Six Predictions for the Phillips Geneva Auction: Five.

By The Collectors' Index

As auction season rolls around again in Geneva, with impressive lots from all of the major auction houses, we thought we would take a look a handful of pieces included in the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: Five, more specifically six predictions supplied by The Collectors Index; an auction analytics platform which has amassed a vast archive of results, not only from the well known, but from a very many obscure and unheard of auction houses. While the vintage auction market is certainly a volatile area, being quite often entirely unpredictable, our friends at T.C.I. are willing to put their data to the test by analysing past performances of each reference.

First up is lot number 35, Patek Philippe reference 2570/1 ‘anti-magnetic’, cased in pink gold. The anti-magnetic reference was developed during the late 1950’s in order to provide a suitable wristwatch for use in scientific environments, which would often expose the watch to extreme levels of magnetism. Being primarily utilitarian, the majority were cased in stainless steel, however a small number of pink gold versions were created, over its lifetime. There are only four known examples in this particular configuration, making it exceptionally sought after by collectors.


Patek Philippe 2570/1 pink gold watch at A Collected Man

Patek Philippe Ref. 2570/1 in pink gold

Currently, there are five known auction appearances:

Antiquorum, movement number: 728935, case number: 2613877, sold for CHF 40,250 on 25/02/1990

Christies, movement number: 728105, case number: unknown, sold for CHF 6,050 on 18/11/1992

Antiquorum, movement number: 728975, case number: 2613875, sold for CHF 16,100 on 13/10/2001

Antiquorum, movement number: 728975, case number: 2613875, sold for CHF 21,850 on 16/11/2002

Christies, movement number: 728618, case number: 697229, sold for CHF 78,870 on 18/11/2003

The reference hasn’t appeared in fourteen years at auction, and as there have been dramatic changes in the watch collecting world since then, the projection would place this lot over the CHF 100,000 mark. The 2003 appearance at Christies has corresponding case and movement numbers with the lot offered at Phillips and has an estimate of CHF 50,000 - 100,000.

Next up, we have lot number 37, Patek Philippe reference 530, with a unique Breguet numeral dial, cased in yellow gold. The reference 530 was first introduced in 1937 and is one of the rarest chronograph models ever created by the firm. The piece was rather large in its day, and created during a time when Breguet numerals were reserved for the most special of references. This watch made its debut auction appearance in 2011 at Christies with an estimate of CHF 250,000 - 350,000, but comfortably sailed past its upper estimate, landing at CHF 603,000; a record price for a yellow gold cased reference 530.


Patek Philippe 530 in yellow gold at A Collected Man - home of rare watches

Patek Philippe Ref. 530 in yellow gold

The lot, which was manufactured in 1949 and subsequently sold on August 12th 1950, is offered with a conservative estimate of CHF 300,000 - 600,000, however, we believe it will hammer in the region of CHF 750,000.

The next lot is item 43 in the sale, the Heuer Autavia reference 3646 chronograph with oversized registers in stainless steel. Vintage Heuer has been going through a resurgence over the last year or so, with some references having been rumoured to have changed hands considerably north of £100k. The interest has become so prominent, that it has warranted Phillips to announce that it will be hosting a Heuer themed sale later this year, presumably including many of the cleanest examples on the market. This lot will serve as a good indication of how the lots will do later this year, perhaps with a few collectors keen to pick one up before new benchmarks are set. The last similar example sold at Phillips during 2015 for CHF 21,250, however, with all of the hype we would estimate that this piece will likely reach close to the CHF 60,000 mark.


Heuer Autavia 3646 steel vintage chronograph at A Collected Man - seller of rare vintage watches

Heuer Autavia Ref. 3646 steel chronograph

Now for a lot from a brand which, comparatively, doesn’t receive a huge amount of attention at auction, the Leroy chronometer with Bulletin de Chronométrie from the Besançon Observatory. Despite having a rich history in fine horology, the Leroy brand is often entirely overlooked by collectors. The brand has had some major achievements stretching back to 1785, with many considering the work of Louis Leroy to be some of the finest in history. He created the most complicated watch in history during 1900, which featured a total of 24 complications. This record was held for 89 years, until Patek Philippe released the Calibre 89 with 33 complications. Despite having papers from the Besançon Observatory, this piece will likely struggle to reach its lower estimate of CHF 5,000, it would certainly be surprising to see this piece reach its upper estimate of CHF 10,000.


Leroy chronometre-graded watch by the Besançon Observatoryat A Collected Man - seller of rare vintage watches

Leroy chronometre-graded watch by the Besançon Observatory

The penultimate prediction is lot number 73, Patek Philippe reference 565 in stainless steel with a double signed Serpico y Laino dial. The last comparable steel reference 565 hammered with Sotheby’s last year at $40,000, which featured a more desirable Breguet numeral dial, making the estimate of CHF 50,000 - 100,000 seem potentially on the high side. This seems particularly true when compared with a Tiffany & Co double signed 565 which sold at Christies during 2014 for CHF 37,500. While this is an attractive piece, the trend is leaning towards larger examples and we feel this will struggle to reach the low estimate.


Patek Philippe Ref. 565 steel with double-signed Serpico y Laino dial at A Collected Man seller of rare vintage wathes

Patek Philippe Ref. 565 steel with double-signed Serpico y Laino dial

Finally, we arrive at lot number 169, Rolex reference 3695 chronograph with a ‘champagne’ dial in yellow gold. This watch is possibly one of the most under-appreciated vintage Rolex chronographs, as it may well be one of the rarest; being only produced from 1940 - 1941. This reference has quite a large future potential and we believe it will sell within its estimate of CHF 60,000 - 90,000.


vintage Rolex Ref. 3695 chronograph with champagne dial at A Collected Man - seller of rare vintage watches

Rolex Ref. 3695 chronograph with champagne dial

For more information, please visit The Collectors' Index.

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