Phillips Reveals Highlights from Upcoming Geneva Watch Auction

The auctioneer's upcoming Geneva sale features historically important watches, including a trio of Patek Philippe 1518s, as well as timepieces with intriguing backstories.

The star attraction of PhillipsThe Geneva Watch Auction: Four that takes place in mid November is undoubtedly the Patek Philippe ref. 1518 in stainless steel, one of just four made – it might just become the most expensive wristwatch ever sold when the hammer comes down.

But alongside the steel 1518 Phillips has also lined up two more ref. 1518s, in pink and yellow gold. That’s three 1518s in one auction, out of just 281 made.

Dial detail of the ref. 1518 in steel

Ref. 1518 in yellow gold

Less expensive but with an arguably more compelling tale to tell is the Patek Philippe ref. 565 “The Night Watchman”, a stainless steel, time-only wristwatch that once belonged to Patek Philippe’s night watchman. The watch was a gift from the firm for his service. Fitted with a black dial featuring luminescent radium numbers and hands, this is likely a one of a kind watch, giving it an estimate of SFr200,000 to SFr400,000.

Phillips GWA4 Patek 565 Night Watchman

Phillips GWA4 Patek 565 Night Watchman dial

Another watch with a story behind it is the Breguet Type XX owned by Sir Jack Brabham. Sold in 1960, this wristwatch was a gift from Esso to the British Formula One racing champion after he appeared in the American oil company’s advertising. A dedication on the back attests to that. The estimate is SFr20,000 to SFr40,000.

Phillips GWA4 Breguet Type XX Jack Brabham

Phillips GWA4 Breguet Type XX Jack Brabham back

One of the most historically important watches in the sale is the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Alaska II”, one of just three experimental prototypes made in 1970 for NASA’s study into living in extreme environments. It’s essentially a Speedmaster with a removable, extra-large outer case made of red aluminium, intended to protect the watch from the elements. This carries an estimate of SFr100,000 to SFr200,000.

Phillips GWA4 Omega Alaska 2 Project

Phillips GWA4 Omega Alaska 2 Project cert

No high profile watch auction is complete without valuable vintage Rolex and Phillips continue to deliver amply in this regard. The Rolex ref. 6085 “The Dragon” is one of the top lots of the auction, estimated at SFr500,000 to SFr1m. Made in 1951 and fitted with a cloisonné enamel dial featuring a dragon motif, this is just one of five Rolex watches with a dragon dial. Each of these five, however, have a different model reference, meaning every one is most likely unique.

Phillips GWA4 Rolex 6085 Dragon

Phillips GWA4 Rolex 6085 Dragon dial

Naturally the auction also includes the requisite Cosmograph Paul Newmans. One of the key Daytonas in the sale is the Rolex ref. 6263 “Panda” with a Tiffany & Co. signed dial. Never sold before at auction and according to Phillips, the only Paul Newman signed by the American jeweller, this is estimated at SFr250,000 to SFr500,000.

Phillips GWA4 Rolex Panda Paul Newman Tiffany

Phillips GWA4 Rolex Panda Paul Newman Tiffany dial

Preview and sale information

The full catalogue for the sale will be published in early October 2016.

Sale highlights will be on show in Hong Kong from October 1 to 5, then New York from October 13 to 17, and finally London from October 22 to 24.

The auction exhibition takes place November 10 to 13 at Hôtel La Reserve in Geneva, and the auction itself happens over two days on November 12 and 13 at the same venue.

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