Highlights: “The Ultimate Collection” at Christie’s Hong KongA one-owner collection of contemporary horology.
Having concluded its Geneva sales that included an F.P. Journe thematic auction, Christie’s will soon open its spring sale season in Hong Kong. The auctioneer’s watch offerings include an impressive line-up of watches assembled over two decades by an Asian collector. Christened The Ultimate Collection, the selection is composed of 107 timepieces – almost all modern – ranging from Rolex to F.P. Journe.
Although the watches are diverse, the collector’s keen eye can be discerned. The catalogue includes classic must-haves like various examples of the Rolex Daytona and GMT-Master II, but also rare and special watches from F.P. Journe as well as possibly-unique Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts.
We round up nine notable picks from the sale, including the headline lots from F.P. Journe – a Chronomètre à Résonance “RTA” with a mother-of-pearl dial and the Tourbillon Souverain Coeur de Rubis.
Other highlights including a Patek Philippe Dome Clock that was originally owned by Jean-Claude Biver of Hublot and Blancpain fame, along with uncommon variants of the landmark Lange 1, including the Lange 1A and ref. 101.027X.
The Ultimate Collection takes place on May 26 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) – the catalogue is available here.
Lot 2537 – F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire “Hong Kong”
In 2016, F.P. Journe marked the 10th anniversary of its first ever boutique (which was in Tokyo) with the Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire, a striking iteration of its racing-inspired chronograph. Like other boutique anniversary editions, the Centigraphe features a titanium case with red gold accents in the form of the crown and rocker pusher, along with a dark grey, ruthenium-plated dial.
The brand subsequently released additional runs of the Centigraphe Anniversaire progressively for its other boutiques that reached the 10-year mark. All versions are identical, save for the city name engraved on the case back. This example is a Hong Kong version, a limited edition of 20.
The Centigraphe Anniversaire has the same complication as the standard Centigraphe: a clever chronograph that is able to measure elapsed times with a resolution of up to 1/100th of a second (at least in theory). Although the manual-wind cal. 1506 within has a balance wheel beating at a conventional frequency of 3 Hz, it incorporates additional gearing to drive the 1/100th-of-a-second hand.
But unlike the regular production version that has a solid dial, the anniversary edition has sapphire sub-dials that reveal some of the mechanics underneath.
Accompanied by its presentation box and certificate, the Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire carries an estimate of HK$1.2-2.4 million, or about US$153,100-255,100. Full lot details here.
Lot 2539 – F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Ref. RTA with mother-of-pearl dial
One of the star lots from F.P. Journe in the sale is this Résonance that might be unique. It is special for two reasons: first, being the uncommon “RTA” variant, and second, having a blue mother-of-pearl dial.
To commemorate the Résonance’s 20th anniversary in 2019, the brand debuted the Résonance ref. RTA that was subtly asymmetrical as its sub-dial at nine o’clock features a 24-hour scale. The ref. RTA was in production for just a year and left the catalogue once F.P. Journe debuted the all-new Resonance.
This example is a one-off ref. RTA with a 40 mm platinum case matched with a blue mother-of-pearl dial. It was made for the owner of The Ultimate Collection, who must have been an important enough client to merit such a watch.
Mechanically the ref. RTA was virtually identical to earlier versions of the model with a manual-wind cal. 1499 featuring 18k red gold bridges and plates. With the discontinuation of the ref. RTA, the cal. 1499 also came to an end.
This Chronomètre à Résonance is accompanied with its original packaging and accessories, and its estimate is a hefty HK$5.0-10 million, or about US$638,000-1.3 million.
For more, view the catalogue entry.
Lot 2542 – F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Coeur de Rubis
Until its discontinuation in 2018 after a 15 year production run, the Tourbillon Nouveau (ref. TN) was the F.P. Journe tourbillon and perhaps the brand’s signature watch (though Resonance fans would dispute that). Numerous versions were produced during the period, ranging from dials lacquered in Ferrari red to those inlaid with jade. The final edition of the TN was the Tourbillon Souverain Coeur de Rubis, which translates as “heart of ruby”, a reference to the mineral stone dial.
With its vividly coloured and subtly texture surface, the stone ensures each dial is unique. But it also made fabricating the dials a challenge. Being extremely fragile, the stone inlay is actually two pieces – on the top and bottom halves of the dial. This is because the narrow edges on each side of the dial are too narrow to accommodate enough a wide enough piece of stone to avoid breakage.
Notably, the stone dial is matched with ruthenium-plated registers, a detail only found on limited edition or unique F.P. Journe watches. A perfect complement for the rich red stone, the dark grey sub-dials give the watch a different look from the typical F.P. Journe with silvered registers.
Produced in 2019 and 2020, the Tourbillon Coeur de Rubis was a limited edition of 20 watches. It’s accompanied by the original box and papers. The estimate is HK$3.2-6.4 million or about US$409,000-817,000. For more, view the catalogue entry.
Lot 2545 – A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 ref. 101.027X
One of the more obscure Lange 1 references yet quintessentially Lange in its elegant, almost monochromatic livery, the Lange 1 ref. 101.027X was a “secret” model that never appeared in any catalogue.
According to research done by the enthusiast known as Langepedia, the ref. 101.027X was originally intended to be a limited or special edition to commemorate the designation of the Elbe Valley in Dresden, the capital of Lange’s home state, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The blue accents of the ref. 101.027X were supposedly a reference to the Loschwitz Bridge, a bridge spanning the Elbe River built in the late 19th century. Originally painted blue, the bridge was nicknamed the Blaues Wunder, or “Blue Wonder”.
But due to another bridge built after the valley became a World Heritage Site, UNESCO suspended and then in 2009 rescinded the title. The unfortunate turn of events meant that if the ref. 101.027X was indeed meant to be a commemorative edition, it never came to pass.
Still, about 200 pieces or so were produced around the years 2002 to 2008 – covering the years from the state government’s application to UNESCO to the construction of the latter bridge – making the ref. 101.027X one of the rarest Lange 1 models.
The ref. 101.027X has the standard Lange 1 dial design, but stands out for its printed hour markers that give it a discreet look, complementing the monochromatic palette well. Majority of Lange 1 models feature applied hour markers; the only other model with printed markers is yellow gold. Notably, the brand referenced the aesthetic of the ref. 101.027X with its Lange 1 “25th Anniversary” limited editions in 2019.
Complete with original box and documents, the ref. 101.027X has an estimate of HK$320,000-640,000 or about US$41,000-82,000. For more, view the catalogue entry.
Lot 2547 – A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1A ref. 112.021
The first-ever limited edition Lange 1, the 1A made its debut in 1998. While the German brand was, and is still, known for its low-key aesthetics, the Lange 1A was extravagant – entirely in yellow gold and fitted with a guilloche dial.
Made of solid gold, the dial was the first instance of a Lange with a patterned dial, something that the brand would return to in subsequent limited editions. The gold dial was matched with a gilded date disc and gold hands, with the only element in another colour is the blued steel seconds hand (although some examples of the 1A feature a gilded seconds hand).
But the Lange 1A wasn’t just resplendent in gold on the outside – the cocks for the balance and escape wheels as well as the pallet lever bridge were also in solid yellow gold. The gold movement parts would be something that Lange would use in future limited editions.
This example is numbered “19/100” and includes the original packaging and papers. It has an estimate of HK$400,000-800,000 or about US$51,040-102,080. Full lot details here.
Lot 2552 – Patek Philippe Dome Clock ref. 1618M “Fleurs des Montagnes”
Perhaps one of the signature timepieces of Patek Philippe despite not being a wristwatch, the Dome Clock has been in production for over seven decades. Only a handful are produced each year now, but each Dome Clock is less a timekeeper than a canvas for artisanal decoration, typically cloisonné enamelling.
The Dome Clock “Fleurs des Montagnes” is one such example. Depicting “flowers of the mountain”, the clock is decorated in cloisonné enamel rendered in nuanced pastel colours.
But perhaps as notable as the clock itself is it provenance: the original owner was Jean-Claude Biver, the entrepreneur best known for reviving Blancpain, turning around Hublot, and recently founding his namesake brand. Mr Biver sold the clock at Phillips in 2021, where it sold for HK$1.7 million, or about US$217,000.
Accompanied only by a Patek Philippe service receipt – the archive extract is on the way – this has an estimate of HK$1.0-2.0 million, or about US$128,000-255,000. For more, visit the catalogue.
Lot 2599 – Patek Philippe World Timer Ref. 5230G-012 “Boodles”
Patek Philippe has long made variants of its Cottier-style world time watch as limited editions for various occasions. This example of the ref. 5230G was made to mark the 220th anniversary of Boodles, a retailer that was founded in 1798. Still run by its founding family, Boodles is located in the English city of Liverpool.
The Boodles edition was a run of just 50 watches made in 2018. It is distinguished by a black guilloche centre on the dial as well as “Liverpool” in pink print.
The rest of the watch is identical to the standard ref. 5230 world time, including the white gold case and cal. 240 HU automatic movement within. Amongst the elements that differentiate the ref. 5230 from its predecessor are the “winglet” style lugs inspired by the vintage ref. 2523 world time, as well as the lozenge-shaped hour hand.
This particular example remains sealed in its factory packaging, indicating it has never been worn, much less handled by anyone, since leaving Patek Philippe in 2018. In addition, it is accompanied by a pair of Patek Philippe cufflinks with onyx inlays that is similarly sealed.
The watch is accompanied by all its original packaging and documents. It has an estimate of HK$400,000-800,000, or about US$51,040-102,080 (which includes the cufflinks). Full lot details here.
Lot 2603 – Patek Philippe ref. 5270G-024, special-order dial featuring Breguet numerals
While earlier generations of Patek Philippe’s perpetual calendar chronograph are often spotted with special order dials – amongst the best known are those made for talent agent Michael Ovitz – the current generation is less often the subject of such customisation.
This lot, however, is one such watch. It’s a ref. 5270G-024, with the suffix indicating a dark blue dial with applied, white gold Breguet numerals. This watch is the only one of its type known to date.
The numerals give the watch a classical aesthetic reminiscent of mid-century Patek Philippe watches and one that contrasts with the plainer look of the standard models that have baton indices. While the ref. 5270 is not as well loved as its predecessors, perhaps because of its more modern proportions and styling, this special-order example will certainly appeal to traditionalists.
Like the Boodles world time above, this watch is sealed in its factory packaging, despite having been delivered in 2017. It includes the original boxes and papers, and has an estimate of HK$1.2-2.4 million, or US$154,000-306,200. To know more, view the catalogue.
Lot 2603 – Patek Philippe ref. 5207P-001 grand complication
One of the most complicated watches ever made by Patek Philippe, the ref. 5207P is best described as the successor of the ref. 5016. While the ref. 5016 was compact and classical, the ref. 5207 is imposing and extravagant. The chunky platinum case has a relief-engraved flanks, while the dial is a pinkish shade sometimes described as “salmon” (we detailed the watch in a 2014 review).
But more impressive is the R TO 27 PS QI movement inside. Th calibre incorporates a tourbillon, minute repeater, and perpetual calendar. But the calendar is no ordinary calendar, instead it is of the instantaneous variety, meaning that all calendar indications jump in a split second at midnight.
This version of the ref. 5207 was the first to be launched and has since been discontinued. Several more iterations were made, and the current version combines a white gold case with a metallic blue dial. The “salmon” dial is arguably more classical and pleasing.
The ref. 5207P-001 is accompanied by its original and giant box, certificate, and other accessories. The estimate is HK$4.5-9.0 million, or US$574,200-1.15 million. For lot details here.
Preview and auction details
All lots will be on show during the preview in Hong Kong. Both the preview exhibition and sale will happen at the Halls 3D to 3G of HKCEC.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
May 25, 10:30 am – 6:30 pm
May 26, 10:30 am – 12:00pm
May 26, 6:00 pm
All times and dates are local to Hong Kong (GMT+8).
For the catalogue, viewing appointments, and online bidding, visit Christies.com.
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