Alongside big names like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the world of auctions also boasts other names with interesting watches to offer. Artcurial, one of the growing houses is French and based in Paris but also held an annual sale in the prestigious city of Monaco. After the Panerai Only and Jaeger Only auctions, here are our highlights from the Fine Watches auction by Artcurial – Monaco, July 20th.
A Tiffany Dial Full Set Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Big Red Floating – Lot 149
What’s so special about this watch? In fact, several little details that change it all. This Rolex Daytona – circa 1982 – is estimated between 80.000 Euros and 150.000 Euros when another and more classical edition would be priced below 40.000 Euros. First of all, it comes with original box and tags plus the official Rolex warranty papers and card (plus service papers from Rolex) making it a very safe and secured investment (it’s authenticity would be hard to debate). Then, it features a ‘Floating’ Big Red inscription for the ‘Daytona’, something also quite rare – as you can see the space between the red Daytona and the sub-dial is wider than on usual Ref. 6263 Big Red.
For the rest, this watch is visually and technically similar to every other Daytonas, meaning a Valjoux 727, screwed pushers and a reverse Panda dial with a bakelite bezel – except for the Tiffany & Co. signature bellow the ROC (Rolex Oyster Cosmograph) inscription. At that time, some retailers were allowed by major brands (Patek also did that) to print their name on the dial of the watches they sold. This small addition to the dial changes it all and create an extremely rare watch that now comes for auction with an impressive estimation. Listed here.
A Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Panda dial with tropical sub-counters – Lot 148
Another Daytona that on paper is totally similar to every other ones available on the market. This Ref. 6263 with Panda dial (dark sub-counters on a white baseplate) from 1972 has its original Rolex box and features the screwed pushers and bakelite bezel typical to this model. The case, bracelet and movement seem in very good overall condition. So why this specific example has an estimation between 50.000 Euros and 80.000 Euros? Just take a look at the dial.
This Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 features what the collectors call a tropical dial, meaning a dial that has aged and turned into a brown colour. Due to lower quality lacquers (yes, it has to be said, at that time, Rolex had some poor lacquers) and under the effects of UV or humidity, the dark parts of the dial tend to age into a chocolate tone (that sometimes looks like a really destroyed dial). This one however comes with a rather uniform and cool look that makes it a very desirable watch. Listed here.
A Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 Reverse Panda dial Tropical chocolate – lot 151
Just like the one above – but in reverse – this Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 shows a dial that turned into a very cool, uniform and quite light havana brown – that could almost be called ultra-tropical by hardcore collectors. This ref. 6265 shows a reverse panda dial – meaning a dark main-plate with light sub-counters and the typical polished stainless steel bezel engraved with a tachymeter scale – something that differentiates the ref. 6265 from the ref. 6263.
This example is dated from 1973 and thus features the Valjoux 727 movement and the screwed pushers. It comes in an overall very good condition and the original Rolex box. Its estimation is rather impressive at 90.000 Euros – 110.000 Euros, all explained by its almost unique dial. Listed here.
A 1957 Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 ‘James Bond’ ‘Big Crown’ ‘Red depth rating’ – lot 146
This is the kind of dive watch we would like to see more often, a rare and iconic Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 (meaning a so-called James Bond, the same that Sean Connery was wearing in the first 007 more Dr. No). We recently spotted another example of this same watch for sale here (that is for sale at 175.000 Euros). The non-OCC Swiss-Only example listed here also shows the rare ‘red depth rating’ 200/600 and the big crown without protection. It is estimated between 60.000 Euros and 80.000 Euros.
Beware… after a closer look, we’ll have say that this watch is too good to be true – or at least too good to have its original dial, bezel and hands. The auction house Artcurial explains that this watch had been restored by Rolex Geneva (service papers delivered with the lot) and we recommend any interested buyer to have a deep look and a proper conversation with an expert to be sure of the originality of this watch. Last thing on which you should have a look: most of the Submariners from this era have a gilt dial, meaning golden inscriptions, hands and minute track, something this watch doesn’t have.
A superb Patek Philippe ref. 130 chronograph in rose gold with salmon dial – lot 119
This 1941 Patek Philippe Ref. 130 Chronograph is certainly one of the best representations of what a vintage Patek is. Launched in 1934, this reference depicts the golden age of timing instruments by the Geneva-based manufacture. It had been made in multiple editions – various metals (yellow, rose or white gold, stainless steel) and several complications (classical 2-pusher, mono-pusher, slip-second). The lot to be auctioned by Artcurial Watches is not as extraordinary as the stainless steel mono-pusher sold recently by Phillips (at 5.000.000 USD…) but it remains one of the greatest vintage chronographs ever made – and a superb edition in this configuration.
The lot 119 listed here features a 33mm 18k rose gold case and a pink / salmon dial with applied Roman numerals and baton markers. The chronograph hands (central second and 30-minute counter) are both blued. The overall condition is excellent and the watch comes with an extract of the archives. The movement, even if hidden behind a solid caseback, is a beauty and shows only a few traces of use. It comes for an almost accessible estimation (compared to some exotic and rare editions): 35.000 Euros – 55.000 Euros.
A rare and superb Breguet Subscription Set of watches – Lot 163
This lot 163 (listed here) is certainly our biggest crush. It is uncommon but not extremely rare (300 pieces), it is rather old but not yet vintage (manufactured in 1991) but it is simply beautiful. This Breguet Subscription set pays tribute to the early watches created by Abraham Louis Breguet. It is composed of two timepieces of an exceptional quality. The first and most noticeable one is of course this modern pocket watch made with all the respect due to the founder of the manufacture (and one of the founders of the modern horology) in an extremely faithful way. The gold, hand-guilloché dial displays the time, the power reserve, the moon-phases and the date. However, the most exciting part is beneath the dial. The movement is the replica of an antique movement with bumper mass in platinum and hand-finished, frosted, gold bridges.
The wristwatch comprised in this set is not void of interest either, as we’re talking of a minute repeater with perpetual calendar. It is of course all about Breguet, with a rather small 18k yellow gold case, fluted casebands and a gold hand-guilloché dial. This set is delivered with a superb box that automatically wound the wristwatch and all the original certificates, tools and papers.
You can read more about the history of this set on the dedicated page on Artcurial.com. This very interesting set of watches by Breguet (numbered 8 on 300) is estimated between 200.000 Euros and 300.000 Euros.
The auction will take place at the Hôtel Hermitage, Monte-Carlo the 20th of July 2015. The full catalog of the auction can be consulted here.