Asteria Colored Diamonds

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

‘Singing Bird Pistols’ Could Fetch $5 Million at Christie’s Hong Kong Auction

“Singing Bird Pistols” at Christie's Hong Kong

A pair of matching gold and enamel “Singing Bird Pistols” is the highlight of Christie’s Hong Kong Important Watches Spring Sale on May 30. The matching mirror-image pistols set with diamonds, agate and pearls, attributed to world-renowned craftsman Frères Rochat, is the only publicly known pair of singing bird pistols in the world, according to international auction house, which has placed an estimate of $2.5 million to $5 million.

The auction at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre will offer 540 lots that are expected to bring in about $80 million. The sale includes 150 lots of rare enamel and pocket watches, ladies’ jewelry watches, vintage wristwatches and inspirational modern complication wristwatches.

As is typical with an auction that includes vintage watches, Patek Philippe has a strong presence. Among the top piece being offered by the famed watch brand is a Reference 2499 (left), third series in pink gold, made in 1971. In extremely fine condition, this watch is only the sixth example of the ref. 2499 third series in pink gold to ever come to the public market. Its estimate is $700,000 to $1.2 million.

Among the modern watches on sale is the Opus 6 (left), an art piece in white gold which combines stunning design with cutting-edge technical excellence. It is the result of a collaboration of famed jeweler Harry Winston and watchmaker Greubel Forsey. The unusual construction of the Double Tourbillon 30°, a signature of French-English watchmaking duo Greubel and Forsey, combines a one-minute tourbillon inclined at 30 degrees inside a four-minute tourbillon to offset any positional errors and to ensure superb chronometry. The movement provides 72 hours of power reserve, hours and minutes by co-axial discs at 3 o’clock, and small seconds disc at 11 o’clock. Limited to 6 pieces, this example is numbered 5/6, and is manufactured in 2006. Its has a presale estimate of  $300,000 to $500,000.

Of particular importance among the enamel and pocket watches being offered is a rare gold and enamel openface duplex pocket watch, circa 1815 (left), by renowned London watchmaker William Ilbery. The enamel painting on the case is executed in the manner of Jean-Louis Richard and illustrates the English watchmaker’s talent of combining high technology with the decorative arts. The presale estimate is from $60,000 to $95,000.

Among the jewelry watches featured at the sale is the Piaget Petite Galaxy, circa 1995. The case, dial and bracelet of this wristwatch in white gold, are entirely set with 221baguette-cut diamonds, weighing 21.66 cts. Its presale estimate is $60,000 to $80,000.

 The house of Audemars Piguet is represented with its geometric check-board pattern of diamonds and baguette-cut emeralds of a lady’s white gold bracelet watch, circa 2000, featuring a timeless design and high craftsmanship in gem setting. Its presale estimate is $20,000 to $30,000.

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