|Eric Clapton's watch with moon phases sold for $3.6 million. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2012|
A Patek Philippe platinum perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases owned by famed guitarist Eric Clapton sold for $3.6 million at Christie’s Geneva Important Watch auction held Monday.
Described by the auction house as a reference 2499/100, movement number 869'308, and case number 2'817'876, it was manufactured in 1987. The Calibre 13''' mechanical movement was stamped twice with the Geneva seal. The watch from the famed rock and blues musician and songwriter (nicknamed “slowhand”) has 23 jewels, silvered matte dial, applied gold baton and square numerals, gold dauphine hands, outer Arabic five minute divisions, windows for day and month, three subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes register and moon phases with date, circular case, stepped downturned lugs, snap on back. Finally it has a platinum Patek Philippe buckle, case, and a signed 37.5 mm. diameter dial and movement.
|Patek Philippe unique platinum chronometer wristwatch sold for $4 million. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2012|
While Clapton’s watch may have been the piece the received the most press, it didn’t receive the highest bid at the auction. That honor went to “J.B. Champion Platinum Observatory Chronometer.” a Patek Philippe unique platinum chronometer wristwatch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d’Observatoire, additional diamond-set dial and platinum bracelet that sold for just under $4 million, a world auction record for a watch without complications.
Manufactured in 1952, the historically significant 13''' caliber, 13 Lépine, mechanical movement is numbered twice and stamped twice with the Geneva seal, three-quarter plate, 20 jewels, blued steel Breguet balance spring, Guillaume balance, micrometer regulator, silvered matte dial, applied baton numerals, outer beady minute divisions, gold feuille hands, subsidiary seconds, circular heavy case, snap on back, platinum Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed 36 mm. diameter.
It great day for Patek Philippe as the top 10 lots was manufactured by the renown Swiss watch brand. This includes three other Pateks that sold for more than $1 million:
* An extremely rare, platinum chronograph wristwatch that sold for $1.6 million. One of three platinum examples ever made of this reference; it’s signed Patek Philippe & Co., Genève, ref. 1579, movement no. 867'005, case no. 645'566. Manufactured in 1946, the Calibre 13''' mechanical movement has 23 jewels, micrometer regulator, silvered matte dial, black enameled baton and applied gold Arabic numerals, Arabic five minute divisions, outer tachymetre scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, large circular case, downturned angular or "spider" lugs, snap on back, and 18K white gold Patek Philippe buckle.
* An 18K gold World Time wristwatch with cloisonnè enamel dial depicting the Eastern hemisphere sold for more than $1.04 million. Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, ref. 1415 HU, movement no. 964'802, case no. 669'492. Manufactured in 1949, the calibre 12'''120 HU mechanical movement has 18 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, polychrome cloisonné enamel dial depicting the map of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, applied gold baton and Roman numerals, gold hands, outer revolving ring depicting the diurnal and nocturnal hours on silvered and black background, circular case with revolving bezel engraved with the names of 41 cities in the world, teardrop lugs, and snap on back.
* An 18K pink gold chronograph wristwatch with two-tone silvered dial also sold for more than $1.04 million. Signed Patek Philippe, Genève, retailed by Gobbi, Milano, ref. 530, movement no. 868'800, case no. 514'608, it was manufactured in 1955. The Cal. 13''' mechanical movement stamped with the Geneva Seal, 23 jewels, two-tone silvered dial, applied pink gold baton and Arabic numerals, gold hands, outer railway five minute divisions and tachymetre scale, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, large circular case, downturned lugs, snap on back, two rectangular chronograph buttons in the band, 18K pink gold buckle, case and movement signed by the maker, dial signed by the maker and the retailer.
|Possibly the world's first chronograph. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2012|
A timepiece of historical significance that was part of the auction was what may have been the first chronograph. It sold for $245,274. The “probably unique” and historically important inking chronograph with cylinder escapement, housed in mahogany box is signed Rieussec Horologer du Roi, Chronographe, Brevet d'Invention, circa 1821/22.
Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec is credited with inventing the chronograph on September 1, 1821.
The timepiece has a mechanical cylinder movement, plain three-arm balance, two revolving silvered dials on the front plate—the upper one for minutes, the lower one for seconds—both with fixed blued steel inking hand, brass button on the left side of the fausse-plaque activates the inking hand, brass button on the right starts and stops the movement, front plate signed. It measures 143 mm. long & 114 mm. wide not including the box.
This lot includes a note from Christie’s, which reads as follows:
It is very interesting to note that this historically important inking chronograph by Rieussec is not numbered, but instead inscribed "Chronographe, Brevet d'Invention". One may speculate for the reasons why Rieussec didn't number this superb piece, but one very logical explanation may be that this example here is the very one he used to obtain his patent.
|Vaucher Fleurier 18K gold and enamel identical numbered, mirror-image pair of duplex watches. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2012|
Another interesting item that received a great deal of interest was a set of two Vaucher, Fleurier 18K gold and enamel identical numbered, mirror-image pair of openface center seconds duplex watches with matching gold and enamel keys and fitted box, made for the Chinese market. It fetched $385,432, nearly triple its high estimate. Signed Vaucher, Fleurier, No. 160 & 160., circa 1830, it features mirror-polished and blued steel keywound duplex movements, bimetallic compensation balances with blued steel wedge-shaped weights, hinged gold cuvettes, white enamel dials, Roman numerals, gold spade hands, centre seconds, large circular cases, pink, light blue and translucent scarlet champlevé enamel floral decorated bezels, rims, pendants and bows, the backs decorated with finely painted, mirror-image polychrome enamel bouquet of flowers on mauve background.
All totaled, the auction held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva achieved more than $28.5 million in sales with 96 percent sold by lot and 97 percent sold by value. All prices realized for individual items and auction house totals include commissions.
“Today’s seven-hour marathon auction welcomed some 500 registrants from five continents, generating stellar sell-through rates as well as breaking numerous records,” said Aurel Bacs, International Head of Christie's Watch Department. “Collectors, public and private museums, the trade and also an investment watch fund, battled out the bidding for the best watches seen at auction this season, reconfirming.”
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