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Sotheby’s will present the Hong Kong Important Watches Autumn sale on 13 October at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery. Led by three prestigious private collections, the flagship sale will offer over 260 vintage and modern timepieces from world-renowned watchmakers such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe and more, allowing collectors an opportunity to seek out some of the best horological works of art available on the market.
Hong Kong Preview
7 – 12 October 2021
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
Important Watches Autumn Sale
13 October 2021
Sotheby’s Gallery at One Pacific Place
Highlights include a Magician Box made in the 1815, consigned by a distinguished collector, one of five known examples and the last to remain in private hands; two Patek Philippe 5970 and a Rolex GMT-Master from the collection of Hiroshi Fujiwara – the Japanese designer who pioneered Asia’s street culture – all retailed by Tiffany & Co.; and three Contemporary Classic Patek Philippe with special dials, property formerly in the collection of Eric Clapton, CBE. Sotheby’s is also thrilled to announce it will offer cryptocurrency as payment option – first among major watch auctions – for a lot featuring the 50-carat Baguette-Cut Diamond Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5990.
TWO ULTRA-RARE AUTOMATA FROM THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY
The sale is distinguished further by two extraordinary unique pieces made for the Chinese market, from an important private collection, and each embodying auspicious symbols of royalty, strength and good fortune.
The Magician’s box is one of five known examples and the last to remain in private hands, sitting at the pinnacle of all five in terms of the execution, decoration, complex mechanism and overall condition. Last offered for sale by Sotheby’s in 1964, it has remained in a private collection ever since. The necessaire formerly in the collection of John Asprey, is one of only two examples known of this size and is fresh to the market. The other known example is kept in the Hans Wilsdorf Collection at Rolex.
COLLECTION FROM HIROSHI FUJIWARA
A man with multiple titles: Founder of creative agency Fragment Design, prolific collaborator of NIKE Inc., the Godfather of Harajuku - Japanese multidisciplinary artist and designer Hiroshi Fujiwara has been at the forefront of the global fashion and creative scene over the past decades. As an influential trendsetter, Fujiwara passionately explores different aspects of lifestyle and came to develop a deep appreciation and knowledge in horology. Watches seen on his wrist are often the most prominent and timeless pieces on the market, ranging from vintage classics to state-of-the-art timepieces.
Produced in a single series between the years 2004 and 2011, only 2,800 pieces of reference 5970 were ever made across all metals. These numbers are already low for any watch, especially for one of the most desirable Patek Philippe models in modern times, but the present watches have one small detail which elevates them into the stratosphere of rarity and collectability. Located beneath the moon phase is the “Tiffany & Co.” retailer signature. This indicates that the watch was retailed at Tiffany’s New York headquarters, where every double-signed Patek Philippe is individually stamped.
Stamped on the gilt dial of this Rolex is the Tiffany & Co. signature – the first Tiffany & Co. 6542 to appear at auction. Though neither companies have provided any explicit dates, it is commonly accepted that Tiffany & Co. stamped Rolex dials between the late 50s to early 90s. The Rolex 6542 was produced between 1955 to 1959, providing only a tiny window for them to be Tiffany-stamped, hence their rarity on the market. Manufactured circa 1958, the watch was one of the earliest known Rolex wristwatches to be double stamped by Tiffany & Co., making it one of the most historically significant piece to be ever offered at auction.
PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF ERIC CLAPTON, CBE
Formerly in the collection of Eric Clapton, and now coming to the market from a highly important and world renowned collector, the following Patek Philippe references of 3970, 5004 and 5940 are each fitted with a different coloured dial that perfectly matches its case metal. The reference 3970 and 5004 have tachymetre scales and a Breguet numeral at 12 o’clock. These unusual variations are not only confirmed on the Certificate of Origin, but also illustrated beautifully on the coloured portfolio photographs. The reference 5970 is the only known example in white gold to be fitted with Breguet numerals and bracelet, which is also confirmed on its Certificate.
Also once the personal property of the legendary guitarist are 12 Rolex contemporary classics, in a variety of GMT, DateJust and Datyona, complete with guarantee card confirming their provenance. Each watch in its own right is highly desirable due to its rarity and hard to find either at retail or at auction. Below are three examples from this boutique collection, representing Rolex’s brushed, smooth and floating models.
FIRST WATCH IN MAJOR AUCTION TO ACCEPT CRYPTOCURRENCY
Patek Philippe Nautilus, Reference 5990
A white gold and baguette-cut diamond-set dual time zone flyback chronograph bracelet watch with date, Circa 2020
Estimate: HK$8,000,000 - 16,000,000 / US$1,000,000 – 2,000,000
Not only is the present reference 5990 the first example embellished entirely in baguette-cut diamonds to be offered to the market, but also the first watch in major auction accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method. Launched initially in 2014, the 5990 is the most complicated Nautilus ever made by Patek Philippe, incorporating the caliber 28 520 C FUS for the travel time, chronograph and date. From the bezel to the band, the present example is decorated with approximately 50 carats of diamonds and shines brilliantly on the wrist. It embodies the phrase “diamond hands”, used by the community to describe adamant cryptocurrency traders holding on to their high volatility assets. Cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology have inspired countless innovations in the fields of logistics, data managements, privacy, security and of course, NFTs, to name a few. Sotheby’s is proud to accept this currency of the future to be a payment method for this exemplifying and futuristic wristwatch.
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