Fresh to Market Rare Pateks at Bonhams Fine Watches Sale

London - Two of the rarest watches by Patek Philippe – a contemporary complicated pocket watch and a modernist 1960s wristwatch, both fresh to market - are just a couple of highlights from the Bonhams Fine Watches Sale in London on 15 June.

The first is a spectacular complicated pocket watch, Reference 962, estimate £80,000 – 120,000, which truly meets the modern-day pocket watch's objectives of demonstrating expertise and celebrating the rich history of the maker's complications. The 18k gold perpetual calendar pocket watch features a moon phase, leap year and 24-hour indication. No more than four pieces were produced and there has only been one other seen at auction before. This example is presented in exceptional condition and is a must-have for the connoisseur collector.

The second Patek Philippe, reference 3422, circa 1960, is a rare example of a design by Gilbert Albert, the young avant-garde jewellery designer hired by the house in the late 1950s. Inspired by the modernist sculptor Brancusi and the non-representational painter Mondrian, Albert produced a rhomboid asymmetrical stepped case, breaking with the traditional Patek Philippe designs.

Only 18 yellow gold and five rose gold pieces were produced over four years. This example, estimate £40,000 – 60,000, is offered on behalf of the family of the original owner and so has never been seen at an auction before.

Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Global Head of Watches, said: "Some sales take on a life of their own and this one is no exception, offering a cluster of unusual, off the wall pieces from Cartier, Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin and even a modernist design by Alain Silberstein. These all sit beside some of the superb examples of collectors' staples like the Rolex Paul Newman 6265 with a Grené dial or the more Modern Rolex Submariner 116610LV, AKA the Hulk."

Patek Philippe is of course a stalwart of the Fine Watches Sale and its more familiar models are also represented in this auction, including an 18k rose gold 2010 Nautilus, reference 5980R, the largest and one of the sportiest Nautilus models (estimate £100,000 – 150,000) and a 2012 Grand Complications retrograde perpetual calendar wristwatch, reference 5160, another limited production piece with officer's style case (estimate £100,000 – 150,000).

Leading the sale is a perennial favourite of collectors: a circa 1971 Rolex 'Paul Newman' Cosmograph Daytona, reference 6265, with a rare grené dial which has a highly matt finish. This sought-after piece has an estimate of £280,000 – 320,000.

Other notable Rolexes in the sale include a selection of tool watches which have been used for their intended purposes. Firstly, a circa 1975 Military Submariner, Ref: 5513/5517, a direct order for the British Military. Issued in 1977, this particular watch was issued to a Navy diver and is offered by its second owner, also a diver. It has an estimate of £80,000 – 120,000.

Another Rolex with a military connection is a circa 1960 GMT Master 'Pepsi', estimate £40,000 – 60,000, offered from the family of the original owner, a highly-decorated airman who served in the RAF from 1944 and then later flew as a commercial pilot. Aside from its impeccable provenance and a state of preservation rare with a watch that is worn constantly, the watch's real rarity is its bezel, made with radium encased in blue and red tinted Bakelite, which was later withdrawn from sale at the recommendation of the Atomic Energy Commission.

More than 70 timepieces, representing the finest names of horology, from Audemars Piguet to Zenith, will be offered in the Bonhams sale. Further highlights include:

Circa 1915 Cartier Tortue, estimate £8,000 – 12,000
An early and rare lady's platinum manual wind wristwatch which, despite being more than 100 years old, is a very wearable, elegant and contemporary looking piece. This watch was designed by Jacques Cartier in an era when most wristwatches resembled miniature pocket watches with a strap.

Cartier Tank à Guichets, Ref: 2817, Limited Edition No.061/100, Circa 2006, estimate £20,000 – 30,000
An18K rose gold manual wind jump hour wristwatch, one of a limited run of 100 Tank à Guichet. Produced as part of the Collection Privée Cartier Paris of 2006, reproducing historic designs from the Cartier archives, this model was inspired by the original Tank à Guichets, the very first Jump hour model produced by Cartier in 1928 - a rarity then and a museum piece now.

Rolex Comex Sea Dweller, Ref: 1665, Circa 1977, estimate £80,000 – 120,000
A working example of a 'tool' watch, this fine and rare stainless steel automatic calendar bracelet watch is offered by former Comex diver, Graham Rowley. It is accompanied by 11 log books which chart his underwater adventures and celebrated diving career.

The collaboration between the world famous French diving company Comex (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise) and Rolex started in early 1971. Each watch was issued to their specialist divers marked Comex on the dial and numbered on the case back.

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Flyback, Ref: 403.032, Purchased 9th June 2007, estimate £35,000 – 45,000
Since its introduction two decades ago, the Datograph remains at the pinnacle of chronograph design with its combination of column-wheel control, flyback mechanism, and precisely jumping minute counter. The flyback chronograph movement allows the stopwatch to be instantaneously restarted for continuous timing, without having to stop, reset and then restart.

Rolex Cosmograph, Ref: 6265, Circa 1982, estimate £90,000 – 120,000
In 1969 Rolex replaced the first Oyster Cosmograph 6240 with references 6263 and 6265. The 6263 featured a black aluminium insert with printed tachymetre, whereas the 6265 presented to the market a smooth engraved metal bezel.

Produced in both steel and gold it is believed that over the course of its production of 20 years no more than 2000 pieces were made in gold, making this example particularly rare.

Ulysse Nardin Tellurium, Ref: 889-99, No.42/99, Circa 1992, estimate £20,000 – 30,000
The third model of the 'Trilogy of Time' a series of revolutionary astronomical wristwatches launched in 1987 by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin and Ulysse Nardin's new owner Rolf Schnyder. The first, the Astrolabium, showed the solar and lunar time; three years later, the Planetarium Copernicus synchronised the planetary cycles. In 1992, the Tellurium indicated the time and place of sunrise and sunset.

This watch's features include a blue sunken dial with outer ring indicating months and the Zodiacs, surrounding a cloisonné enamel map of the continents; moon indicator rotating around the earth in real time; solar and lunar eclipse indication; green dragon head and tail hand indicating month and Zodiac signs; and a flexible spring bending from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn to reveal the part of the earth lit by the sun; indication of time and location of sunrise and sunset.

The Bonhams Fine Watches Sale will take place as a live auction in Bonhams' flagship London saleroom in New Bond Street on Wednesday 15 June 14:00 BST. Pre-sale viewings of all lots are as follows:

12 June 2022 11:00 - 15:00
13 June 2022 09:00 – 16:30
14 June 2022 09:00 - 16:30
15 June 2022 09:00 – 11:00

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