Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Söhne Highlights at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction

The best in contemporary haute horlogerie.

The very first sale under the leadership of recently appointed department head Sam Hines, Sotheby’s upcoming Hong Kong watch auction is a 424-lot event with something for everyone. As is typical for a Hong Kong watch auction, the sale includes an assortment of desirable vintage and modern watches, including a Rolex Daytona “Lemon” as well as a Patek Philippe ref. 5970G made for Eric Clapton.

Here’s a selection of sale highlights from two preeminent names in fine watchmaking – A. Lange & Söhne and Patek Philippe. The full catalogue is also available online at Sotheby’s.

Lot 2779 – Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5719/1G-001

Set with almost 10 carats of brilliant cut diamonds, as well as three baguettes for the quarters, this Patek Philippe Nautilus is a value proposition as far as diamond-set Nautilus watches go. That might be hard to believe, but this is almost half the price of similar Nautilus models decorated with baguette diamonds or other coloured gemstones.

Patek Nautilus diamonds ref. 5719

Almost every visible surface of the watch, save for the “ears” of the case, is paved with diamonds.

Patek Nautilus diamonds ref. 5719-3

Patek Nautilus diamonds ref. 5719-4

Another notable feature are the large black lacquered hands that give the watch a strangely sensible degree of legibility. They sit on a dial that retains the signature linear motif of the Nautilus, except instead of stamped guilloche it’s made up of rows of diamonds.

Patek Nautilus diamonds ref. 5719-2

The watch itself is identical in size to the steel ref. 5711, with the case and bracelet in 18k white gold. Inside is the cal. 324 automatic movement.

Patek Nautilus diamonds ref. 5719-5

The diamond-set Nautilus is estimated at HK$1.5m to HK$2.0m, or US$192,000 to US$256,000.

Lot 2814 – Patek Philippe ‘Year of the Dog’ cloisonné enamel ref. 5076P-027

Exactly a dozen years have passed since this was introduced, or one entire cycle of the Chinese Zodiac, which is why 2018 is the Year of the Dog once again. This watch is part of a set of four, each bearing a cloisonné enamel dial with the same dog motif in different colours.

Lot 2814 Patek Philippe ref. 5076 dog cloisonne 1

Lot 2814 Patek Philippe ref. 5076 dog cloisonne 4

All four watches are up for sale as individual lots in the auction. The most appealing colours are undoubtedly the blue and red dials, which mean they might sell for more than their counterparts in white and brown.

The cloisonné enamel dial is finely executed, with refined forms and vivid colours. Unlike some other Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts watches, it is unsigned, leaving the identity of the enamel artist unknown.

Lot 2814 Patek Philippe ref. 5076 dog cloisonne 2

Lot 2814 Patek Philippe ref. 5076 dog cloisonne 3

The watch case is rectangular and platinum, and identical to that of the discontinued Gondolo ref. 5109, which was never popular but by virtue of its shape makes an ideal canvas for artisanal decoration on the dial.

This has an estimate of HK$450,000 to HK$650,000, or US$58,000 to US$83,500. All four watches (lots 2813 to 2816) in the set carry the same estimate.

Lot 2862 – A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst

Introduced as a limited edition of just 30 watches in 2012, the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst is the most outstanding amongst the various iterations of Lange’s digital watch. In the six years since its launch several has appeared at auction, consistently selling for above the retail price, albeit with varying premiums, reaching a high of almost US$230,000 in 2015. The last few to go under the hammer sold for relatively less than the preceding watches, which might make this one – which is numbered “03/30” – a good buy.

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 1

While functionally and technically identical to the stock Zeitwerk, the Handwerkskunst edition features unusual decor, front and back. The solid gold dial is decorated with a heavily texture tremblage engraving, which includes the logo and power reserve scale in high relief.

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 2

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 3

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 4

On the back the decoration is similarly elaborate. The lettering on the case back is hand-engraved, while the movement bridges are finished with a fine, grained finish that is also hand-engraved. Similarly, the balance and escape wheel cock feature relief engraving, done by hand naturally, as opposed to the intaglio engraving found on ordinary movements. And lastly, the pallet fork and escape wheel are hardened 18k white gold.

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 6

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 9

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 7

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 8

Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst Sothebys 5

The Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst has an estimate of HK$900,000 to HK$1.2m, or US$116,000 to US$154,000.

Lot 2877A – A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Cellini

One of the earliest Lange 1 limited editions – and perhaps the first of the model with luminous dial and hands – the Lange 1 Cellini was made for the 25th anniversary of the eponymous New York watch retailer in 2002.

Lange 1 Cellini edition 1

Though the dial sticks to the traditional Lange 1 design, it is unusual in being glossy white lacquer, with silvered borders for each of the sub-dials. Additionally, the time, power reserve and hands are all luminous.

Lange 1 Cellini edition 3

Lange 1 Cellini edition 2

The platinum case is the standard 39.5mm, with an unusual commemorative engraving on the three-quarter plate; in contrast, most limited editions feature stock movements.

Lange 1 Cellini edition 5

Lange 1 Cellini edition 4

The estimate is HK$240,000 to HK$400,000, or US$30,700 to US$51,500.

Lot 2891 Patek Philippe 10-Day Tourbillon ‘Rare Handcrafts’ ref. 5101/100R-001

One of the few complicated wristwatch in Patek Philippe’s Rare Handcrafts catalogue – mostly made up of time-only watches with exceptionally elaborate decoration on the case or dial – the ref. 5101/100R-001 is the 10-Day Tourbillon with a fully engraved case. It was launched in 2011 in rose or white gold, as well as platinum, with a limited number made; this example is in rose gold.

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-1

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-3

Inspired by Middle Eastern motifs, the engraving covers the entirety of the elongated, Art Deco case, right down to the steps on each flank and the case back. And the decor even extends to the leaf-shaped hands, which are finished with exceedingly fine engraving.

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-5

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-2

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-4

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-6

The movement inside is identical to the stock model, but it remains a gorgeous calibre. The finishing is top class, right down to the finest of details like the pointed corners on base of the tourbillon bridge, or the black polished escape wheel bridge.

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-91

Patek Philippe Tourbillon Rare Handcrafts ref. 5101-8

The estimate is HK$1.2m to HK$1.8m, or US$154,000 to US$231,000, which is a large sum of money but nevertheless a significant chunk less than its retail price, making this a comparatively good buy.

Lot 2913 – Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 5002R

Launched in 2001 and now discontinued (having been replaced by the ref. 6002), the Sky Moon Tourbillon was the original Patek Philippe uber-complication wristwatch – big, bold and extremely complex. The double-sided case is 43.5mm in diameter, making it one of the largest Patek Philippe wristwatches, with the Calatrava cross being the central decorative motif, repeated in relief on the case band and in guilloche on the dial.

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 1

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 2

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 3

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 8

Depending on how they are counted, the movement has a dozen complications, including a tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and star chart, which is shown on the back of the watch. And like all of Patek Philippe’s top of the line complications, the repeater has cathedral, rather than ordinary, gongs. That means the gongs circle the movement almost twice, instead of just once, giving them a more sonorous tone.

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 4

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 5

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 6

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002R Sothebys 7

The Sky Moon Tourbillon was slightly out of fashion for a spell, with most examples selling for below the retail price at auction, or failing to find a buyer. But it appears to enjoyed a rise in desirability of late, with Sotheby’s having sold one for US$1.41m in October 2017, exceeding the original retail price. This example is complete with boxes, documents and all accessories, and is estimated here are HK$7.80m to HK$12.0m, or US$1.00m to US$1.54m.

Sale and exhibition information

Highlights from the auction will be on show in Taipei on March 17 and 18 at the Hua Nan Bank International Convention Center.

All the lots will then be on show in Hong Kong from March 29 to April 1 at the New Wing of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai, Hong Kong.

Sotheby’s Important Watches Hong Kong auction takes place on April 2, 2018 in the same location. The full catalogue, along with online bidding, is available here.

This was brought to you by Sotheby’s.

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Vacheron Constantin Brings Vintage Les Collectionneurs Timepieces to Singapore

Eighteen have come to town - and are for sale.

From now till 27 April, a selection from Vacheron Constantin‘s Les Collectionneurs – factory restored and certified vintage watches – are on sale at the watchmaker’s boutique in Singapore’s ION Orchard mall. Totaling 18 timepieces, the offer in Singapore comprises of wristwatches from 1927 to 1961 – including a pair of remarkable minute repeaters – as well as pocket watches from 1915 to 1925.

Les Collectionneurs is intended to showcase Vacheron Constantin’s heritage as well as offer vintage pieces that have been restored to pristine condition. Now a decade old, Les Collectionneurs is presently only available year-round at three Vacheron Constantin boutiques, namely two in Geneva and one in New York City. The vintage collection does travel to other locations, and has landed in Singapore for the second year running.

Watches in the Les Collectionneurs range are sourced from private collectors as well as auctions, but all share the same factory treatment. That means a full service back home in Geneva, backed by a two-year warranty, as well as an archive extract listing the specifics of the watch, plus a certificate of authenticity. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the collection in Singapore, which are on show till April 27, 2018.

Ref. 4261 Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater

One of the most outstandingly beautiful models is the yellow gold ref. 4261, a mid-century, ultra-thin, minute repeating wristwatch that is quintessential Vacheron Constantin in style.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 3

Less than 40 examples were produced from 1944 to 1951, with no more than 13 in yellow gold. This particular example is from 1951 and measures 36mm in diameter, complete with teardrop lugs. The dial is silvered with a concentric guilloché chapter ring for the hours and a pearled minute track.

Powering it is a hand-wound, 13-ligne movement that measures just 5.25 mm thick and epitomises 20th century Swiss haute horlogerie. It is said that only a third of the production run of the ref. 4261 were powered by this particular movement – the largest diameter minute repeating calibre used at the time – which makes this yellow gold number a rarity.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 2

Chronograph and Minute Repeating Pocket Watch from 1925

The second highlight is a yellow gold pocket watch from 1925 that combines a chronograph and a minute repeater.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 5

Measuring 49mm in diameter, the watch is striking in its purity with a rigorously symmetrical, three-toned sector dial, featuring a railroad minute track marked by gold indices and two Arabic numerals at three and nine o’clock.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 7

Platinum Pocket Watch Ref. 3814 from 1931

This fine platinum pocket watch is characterised by an Art Deco dial that is beautifully monochromatic – something the modern-day Vacheron Constantin has mastered with the Collection Excellence Platine of limited edition, all-platinum watches.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 8

The pocket watch features a prominent railroad minute track that’s punctuated by applied Arabic numerals. Measuring 44mm in diameter with a smooth brushed finish, the watch is remarkably thin with a movement that’s just 2.26mm high.

Patrimony Minute Repeating, Perpetual Calendar Ref. 30020 

The outlier is almost a modern watch: a minute repeater and perpetual calendar wristwatch from 1993, the youngest of the lot.

Despite coming almost 50 years after the ref. 4261 minute repeater shown above, the familial resemblance is glaring. This features a platinum case with a stepped bezel and the familiar teardrop lugs. It measures 37mm wide and just 9.5mm thick, with four calendar pushers on the case band.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 10

The two-tone silver dial has applied hour markers and sunken sub-dials, giving it a distinctly modern look, yet one that’s easily reminiscent of vintage Vacheron Constantin watches.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 4

The Patrimony repeater is powered by the hand-wound cal. 1755 QP, an ultra-thin minute repeating movement that’s just 3.28mm high and also rare – only 200 were made. Introduced in 1992, the cal. 1755 was developed in collaboration with complications specialist Dubois-Depraz, and based on the same extra-large 13-ligne movement found in the ref. 4261 above. Pop the backs off the pair and you’ll see the movements are almost alike.

Ref. 4659 Wristwatch with “Crab Lugs”

Vacheron Constantin experimented heavily with lug design in the 1940s and 1950s. In fact, the diversity of time-only Vacheron Constantin watches from this period is astounding. An example of a rarely seen reference, this timepiece from 1952 is one of the more dramatic examples with arched, converging strap horns that have been nicknamed “crab lugs”, presumably a development from the classic teardrop lugs.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs

The case measures a 36mm, made all the more sizeable by the lugs, and has a beautiful silver guilloché dial with cabochon minute markers. It is powered by the hand-wound cal. 453, which like many time-only Vacheron Constantin movements of the time, was based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, in this case the cal. 449.


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