Small Creations That Do Amazing Things at Bonhams Fine Watches Sale in London

As watch aficionados know; when it comes to a watch, the more 'complications' it has, the better. Bonhams Fine Watches sale on 5 August in New Bond Street, London will feature an array of "complicated" watches, with rare and exceptional examples from Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Rolex.

Global Head of Bonhams Watch Department, Jonathan Darracott, commented: "We are very excited for this sale as it features a wide selection of ultra-desirable watches with rare and exceptional complications. Many of the watches offered are rarely seen at auction, and all are highly sought after by collectors. A number of the watches in this sale are truly a testament to the elevation of watchmaking into a striking art form – small yet powerful devices, which do amazing things."

A 'complication' refers to any feature in a mechanical timepiece beyond the display of hours, minutes and seconds. A minute repeater is a complication that enables a watch to chime not only the hours, but the minutes – allowing an exact time to be determined, even in the dark. Minute repeaters are rare in wristwatches, usually remaining the domain of the pocket watch.

Vacheron Constantin first made multi-complication watches with repeaters in the late 19th Century, and the company has fine-tuned its impressive devices ever since. A great example, and one of the highlights of the sale, is the exceptionally fine platinum manual wind minute repeating perpetual calendar wristwatch with tourbillon and power reserve to reverse traditionnelle, ref: 80172. A rare sight at auction, this watch represents the finest in Vacheron Constantin's watchmaking and has an estimate of £200,000 - 250,000. The minute repeating function even includes a centripetal speed regulator, which eliminates the noise interference of the pallet system. At the time of production, this was the most complicated watch that Vacheron Constantin had ever produced.

Also featured in the sale will be a number of exceptional examples from Patek Philippe. Having gained a renowned reputation for their exquisite pocket watches and royal clientele, Patek Phillippe is known for producing watches of the highest quality, with many complex and unusual complications.

Leading the selection will be a very fine and extremely rare Patek Philippe platinum manual wind perpetual calendar split second single button chronograph wristwatch with moon phase, day/night and leap year Indication. ref: 5951p, manufactured in 2010. It has an estimate of £200,000 - 250,000. With the thinnest column-wheel split-seconds chronograph ever made, this watch also features other highly sought-after complications including a perpetual calendar and moonphase. Not only is it a miniature mechanical marvel, its design blends a sophisticated style with a sporty highly wearable edge.

Other highlights in the sale include:

• Patek Philippe. A Fine and Extremely Rare Stainless-Steel Manual Wind Split Second Single Button Chronograph. Ref: 5950a, Purchased 16th November 2011. Estimate: £180,000 - 220,000. The 5950A is an Application piece, meaning it was only ever made for and sold to Patek's best clients. Its limited production makes it exceptionally difficult to find.

• Patek Philippe. A Very Fine and Rare Factory Sealed Limited Edition Anniversary 18k White Gold Automatic Calendar Flyback Chronograph Bracelet Watch With Diamond Set Dial, 40th Anniversary Nautilus, Ref: 5976/1g-001, Purchased 12th June 2017. Estimate: £170,000 - 220,000. The watch was a limited edition of 1,300 and was offered new to the most loyal and supportive Patek Philippe clients. This example is still sealed in its original factory packaging.

• Patek Philippe. A Fine and Rare Factory Sealed 18k White Gold Automatic Wristwatch With Cloisonne Enamel Transatlantic Ocean Liner Dial Calatrava 'ocean Liner', Ref: 5089g-026, Purchased 24th August 2016. Estimate: £65,000 - 100,000. The Ocean Liner series was comprised of three limited edition timepieces paying homage to the days of transatlantic travel. Research suggests this is the first time this variation has been offered at auction. In original factory condition, this watch is absolutely untouched.

• Rolex. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Automatic Calendar Bracelet Watch With Orange Lacquered 'stella' Dial and Green Khanjar With Historical Provenance, Day-date, Ref: 18038, Circa 1982. Estimate: £25,000 - 35,000. The Day-Date has enjoyed a long history of collaboration and limited customization, in particular with the Sultanate of Oman. These watches featured the Emblem of Oman known as the Khanjar. This watch was belonged to Colonel Tony Lewis, DSO, MBE, nicknamed 'the boy colonel' after WWII. Colonel Lewis later held the position of commander of the Sultan of Muscat's armed forces, and it was during this period that the watch was most likely to have been gifted to him.


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