Highlights: Phillips Hong Kong Watch Auction – Complications and Enamel

Grand comps and a miniature enamel.

Happening in just over a week, the Phillips Hong Kong watch auction is a 321-lot event spread over two days. Notably, the first session is an evening sale titled First, made up of 52 watches consigned by their original owners.

The offerings in First, as well as the main sale the next day, are diverse array ranging from a possibly unique Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon with a black dial, and a wonderfully elegant Vacheron Constantin minute repeater (pictured above) – both consigned by the first owners no less – to vintage sports Rolex watches and Omega Speedmasters.

The Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 5002G

Another original owner Patek Philippe grand complication, the ref. 5033P

Here we cover some of the complicated watch highlights, while other vintage and sports watches will be featured in a subsequent article.

The full catalogue is available on Phillips.com.


First, lot 833 – Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

One of the best values in the segment of perpetual calendar chronographs is a pre-owned Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. This example is in platinum, with a largish 43mm case that is suited to today’s taste for larger watches.

The layout is traditional for a perpetual calendar chronograph, though the calendar windows are slightly small relative to the size of the dial. But this has a decorative flourish few of its peers have: the moon phase is a hand-engraved disc of white gold that features a tiny and amusing moon “face”.

Additionally, this specimen is also a current model, meaning it has the cal. 1142 inside. Though still based on the Lemania CH27 or cal. 2310, the cal. 1142 has an upgraded regulator, a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance running at 21,600 beats per hour.

In comparison, the earlier generation cal. 1141 features the stock Lemania balance running at 18,000 beats per hour, along with a swan’s neck regulator.

The cal. 1142 also features some aesthetic flourishes absent before, including the relief Maltese cross on the column wheel.

Importantly, this is accompanied by all the original packaging, which is elaborate and extensive, including a manual-winding box.

This has an estimate of HK$400,000-600,000, or about US$50,000-75,000.


First lot 834 – Vacheron Constantin minute repeater with perpetual calendar ref. 30020

One of the most elegant and subtle modern-day minute repeater watches are those Vacheron Constantin produced in the 1990s, all powered by the cal. 1755.

It was an extra-thin, hand-wound movement developed by complications specialist Dubois-Depraz in 1992, but modelled on a vintage calibre used by Vacheron Constantin in the 1950s.

Only 200 movements were made, and most were finished as time-only minute repeater wristwatches (as the ref. 30010 with a solid dial and ref. 30030 as a skeleton watch). About a third were combined with a perpetual calendar module that was also made by Dubois-Depraz, turning the movement into the cal. 1755 QP. This is one such example in platinum, one of 55 ref. 30020s in the metal.

The watch is thin, compact and beautiful, with the case just 37mm in diameter. But because the lugs are teardrop-shaped and quite long, it has a good presence on the wrist.

Though well preserved, this watch only has an archive extract but not the original certificate. The estimate is HK$1.0m-2.0m, or about US$125,000-250,000.


First, lot 843 – Patek Philippe ref. 5033P-013 minute repeater with annual calendar

One of the most unusual modern Patek Philippe “Grand Complications” is the ref. 5033, which combines a cathedral-gong minute repeater with an annual calendar, instead of the usual perpetual calendar. Add to that the cushion-shaped, Gondolo case and the result is a watch quite different from other Grand Complications.

Reputedly first made as a 10-piece custom order (of nine in platinum and one in titanium) for Middle Eastern royalty, the ref. 5033 is a large, heavy watch.

This example is a first generation ref. 5033, with Roman numerals for the hours, instead of the applied markers of the second generation. Anecdotal evidence would suggest the first generation is more rare.

The movement inside is the R27 PS QA, which is automatic and wound via a gold micro-rotor.

The ref. 5033P includes all of its original packaging, and has an estimate of HK$1.25m-1.95m, or about US$160,000-250,000.


First, lot 845 – Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 5002G-010

The next most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch after the Grandmaster Chime, the Sky Moon Tourbillon is now only available with a fully engraved and enamelled case as the ref. 6002G.

This example is a first generation Sky Moon Tourbillon, the ref. 5002G, but with a black dial that is possibly the only one of its kind. While other black dial ref. 5002s are know, they have slight variations in the dial, and also a different case material. Standard ref. 5002s, on the other hand, had a white dial.

It’s a double-faced watch, with the front showing the perpetual calendar display, and the back a star chart.

As is often the case with such watches, the ref. 5002G appears to have been hardly worn, and is complete with all boxes and paperwork. The estimate is HK$6.2m-11m, or about US$800,000-1.4m.


Lot 928 – Patek Philippe ref. 866/2 miniature enamel pocket watch

One of the most acclaimed miniature enamel artists of the late 20th century, Marthe Bischoff was responsible for a small number of beautifully rendered enamel pocket watches.

Named Paysage Hollandais, or “Dutch landscape”, this example depicts a Dutch landscape scene, inspired by the work of 17th century Dutch painter Salomon van Ruysdael.

Despite having been sold in 1975, this watch is like new, and includes all its original packaging, including box, hang tag, and all-important certificate.


Lot 944 – Patek Philippe ref. 530 oversized chronograph in pink gold

Rare and desirable, the ref. 530 is 36.5mm in diameter, enormous compared to the 33mm of the ref. 130, which was the quintessential Patek Philippe chronograph of the period.

This example is even more rare because it is in pink gold, with only about 30 ref. 530s in pink gold out of the 140 or so produced, according to Phillips.

The watch was last sold at auction in 2008 at Antiquorum in Geneva, where it sold for 462,200 Swiss francs. The dial then had noticeable ageing, with dark spots on the edge of the dial and patches on the sub-dials around the hands.

It has since been cleaned, although faint shadows of the original edge spotting remain visible, including around the “600” on the tachymetre, which is probably a good thing given the emphasis on originality in vintage watch collecting.

The case remains in crisp condition with the original hallmarks clear and deep.

The estimate is HK$2.3m-4.7m, or about US$300,000-600,000.


Lot 1002 – Gerald Genta minute repeater with perpetual calendar and tourbillon

One of the best values in terms of highly complicated watches is lot 1002, which comes from Gerald Genta’s 1990s heyday, marked by the launch of the grande sonnerie wristwatch.

This example is a minute repeater with perpetual calendar and tourbillon in platinum – with a bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds and a matching platinum bracelet – powered by an in-house, extra-thin automatic movement.

The dial is sapphire, revealing the perpetual calendar mechanism below, while the moon phase display is set with brilliant-cut diamonds.

And the case back reveals the fully-engraved movement, which was the house style of Gerald Genta at the time. A variant of the same movement is still used by Bulgari in its ultra-thin Octo Finissimo minute repeater.

The watch doe show some minor external wear, as well as some lint on the movement which might indicate it’ll need a cleaning soon. And importantly, the bracelet is 185mm long, or about 7.2 inches, which means it’ll fit most wrists (and links can also be removed).

Though strong value given the complication, the watch is quite small at just 35mm in diameter. This has an estimate of HK$275,000-470,000, or about US$35,000-60,000, which is probably a tenth of its original retail price.


Preview and Auction

The preview exhibition is open daily from November 22-25 at the JW Marriott Hotel.

The first session of the auction (lots 801-853) takes place November 25 at 6:30pm, while the second session (lots 854-1121) is on November 26 at 12:00pm.

For the complete catalogue, as well as to place bids online, please visit Phillips.com.

JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
88 Queensway
Admiralty, Hong Kong


Addition November 18, 2019: Diameter of Gerald Genta repeater added.

Correction November 21, 2019: The Vacheron Constantin cal. 1142 runs at 21,600 beats per hour, and not 28,800bph as stated before.

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