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Favorites from Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Which lots won my appreciation?

You might not know it by looking outside or checking the calendar, but in the world of luxury watches: it’s auction season. All this fall, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (aka the “Oscars” for the watch industry), the famed Only Watch charity auction, Christie’s latest Rare Watches auction, and the fourteenth edition of Phillips’ famed Geneva watch auction, the prestigious event more formally known as The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV. The last of which occurred this past weekend, when Switzerland hosted one of the biggest weekends of watches of the year.

This past month I was invited to attend an exclusive preview in Manhattan for Phillip’s prestigious event, where I had the opportunity to go hands-on with many of the 250 individual lots that were featured as part of the sale. These included some of the rarest and most interesting watches ever produced from brands including Rolex, Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Söhne, Richard Mille, F.P. Journe, Philippe Dufour, and many more. While many caught my attention, I narrowed down my highlights to five incredibly rare timepieces truly worth noting.

Check out my full list below:

Lot 9: A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down “Lumen”

Few luxury watch series are as esteemed as A. Lange & Söhne Datograph, and with this incredibly rare edition, that esteem only rises all the more. This model, known as the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down ““Lumen,”” is the 83rd of 200 editions of the watch. It is differentiated from the classic Datograph not only via its rarity, but furthermore by its platinum case, unique colorway, and namesake “Lumen” designation referring to its semi-transparent and highly luminous dial.

The 2019-manufactured chronograph is in incredible condition, it realized a price of CHF 201,600 (about USD 221,000).

Lot 249: Richard Mille RM11-03

Next on my list is the Richard Mille RM11-03. Richard Mille is no stranger to bold designs. The watchmaker’s short yet extremely successful legacy is largely built upon the signature tonneau case shape of its super luxurious, avant-garde timepieces.

In the RM11-03, we find one of the brand’s more recent creations, the watch released and dated to this year. The rare watch is constructed from titanium and a white composite ATZ, with it importantly featuring a cutting-edge flyback chronograph mechanism via its automatic caliber RMA03. The watch sold for CHF 780,200 (about USD 856,000).

Lot 14: Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie

Philippe Dufour revels in the attention it receives at auction houses, with the incredibly fine watchmaker’s timepieces continuing to grab more eyes, valuations, and eventually hammer prices with each passing year.

Phillips’ auction last weekend is yielded much the same, with the 1992-produced Grande & Petite Sonnerie listed for sale. Significant and attractive for many reasons, the extremely well produced and preserved minute repeater is not only the first grande & petite sonnerie ever made, but also is the first wristwatch ever produced by Phillipe Dufour. The enamel dial bearing movement n°1 is subtly engraved and indicates as much.

The estimations for this one is high, with the hammer price projected to land between USD 1,090,000 to USD 2,180,000, but far exceeded that at 4,749,000 CHF (about USD 5,207,558).

Lot 247: Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499

What kind of Phillips auction list would this be if I didn’t include at least one Patek Philippe? While the event featured many rare and impressive timepieces produced from the historical watchmaker, the ref. 2499 caught a significant number of glances.

The 1954-produced Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is in incredible condition, its gold case still featuring plenty of its original polishing in addition to a matching solid gold bracelet, custom made by historic watch seller and jeweler Gobbi Milano in the 1960s. Sales estimates for the ultra-intriguing watch were naturally astronomical, with the timepiece marked between USD 871,000 and USD 1,740,000, and it did not disappoint with a realized price of CHF 1,482,000 (about USD 1,625,850).

Lot 12: Richard Mille RM27-04 Rafael Nadal

There were a lot of watches I like and appreciated coming up for sale at Phillip’s auction this weekend, though none drew and held my attention than the Richard Mille RM27-04 Rafael Nadal. Appropriately described as “mind boggling” in Phillip’s catalogue for the sale, the 21/50 limited edition timepiece is best known as the 10th anniversary watch celebrating the partnership between the avant-garde marker and tennis star Rafael Nadal.

The most impressive aspect of the watch comes via its use of a boundary-pushing TitaCarb case, which with its strap and specially developed tourbillon movement, weighs only 30 grams. To place that in context, a standard sixty-watt light bulb weighs more, as do most slices of bread. The result is a timepiece which feels virtually weightless in its wear, astonishing your senses and quite literally “boggling” your mind.

Positioned early in the auction, the watch has sold for 1,724,000 CHF, or about USD 1,890,467, just above its high-end estimate of USD 1,740,000.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV took place over two days, on November 5th and 7th, with Phillips hosting the historic sale, in Geneva at La Réserve Genève Hotel. To learn more, as well as explore the full catalogue of lots and hammer prices, you can visit Phillips.

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