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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Christie’s’ second auction of the year in Dubai once again blended two interesting fields. On 29-30 October masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arabic, Iranian and Turkish art were under the hammer in two instalments including the works of Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, and Tunisian artist. In addition to the paintings and sculptures three Louis Vuitton Anglais Azer trunks adorned with eL Seed motifs were also sold. eL Seed is a French-Tunisian street artist whose works incorporate traditional Arabic calligraphy.

Within the Important Watches auction, visitors had a chance to bid on watch specialities on 29 October. This auction made a total of USD 1,591,750. It is Christie’s highest watch sale result realised in the Middle East.

The highest selling item of the auction was one of Piaget’s Haute Joaillerie models. This 18K white gold jewellery watch set with 236 baguette cut and 192 round brilliant diamonds, sold for USD 106,250 – almost double the estimated price.

Piaget, 18k white gold and diamond-set bracelet watch


The second highest seller (USD 97,500) was a beautiful Breguet piece that is one model from an exceptional series. The collection was created for the 200th anniversary of Breguet’s invention of the tourbillon on “7 Messidor An 9” (June 26, 1801 in the French republican calendar). The face of the watch is covered by a so-called half hunter case. The hunter watch was originally a pocket watch where the glass was shielded by a liftable cover to protect it from any damage during a hunt. On the half hunter facet here is a small round opening for the face of the watch. The 18K pink gold watch also features a mechanical lever movement (Cal.577T) and tourbillon. The reverse of the watch is a masterpiece in itself with fine engraving and the rear of the watch is engraved with the date of the tourbillon’s invention.

Breguet, pink gold half hunter case tourbillon wristwatch


A limited edition Blancpain took the third place of the imaginary podium (selling for USD 93,750), featuring an automatic perpetual calendar, tourbillon, and chronograph. Blancpain has always been committed to mechanical movements and to the production of “grande complication” wristwatches. The embodiment of this, the Blancpain Tourbillon Quattro wristwatch was unveiled in 2001. This limited production timepiece with 432 parts contains four complications: tourbillon regulator, perpetual calendar, fly-back split-seconds chronograph. The model up for bidding at the auction had a cream coloured face, gold Roman numerals and subsidiary dials for month combined with leap year indication, date combined with 30 minute register and day combined with 12 hour register.

Blancpain, pink gold limited edition automatic perpetual calendar chronograph


Several Audemars Piguet pieces were also included in the auction, for example one of the iconic Royal Oaks from the early 1980s, with a dial signed Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Sheikh Mohammed, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates) in Arabic. Another curiosity was a rectangular pink gold model from the Museum collection – this piece is slightly unusual in both shape and style for the brand- and featured Cal. 2085/2816 mechanical lever movement. The white face has an eccentric time display, with black Roman numerals, Arabic numerals for minutes, and subsidiary seconds.

Purchases could be made at the event not only at the auction but via private sales too. The sales channel is extremely popular and successful in the Middle East. Some truly outstanding watches and enthralling jewels found new owners this way, for example a gold and diamond Boucheron choker and earring set formerly belonging to Princess Salimah Aga Khan, a diamond necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels  and a jewellery set made from a private collector’s selected emeralds.


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