These are our favourites from Phillips’ upcoming Geneva Watch Auction
Time is relative – this is especially true on Lake Geneva. While at the Nuclear Research Centre in Cern ions are currently flying through the particle accelerators at the speed of light aiming to reconstruct the first nanoseconds of the universe, next weekend at the nearby Phillips watch auction, things will get comparatively cosy when 226 timepieces will go under the hammer. And once again, Phillips’ watch specialists have curated a catalogue as high-profile as it is versatile.
The rarest and most expensive watches, of course, bear the emblems of Rolex and Patek Philippe. Take the Patek reference 3974 from 1994 with its platinum case, minute repeater, and perpetual calendar, for example, which is estimated at 650,000–950,000 CHF. Or the only known rose-gold reference 530 chronograph, which was sold at Astrua Torino and should fetch 400,00–800,000 CHF. The most valuable Rolex in the catalogue is a prototype Sea-Dweller ‘Single Red’. The steel diver from 1967 is estimated at 500,000–1m CHF. Naturally, we’d also be content with the Rolex Daytona ‘Paul Newman’, estimated at 350,000–550,000 CHF.
As impressive as those big guns are, we always find searching the catalogue for unusual and comparatively affordable watches more fun – especially those that bear a connection to the motorsport or automotive worlds. For example, we love the beautiful Heuer Autavia ‘Jo Siffert’ reference 1163T (est. 40,000–80,000 CHF) and the blue Universal Genève ‘Exotic Nina Rindt’, as worn by Jochen Rindt’s glamorous wife Nina in the pit lanes around the world. It’s estimated to fetch 10,000–15,000 CHF. A rare 1950s duo stopwatch developed by Hanhart for Ferrari is also listed at the same estimate – anyone looking for a dash clock for their 250 MM for the upcoming Mille Miglia should raise their paddle for this one.
One watchmaker definitely on the rise in the collecting world is Omega, and the brand is well represented in the catalogue for 22 pieces. We love the 18-carat gold Speedmaster Apollo XI (15,000–25,000 CHF) and the prototype astronaut watch that was part of ‘Project Alaska’ and developed for NASA (40,000–60,000 CHF). There’s also a Seamaster 120 ‘IDF’ made from steel and Bakelite for the Israeli army (8,000–12,000 CHF). Unfortunately, our favourite Omega is slightly more expensive – the ultra-rare tropical-dial Speedmaster ref. 2915-1 from 1958, which was appropriately delivered to the tropical country of Singapore (150,000–300,000 CHF). The entire catalogue for Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction: Eight, which takes place on 10–11 November at the Hôtel La Réserve in Geneva, can be found listed in the Classic Driver Market.