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Sotheby's New York announces Auction of Important Watches & Clocks to be held on 14 June
‘The Drunkard’. Est. $30/40,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s annual spring auction of Important Watches & Clocks in New York will be held on 14 June 2012. The sale comprises one of the most impressive selections of wristwatches, pocket watches, clocks, automata and other timepieces that Sotheby’s has ever offered in New York, with a focus on pieces that come fresh to the market from private collections. The various-owner auction complements the sale of Watches from the Collection of the Late Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr. and His Grandfather Henry Graves, Jr., which will take place at 10:00am on the morning of 14 June. The exhibitions for both auctions will open in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries on 9 June.

Sotheby’s will host the lecture The Life and Timepieces of Henry Graves, Jr. by Stacy Perman at 5:30pm on Wednesday, 13 June.

Of the exceptional selection of modern and vintage wristwatches by Patek Philippe that are on offer this June, the auction will be highlighted by An Exceptional Rare, Fine, and Important Platinum Tonneau Automatic Minute Repeating Annual Calendar
Wristwatch, 2008, Ref 5033P-010 (est. $380/480,000*). The reference 5033P was originally produced in 2002 as a special order for a Middle Eastern royal family, with 10 examples in platinum and one in titanium, and was officially launched to the public in 2006 at the Basel Fair. Coveted by collectors and recognized as the rarest of all Patek Philippe modern minute repeaters, this reference rarely comes to market.

Also leading the offering of wristwatches from the legendary firm is A Fine and Rare 18K Yellow Gold Oversized Chronograph Wristwatch with Register and Tachometer, circa 1949, Ref 530 (est. $200/300,000). The piece has descended in the same family since 1950, and represents one of the finest unpolished and unrestored examples of a Ref. 530 ever to appear on the market. In addition, the impressive triple-stepped case on A Fine and Rare 18K Pink Gold Rectangular Tourbillon Wristwatch with 10-Day Power Reserve Indication, 2011, Ref 5101R pays tribute to Patek Phillipe’s celebrated Art Deco designs (est. $220/280,000).

The sale will open with a group of three musical automata by celebrated French maker Gustave Vichy (1839-1904), who was known for his lifelike and ingenious creations. The late-19th century French automata have recently been brought back into popular culture through Martin Scorcese’s film Hugo, which chronicles a young boy’s quest to fix an old automaton left to him by his deceased father. Vichy’s pieces – based partly on real life and partly on fantasy – are well-illustrated in the ‘La Japonaise’ (est. $25/35,000), ‘The Peasant and the Piglet’ (est. $30/40,000), and ‘The Drunkard’ (est. $30/40,000). Video of their movements is available at sothebys.com.

The Cartier works on offer include a group of 14 watches and desk timepieces from an exceptional private collection, representing a unique offering. The centerpiece of the collection is ‘The Billiken’, an important and unique rock crystal, onyx, gold and enamel diamond-set eight-day desk timepiece made by Cartier circa 1925 (est. $200/300,000). The whimsical, elf-like shape of the Billiken is a symbol of luck created in 1908 by art teacher Florence Pretz – its name is derived from President William Howard Taft’s nickname, Billy, following just a few years after Theodore Roosevelt’s name was used to popularize the ‘teddy bear’.

Property of a Private Nantucket Collector will be highlighted by a group of 11 pieces representing some of the most iconic and unique Calatrava designs made by Patek Philippe in the 1930s–60s, with exotic dial combinations that continue to inform and inspire the modern Calatrava collection of the firm. A Fine and Rare Oversized Stainless Steel Wristwatch with Three Tone Dial and Breguet Numerals, 1938, Ref 570 features a stunning three tone dial that is divided into four parts, and is one of only six of its type (est. $60/90,000). The group will also offer modern pieces by Patek Philippe, as well as six vintage Rolex watches.

Modern watches on offer in the June auction include pieces by Audemars Piguet, Roger Dubuis and Urwerk. The selection is led by A Limited Edition Oversized Platinum Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with 7 Day Power Reserve made circa 2007 by Audemars Piguet was inspired by a movement invented in 1791 by the French watchmaker Robert Robin (est. $100/150,000). The caliber AP 2899 – debuted in this watch – transmits energy directly from the escapement to the balance, eliminating the need for lubrication.

Timepieces with great history include A Fine and Rare 18K Yellow Gold Automatic Wristwatch, 1954, Ref 2526 by Patek Philippe, retailed by Tiffany & Co (est. $30/40,000). Based on Sotheby’s research, this watch was presented by Lydon B. Johnson to Albert Thomas in 1954. Thomas was a Democratic Congressman from Texas from 1937-1966, and is recognized as the political protégé of LBJ, who also wore a Patek Philippe Ref. 2526 – now part of the permanent collection of LBJ Museum. The watch bears the inscription “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium



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