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

Christie’s Luxury sale series returns to Geneva, to the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues this autumn, including highlights from the finest wines, historic vintages and limited edition watches to the rarest diamonds. We selected a few interesting lots from the preview. 

Legendary And Unique Watches – The Collection Of A Lifetime

This auction is rather special – it will be the most important single-owner watch collection auction for Christie’s ever in Geneva. The single-owner collections at auctions are pretty rare and it is even rarer for one to include amazing thematic highlights. 

UPDATE – 7 November, 2022: The ‘Legendary and Unique Watches’ auction realized CHF 31,877,418 / $31,679,596.

A private collection, regardless of the type of collectibles, requires tremendous time, knowledge and financial investments. It’s not surprising that these dedicated high-profile collectors and their families expect exceptional service and maximum returns when they decide to sell. A few auction houses have the tradition and the expertise of being entrusted to sell important single-owner collections. There are auctions where the owner is not disclosed, for example Christie’s offered 250 Hermès lots from a European collector or Bonhams London organised ‘The Craft of Luxury: Haute Couture and Handbags’ single-owner fashion collection. Other sales are associated with famous people, like the Hubert de Givenchy – Collectionneur: Chefs-d’oeuvre | Masterpieces at Christie’s Paris which we were lucky enough to visit this summer. 

The ‘Legendary And Unique Watches – The Collection Of A Lifetime’ includes 112 timepieces, many of them are one-off creations or pieces with personalised dials or prototypes. The collector’s life and passion is – beside timepieces – the world of motor racing, in particular Ferrari and Formula One. Many of the watches reflect the world of motorsport and have direct links to the great names in Formula One. 

Some of the highlights are connected to the seven World Drivers’ Championship-titled Michael Schumacher – a Girard-Perregaux white gold ‘Vintage tourbillon’ commissioned by the present owner to celebrate Michael Schumacher as the 5-time Formula 1 World Champion or watches from the F.P. Journe’s ‘Ruthenium Collection’ – the Octa Day and Night, the Octa Calendar and the Octa Chronograph – all bear the ‘J.T’ initials on the dial and a personal gift dedication on the movement rotor from the great German racing driver. 

There are Richard Mille early prototype wristwatches in the collections, some of them have never been seen publicly before. One is the Richard Mille Limited Edition, REF. RM56-01 NO. 011 (2013) with an estimate value of CHF 2,500,000-4,500,000. This watchis about maximum transparency; the case alone is crafted from single blocks of transparent sapphire crystal. It took 40 days to create, followed by a further 350 hours to polish. The tourbillon shines in the lower part of the transparent dial with a titanium minute ring and luminous hour indexes. At 1 o’clock, the torque sector display shows the mainspring tension. A symmetrical sector display for the power-reserve is placed opposite.

A totally different style is the dress watch platinum Vacheron Constantin ref. 43050 ‘Mercator’ with an enamel dial. It was created upon special request with a Métiers d’Art‘Ferrari Enzo’ cloisonné enamel dial. The Mercator model was launched in 1994 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the famous Flemish cartographer, Gerardus Mercator’s (1512-1594) death. This exclusive order has an estimated value of CHF 100,000-200,000. 

No racing-inspired collection could be complete without Rolex Daytona pieces. The Rolex ref. 6241 ‘Daytona’, 18k gold, champagne ‘Paul Newman’ dial (ca. 1968) has the estimated value of CHF 600,000-1,000,000. The 6241 was produced only between 1966 and 1969 and is therefore a rare reference. It was fitted with ‘non-Oyster’ or ‘non-screw-down’ chronograph buttons and a bezel with a black plastic insert; the tachymeter scale was printed in white. The dials featured ‘Rolex Cosmograph’ but not always ‘Daytona’. (It can be considered as a predecessor of the ref. 6264 – please see one we discussed here.)

The auction will be held on Sunday, 6 November, 2022 at 4.00pm CET in Geneva at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Discover some highlight in the ‘Rare Watches’ sale here.

Source: Christie’s press release. Photo credits: Christie’s
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