As we canter towards the holiday season, spending on all fronts is ramping up to its annual apex. With the super-rich even more inclined to treat themselves to an early Christmas present, Geneva has answered the call. This month I’d like to talk about my top picks from not one, not two, but three major Geneva watch auctions slated to take place.
TAG The Date
Okay, forgive me: That sub-heading is the one and only time Heuer’s post-’85 partner in crime will be featured in this auction preview. That’s because the fevered anticipation surrounding the Phillips auction of November 11-12 is a huge collection of the most quintessentially ‘Heuer’ pieces of the Jack Heuer era.
I can only speak personally, but I much preferred Heuer’s pre-1985 output. This auction promises to be a treat for those who feel the same. In a year that’s seen the rebirth of the Autavia, interest in the vintage pieces from this established Swiss marque couldn’t really be higher.
The weekend’s bidding activity will open with this collection of 42 vintage Heuer pieces, dubbed the ‘Crosthwaite & Gavin Collection’. Upon its conclusion, The Geneva Watch Auction: Six, will take place in two parts. The first will commence at 7:30pm UTC+1 on the 11th, and the event will conclude the on the 12th following a session that starts at 6pm.
Sometimes, Less is More… Much, Much, More…
I will confess to you now that my favourite complication is a moon phase. When done correctly, this bewitching, celestial dance adds indelible class to a watch dial. Then again, there’s nothing more exciting than rarity and difference, so even I can’t begrudge Patek Philippe too much for quietly creating seven less complicated reference 3448s that lack a moon phase.
Seven. Imagine owning one of seven pieces in the world. The Patek Philippe Senza Luna (basically ‘moonless’) is one of watchmaking’s rarest beasts. With just four yellow gold and three white gold pieces known to exist, you would be buying a significant piece of this adored maison’s back catalog if you are prepared to shell out the estimated $300-500,000 sale price.
Actually, that’s something of a misnomer: This Patek is so rare, it’s not even part of a back catalog. In fact, were it not for Patek’s own confirmation that this 3448 is legit, we might never be sure whether the unusual dial was fitted by Patek themselves, or added as an aftermarket modification. This one is the real deal. If you want a chance of owning something genuinely remarkable, head over to Christie’s for their Rare Watches auction, due to be held on November 13th.
How to say Sorry in Style
If you’re bored of stonewall classics by the same old brands like Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Omega, why not branch out into the field of high-end horological art with the last of the Geneva watch auctions we’re previewing?
With an estimate of $70,000-$90,000 this unsigned floral piece is a beautiful 19th century example of a decorative technique known as champlevé enamel enamelling, which sees enamel sunk into hollows or depressions made in the base metal of the piece. It differs from cloisonné enamelling in that cloisonné creates separated cells by laying very fine wire on a flat surface. Both art forms are rarer now than they were in the past, and having the opportunity to witness a piece as exquisitely executed as this is a gift that will keep on giving. And no doubt earn you forgiveness in a way a simple bunch of gas station flowers never could. Check out this piece and others when they go under the hammer at the Antiquorum Geneva auction of November 12th 2017.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.