Watches - 2nd page
See also : Time instruments Mechanical craft ca 1800 Jaquet-Droz and followers Super watches Inventions Revolution and Empire
Chronology : 1650-1659 1800-1809 1810-1819 1968 1970 1983
ca 1650 Three Virtues in a Watch
2019 SOLD for £ 2.17M including premium
Jean Toutin applied his method to watches that were appreciated at the court of Louis XIII but also in England. No piece created by him has survived but his technique had a few followers and is known as Blois-style enamel work.
Six pocket watches have survived with a turquoise blue decoration made around 1650 in the style of Blois. A certain similarity may suggest that this camaieu was made by a single artist but the dials are signed by six different watchmakers, three in London, two in Paris and one in Bordeaux.
The watch signed by a man named Jehan Cremsdorff in Paris uses several enamel techniques. The exterior of its cover and back is decorated in enamel on chased gold, with a champlevé relief flower pattern on a turquoise background. One of these sides is cloisonné. The inner walls of both the cover and the back and the dial are decorated in the Blois-style blue. These three figures are reproductions of allegories of Virtues edited as engravings by Abraham Bosse around 1636. It is also inlaid with diamonds.
This Cremsdorff specimen is a 6 cm diameter verge escapement watch, 7.6 cm in height including the pendant. It has a single hand which is normal for its time : the minute hand will be available on watches from 1687.
It was sold for CHF 1.8M by Christie's on May 13, 1986, a very high price for a pocket watch at that time (for information, 1 CHF was worth between 0.48 and 0.62 USD in 1986). It is estimated £ 700K for sale by Sotheby's in London on July 3, lot 4.
#AuctionUpdate: Landmark price for a 17th century watch: Jehan Cremsdorff’s extraordinary gold, enamel and diamond-set verge watch, circa 1650 - an early masterpiece of enamel work - just fetched $2.7m in our London Treasures sale #SothebysWatches pic.twitter.com/I2S0lH04VI— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) July 3, 2019
1800 Breguet at the Time of the Marie-Antoinette
2016 SOLD for CHF 3.25M including premium
This enthusiast who played for Breguet a similar role as Graves with Patek Philippe 150 years later was probably the Count Fersen known as a fervent admirer of the Queen of France and the watch was named the Marie-Antoinette. It was completed in 1827, four years after the death of Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Breguet was the most skilful watchmaker of his time and the Marie-Antoinette could be used as a kind of prototype. On May 16 in Geneva, Christie's offers a high complication watch sold new in 1800 of our calendar (An VIII of the Republican calendar) to General Moreau. It is estimated CHF 600K, lot 123.
This pocket watch 55 mm in diameter has the serial number No. 217 of the brand. It is the only example beside the Marie-Antoinette to offer in the same case the perpetual motion and the equation of time.
The perpétuelle is a self winding mechanism with an oscillating weight offering 60 hours of autonomy from the effect of moderate movements of the user, with a protection against shocks on horseback. The equation of time is a correction of the difference between standard and solar times which can reach up to 16 minutes.
This piece does not include the technique of the tourbillon invented by Breguet in 1801. The steadiness is ensured by the échappement libre à ancre (lever escapement), another difficulty that only Breguet knew to overcome.
General Moreau died in the battle of Dresden in 1813. Breguet reacquired the 217 and modernized the dial before selling it in 1817 to Charles-Louis Havas, the financier who became famous for opening in Paris in 1832 the first ever newspaper translation business which became in 1835 his Havas Agency.
1805 Amphora Automaton watch attributed to Piguet et Capt
2002 SOLD for CHF 4M (worth at that time US $ 2.4M) including premium by Antiquorum
1814 Breguet, the Physicist of Time
2012 SOLD 4.3 MCHF including premium
The eighteenth century had highly important mechanics. Abraham-Louis Breguet, micro-mechanical genius, settled into pocket watches the most extraordinary complications of the clocks, and was the inventor of basic concepts such as the tourbillon and the wristwatch.
On May 14 in Geneva, Christie's sells two Breguet watches, each estimated CHF 800K. Both have two main dials, but for quite different reasons.
The earliest, sold in 1814, has two similar and symmetrical complete mechanisms. The idea of the inventor was to compensate the mechanical resonance, a source of error that was a challenge for the watchmakers. This is the first of three watches made by Breguet on this principle. The other two will be provided to the kings of England and France. Here is the link to the catalog.
The complication of the other is even more spectacular. One mechanism provides the official time calculated according to a regular day of 24 hours, and the other mechanism provides real solar time as it was read from sundials at the ground. The motion drift of earth and sun can reach a quarter of an hour, almost repetitively from year to year.
This specimen with the equation of time, sold in 1827, is posthumous. Antoine-Louis Breguet had succeeded his father. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
Forget the estimates. The press release was convincing, and the two Breguet watches are masterpieces from one of the most brilliant periods of watchmaking.
Technically very bold, the watch with two movements from 1814 was sold CHF 4.3 million including premium.
The watch with the equation of time was sold CHF 2.55 million including premium.
1952 The Whim of an Emperor
2017 SOLD for CHF 5.1M including premium
In the spring of 1954 the peace negotiations are held at the Hôtel des Bergues in Geneva. We easily understand that they are exhausting for Bao Dai. One day under an excuse of fatigue he leaves the conference, crosses the street and enters the shop of a retailer. He wants to take as a souvenir from Geneva a Rolex wristwatch that matches his high rank.
The employees are eager to satisfy this wealthy client but he refuses all the pieces that are brought to him. They manage to make him wait until the coming of a Rolex emissary with the most luxurious available watch of the brand, waiting for a customer in their headquarters since 1952. Bao Dai is happy to purchase this watch which now has on its case the slight wear of his frequent use.
This yellow gold Rolex 6062 features in its water-resistant Oyster type case a triple day-date-month calendar and the phases of the moon. Its black dial is embellished with the five indexes of even hours that are realized in diamonds. This is the only unit in this configuration. Two other watches are known with diamonds at the six odd indexes.
Directly coming from the family of the fallen emperor, the Bao Dai Rolex was sold for CHF 370K on 18 November 2002 by Phillips, de Pury et Luxembourg. It returns to the same auction house, now Phillips, on May 13 in Geneva, lot 93. The press release of March 27 announces an estimate in excess of US $ 1.5M worth CHF 1.5M.
1968 The Exotic Daytona
2017 SOLD for $ 17.8M including premium
Paul Newman discovers the joys of car racing in 1968 when he plays with Joanne Woodward for the movie Winning which will be released in the following year. Joanne is his wife in this film and since 1958 in life. She is unfaithful in the film and madly in love in their privacy.
Joanne is worried about Paul's new passion for this dangerous sport. She offers him in 1968 a Daytona 6239 exotic on the back of which she has made inscribed the good advice "Drive Carefully Me".
Hyperactive and philanthropist, Paul is one of Hollywood's most popular personalities. Maniac in the accuracy of time, he is crazy about his 6239. Readers of magazines have fun to see Paul exhibiting regularly on his wrist this Rolex, recognizable from a distance by the simplicity of its design with the three sub-dials. Since the mid-1980s, exotic Daytonas have been nicknamed Paul Newman by the collectors without the intervention of the brand and without distinction of models (6239, 6241 and 6262 to 6265).
Paul is nice. One day when his daughter Nell's boyfriend forgot his watch, he gave him the 6239. Nell and James later separated without ceasing to cooperate closely. This eponymous watch to all the Daytona Paul Newman lineage is for sale by Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo on October 26 in New York, lot 8. Its consignor is James and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Nell Newman Foundation created by Nell in 2010 to continue the charitable work of her father.
This watch intensely used by Paul has never been modified or reworked. It joins the glamor of Hollywood with the beautiful story of the two generations of Newmans. Observers consider that its estimate at $ 1M will be exceeded.
It is the first of three watches of that next sale discussed by the auctioneer Aurel Bacs in the video shared by Hong Kong Tatler.
1969 Waterproof Chronographs by Rolex
2017 SOLD for CHF 3.7M including premium
Another innovation is the improvement of the waterproofness by screw down pushers which will facilitate the industrial production of watches for the use of deep sea diving.
Launched in 1969 the 6263 type is most often assembled with pre-existing case backs of 6239 type. The design is not immediately stabilized and tiny differences of inscriptions or colors are considered now by collectors among the rarest sub-variants of the brand. The rest of this discussion refers solely to 6263 Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman wristwatches built in 1969.
A stainless steel watch of the sub variant named Sotto due to the unusual position of its inscriptions on the dial was sold for CHF 2M including premium by Phillips on May 14, 2016 over a lower estimate of CHF 750K. Named RCO for another inscription variant, a 6263 was sold for CHF 990K including premium by Christie's on November 10, 2013.
The "lemon" and the "tropical panda" are two other variants of the dial. A Tropical Panda was sold for CHF 930K including premium by Phillips on May 14, 2016.
On May 15 in Geneva, Christie's sells a previously unknown stainless steel Sotto, lot 223 estimated CHF 450K.
On May 14 in Geneva, Phillips sells two watches also belonging to the above categories. Lot 235, estimated CHF 350K, is in stainless steel. Lot 237, estimated CHF 800K, is one of the rarest variants : a very elegant yellow gold 6263 watch with lemon dial and screw down pushers.
Phillips lot 235 : SOLD for CHF 550K including premium
Phillips lot 237 : SOLD for CHF 3.7M including premium
Christie's : unsold
1970 A White Gold Chronograph
2018 SOLD for CHF 5.9M including premium
Experts of Rolex's practices considered that a white gold Daytona was unbelievable. On November 21, 2013 Hodinkee publishes an interview with the Italian specialized author John Goldberger who unveils rare pieces from his collection. The miracle occurs at 04:30 of the video inserted in that article : Goldberger wears on his wrist the only known example of a Daytona in white gold. There may have never been any other similar piece, not in white gold, nor in pink gold, nor in platinum.
This watch is a 6265. The Rolex archives retrieved the dates of its production, in 1970, and of its delivery to a German retailer in the following year. In 2018 Hodinkee observes that the crown has remained in stainless steel, probably indicating that the metal of the case has been changed in the factory. The reason for this special operation has not been found.
Paul Newman's Daytona was sold for $ 17.8M including premium by Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo on October 26, 2017, demonstrating that an exceptional Rolex can fetch a sensational price. Goldberger decided to sell his 6265/9 entirely for the Children Action charity. It is estimated CHF 3M for sale on May 12 in Geneva by Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo, lot 8.
Gold is heavier than stainless steel and it was the unusual weight of this 6265 that attracted Goldberger many years ago when he inspected it before buying.
Please watch the video shared by Pucci Papaleo, the curator appointed by Phillips for this 32-lot Daytona Ultimatum auction.
1982 The Equation of the Astronauts
2019 SOLD for £ 3.6M including premium
The equation of time is the difference between the apparent time, which can also be read on a sundial, and the sidereal time which takes its reference in the position of the fixed stars. This difference is an annual cycle due to the obliquity of the Earth and the ellipticity of its orbit.
The first pocket watch in which Daniels included the equation of time is his ninth opus, Elsom II, in 1975.
George Daniels was known for his wit. In 1979 he states that the accuracy of measurement obtained by Margetts, 1.8 seconds per year, is not sufficient for the control of time by an astronaut on his way to Mars. An astronomer from Cambridge University calculates for him a ratio between the two escapement wheels that will reduce the variance to 0.4 seconds per year.
The first pocket watch incorporating these new data is George Daniels' fifteenth opus, the Space Traveller, which also offers the annual calendar and the phases of the Moon. In 1982, shortly after finishing his Space Traveller, Daniels sold it to a collector, probably to meet a prior commitment.
Frustrated that he had parted away from his Space Traveller I, Daniels realized in 1983 the Space Traveller II, on which he added a chronograph and a thermometer. He did not let go this specimen that allowed him to behave like an astronaut in the salons. His fourth and last pocket watch to include the equation of time is the Grand Complication, in 1987.
The Space Traveller I is estimated £ 700K for sale by Sotheby's in London on July 2, lot 143. Space Traveller II was sold for £ 3.2M including premium by Sotheby's on September 19, 2017. Grand Complication was sold for CHF 2.4M including premium by Phillips on May 11, 2019.
1982-1983 George Daniels as a Sidereal Traveller
2017 SOLD for £ 3.2M including premium
Fascinated by watches, George Daniels chose to devote his professional life to them. A repair craftsman of great skill, he became a specialist of Breguet and then made his own watches with an increasing complexity.
In the era of quartz watches, Daniels managed to demonstrate that mechanical watches could still be fully competitive. His invention of the co-axial escapement which suppresses the need for a lubricant is one of the most important advances in watchmaking since Breguet.
In a career that began in 1970, Daniels has completed 37 watches made entirely in his workshop from elementary components to final assembly. Sotheby's devoted an exhibition to them in London in 2006.
Daniels was a lover of great mechanics. The remarkable Bentley Blower racing car sold for £ 5M including premium by Bonhams on 29 June 2012 came from his deceased estate.
I am listing below four watches from his personal work. These 2012 results include the premium.
Made circa 1982, the Space Travellers' watch including a double-wheel escapement was sold for £ 1.33M.
Made around 1987 the Grand Complication watch is a very good example of Daniels' co-axial escapement. It was sold for £ 915K.
As its name suggests, the First wristwatch made circa 1991 is a rare example of a wristwatch incorporating the co-axial escapement. It was sold for £ 385K. A more recent watch made in 1994 was sold for £ 660K over an estimate of £ 300K.
The Space Travellers' watch comes back to Sotheby's in London on September 19, lot 121 estimated £ 1.2M. It is a great opportunity to revisit its remarkable complication. Made in 1982 the only other example is simpler, without a chronograph function : the 2012 catalogue reminded that it was sold for CHF 220K by Sotheby's on November 17, 1988.
Based on a different denting of the two wheels Daniels had been able to realize a watch compensating at the will of the user the difference of 3.555 minutes per day between solar and sidereal times. Well aware that it was a sensational horological feat Dr Daniels exhibited it sometimes at events as a dress watch, stating that it was the suitable instrument to control the time in a long telephone conversation during a trip to Mars.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's before the 2012 sale.
from 1983 A Collection of 4370 Swatch watches
2011 SOLD for HK$ 51M including premium by Phillips
from 1983 The Swatch Brand
2015 SOLD for HK$ 47M including premium
The idea of the founders was to reduce as much as possible the number of components in order to minimize the production costs. The technical challenge was to maintain in these conditions the accuracy of the instrument while ensuring an acceptable operating duration.
The marketing has been very innovative, promoting fun illustrations and even unprecedented uses. The user can pin his Swatch watch on his jacket or tie with it her ponytail. In 1985, some limited editions are illustrated by artists. Swatch collaborated with Kiki Picasso and Keith Haring, without neglecting the popular themes such as movies and sports competitions.
On November 24, 2011, Phillips sold the Blum collection as a single lot for HK $ 51M including premium. Composed of a total of 4370 pieces, this set included 795 prototypes, some of them predating the 1983 original release.
On April 7 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells the Dunkel collection, lot 2189. This superlot consists of 5800 pieces including 45 prototypes, mainly from 1983 to 2008. Here is the link to the press release.