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Last Updated : Oct 22, 2020 10:27 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Rare watches surface at auctions as luxury spending kick-starts; Check out these 6 watches

Experts monitor the health of the luxury spending by tracking the watch industry sales and auctions. Watches are one of the most sought-after luxury accessories and as the segment picks up, rare watches are coming back at auctions. Our pickings from auctions in India and abroad. 

Watch auctioneers will tell you that the prices fetched by fine watches at auctions are a great indicator of how much the world is ready to indulge in luxury. Over the last three years, watch auctions have attracted various kinds of collectors, from quintessential horology connoisseurs to tattooed rockers and musicians and newly-come-into-money tech entrepreneurs.

Vintage and classic watches are the hot assets in investment portfolios. Delhi watch collector, Amrit Kapoor has seen his investment in watches double in value in just 24 months. “Not many know that the rise in investment in watches is as good as stocks in a good market. But in an economic downturn, while stock prices can plummet, watches are never a failed investment. Look for vintage and classic pieces that will rocket in prices in three to five years.” Collectors such Kapoor track auctions across the world to get the best deals and add on to their collections.

We pick a few rare watches that are coming up at various auctions, including one in India in the next one week.


Zenith Daytona, Rolex

Auction: Watches Weekly, Geneva, Sotheby’s

Estimate: 10,000 CHF (Swiss Franc)

Zenith Daytona, Rolex

This chronograph sports a champagne-coloured dial and stainless steel and 18k yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet. Thanks to its sharp yellow gold case, screw-down pushers and contrasting black dial, it is an unmistakable presence on the wrist. As the first self-winding Daytona reference, it is also a historically significant piece and features small, distinctive details that collectors enjoy obsessing about. Designed as the ultimate tool watch for endurance racing drivers, the Daytona features clean styling and has excellent resistance to both shock and moisture. Experts believe it is possibly one of the last production Rolex watches to feature several significant variations to the dial and bezels. In contemporary versions, quirky details and variations disappeared like the minutiae—loved by collectors—have disappeared.

Master Grand RéveilJaeger-LeCoultre

Auction: Watches Weekly, Geneva, Sotheby’s

Estimate: 8,000 CHF (Swiss Franc)

Jager LeCoultre Grand Reveil

It has a 919 automatic calibre studded with 31 jewels and a white dial. The 18k pink gold case features a JLC buckle. Jaeger-LeCoultre was famous for producing alarm watches ever since it launched the Memovox model in 1950. But after the Quartz Crisis, JLC developed a new alarm watch in combination with the complication of a perpetual calendar. The result is the Grand Revéil model with a circular case moulded with bezel and lugs and crafted with crowns at 2 o'clock for time setting and 4 o'clock for alarm setting. For volume and pure tone, this monster has no equal; it boasts great aural firepower. The bronze gong in the Master Grand Revéil was inspired by the robust resonance of bronze gongs in Chinese temples and pioneered in the flagship line of JLC alarm/calendars.

Clown, Konstantin Chaykin (Limited Edition)

Auction: Watches Online, Dubai Edit, Christie’s

Estimate: USD 10,000 to 20,000

Clown, Konstantin Chaykin

This is among the rarest of rare watches in the world auction market. The Russian watchmaker and inventor Konstantin Chaykin believes that it is not sufficient for the classical mechanical watch to have only the chronometric accuracy and high-quality assembling today. Besides, they have to carry certain emotions for their owner and possess accurately formulated art message.

The details then: The brightly coloured pupils and the red elements of the dial, or the ‘face’ of the clown, is reminiscent of mystical hero Stephen King’s 2017 film IT. The Clown’s face changes every minute due to the work of the proprietary module, with a two-disk current time display (hours and minutes are the pupils with the yellow iris), and the moon phase indicator is a smile (it can be corrected with the help of a correction pusher which is set on the left side of a 42 mm steel case). The Clown watch is available in stainless steel; the edition is limited to 27 pieces.

Pink Gold Perpetual Calendar with Moon, Patek Philippe

Auction: Watches Online, Dubai Edit, Christie’s

Estimate: USD 22,000 to 30,000

Pink Gold Perpetual Calendar with Moon, Patek Philippe

The rare pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch has a pink dial, moon phases and a Gay Freres bracelet, signed Patek Philippe. This beautiful model is rare to come by because of the scarcity of well-preserved examples. In approximate 14 years of the model’s production, a total of 281 watches have been made. The majority of these were cased in yellow gold and fitted with silvered dials. Examples in pink gold are exceedingly rare. Some 12 watches of the “pink on pink” dial combination are known to exist today. Well-known for the Graves super complication—a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years—this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand.

Gold Skeleton Dial Wristwatch, Richard Mille

Auction: Heirloom jewellery, silver and timepieces, AstaGuru

Estimate: Rs 45 – 50 lakhs | US$ 63,380 – 70,423

Lot 117 - Richard Mille Extra Flat RM-033 18K Gold Skeleton Dial Wristwatch, Estimate - INR 45 – 50 lakhs (US� 63,380 – 70,423) - Image 2

The features include automatic movement no. 7380, the RMXP1 calibre and 42hrs power reserve. It is studded with 29 jewels and has a gold case, a transparent dial and skeleton back case and applied Roman numerals to indicate the hour with applied white luminescence hour marker above the numerals. Richard Mille, as a brand, is synonymous with sporty watches. This one, however, broke the code. It is ultra-flat, slim, elegant and dressy. The Richard Mille Extra Flat RM-033 measures 45.7mm in diameter. The central part is flat and goes down toward the edges and to the lugs. It makes the watch quite large and probably balances best on a relatively large wrist.

18K Pink Gold Hommage Flying Tourbillon Wristwatch, Roger Dubuis 

Auction: Heirloom jewellery, silver and timepieces, AstaGuru

Estimate: INR 59 - 63 lakhs | US$ 83,099 – 88,732

Lot 115 - Roger Dubuis 18K PINK GOLD HOMMAGE FLYING TOURBILLON WRISTWATCH, Estimate - INR 59 - 63 lakhs (US� 83,099 – 88,732)

The Hommage collection, a tribute to Roger Dubuis, is inspired by a particularly sophisticated model the founder launched and features the same combination of functions: The flying tourbillon, a large date display for optimal readability; and an attractive power-reserve segment. The flying tourbillon is said to a sophisticated and fascinating variation of this horological complication. All the hallmarks of the Hommage collection are there: Slim elongated lugs, a concave bezel, long slender Roman numerals, a fluted crown and a distinctive folding clasp. There are also a wealth of subtle touches, including ergonomically bevelled lugs for a perfect fit and a broader interhorn space that ensures enhanced stability on the wrist. It is stamped with Poinçon de Genève and has a power reserve of 60 hours. The 18k rose gold case incorporates a lacquered dial with Roman numerals, gold hands, gold stick markers and indexes with the minute track at the outer rim. It is water-resistant to 30mm or 99ft and has a case back that is engraved with Roger Dubuis’ signature.
Deepali Nandwani is a journalist who keeps a close watch on the world of luxury.
First Published on Oct 22, 2020 10:26 am