref. 6238. Most of the elements that defined these now-icons where either already present or clearly hinted at – bar the name. The minimalist lines, the black dial with its signature hour markers, the rugged yet elegant Oyster bracelet – but most of all, the inimitable rotating bezel. The Turn-O-Graph then, is the first serially-produced watch to sport the innovative and game-changing addition that would be adopted not only by the Submariner, but several other of the brand-with-the-crown’s most beloved and successful models. This desirable timepiece was formerly part of Eric Clapton’s important Rolex collection (Est. USD 20,000-40,000 | EUR 18,000-35,000).
New York Exhibition | 3 – 7 December
Viewing by appointment at Christie’s New York from 3-7 December.