We’d bid on these horological beauties from Phillips in Geneva

On 27–28 June at the Hôtel La Réserve, Phillips will stage its eleventh Geneva Watch Auction, comprising a magnificent collection of sought-after pieces including a sensational selection from the collection of Jean-Claude Biver. These are our four favourites…

2017 Singer Reimagined Track 1 Launch Edition Prototype 

The explosive popularity of Singer Vehicle Design’s beautifully restored Porsche 911s led founder Rob Dickinson to team up with watch designer Marco Borraccino back in 2016 to radically reimagine the 1970s sports chronograph. The Track1 Chronograph incorporated an innovative central-stem chronograph movement that was in development for a decade. The example Phillips is offering in Geneva is the prototype, which differs subtly from the final version in that its lugs are longer and more pronounced and there are no engravings on the case back. The unique watch is expected to sell for 20,000–40,000 CHF. 

1999 F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain ‘Souscription’

That after just 20 years François-Paul Journe’s eponymous watch manufacturer is one of the foremost independent watchmakers in the world is remarkable, but perhaps not surprising after examining one of his exquisite pieces first-hand. In order to finance the production of his first tourbillon watch in the 1990s, he offered the first 20 pieces as a subscription service to his close friends and clients. This particular piece is the 14th of those 20 and is accompanied by both the original subscription contract and technical drawings personally signed by Journe himself. It is therefore a fascinating slice of this prestigious brand’s early history – its genesis, if you will. Its pre-sale estimate is 150,000–300,000 CHF. 

1971 Zenith El Primero 

As the very first automatic integrated chronograph movement, Zenith’s El Primero is more than worthy of a spot in any serious watch collection. Naturally, vintage is best – Phillips is offering this beautiful reference A3817 from 1971, whose elegant and chiselled 37mm case truly embodies that evocative era of automotive-inspired design. Only around 1,000 examples of this specific reference were built, distinguishable by their charming tri-colour sub-dials. Remarkably, this immaculate piece also retains its original and highly sought-after Gay Frères bracelet. Its pre-sale estimate is tempting at 8,000–12,000 CHF. 

1948 Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in 18-karat pink gold

‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’ is a phrase that’s bandied around a lot in the auction world, but in the case of this pink gold Patek Philippe reference 1518 from 1948, it resonates. Arguably the finest pink gold ref. 1518 in existence, it was owned from 1950 until 2011 by a single Swiss family, before it was sold at auction to the current owner: one Jean-Claude Biver. It is believed to be one of just 13 of these watches, the first commercially produced perpetual calendar chronographs, fitted with a pink dial, and the only one with blue-steel hands, a special request from the original owner. That it is virtually blemish free is nothing short of extraordinary. This ultra-significant Patek Philippe is estimated accordingly at 1.2–2.4m CHF.

Photos: Phillips 

You can browse the entire catalogue for Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction: XI by clicking here. Alternatively, you can find Phillips Perpetual’s exquisite inventory of vintage and modern wristwatches listed in the Classic Driver Market.