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Josh Shanks

The Wish List: A horological couple reviews the upcoming Geneva auctions

Josh Shanks

November 4, 2015

What we’d buy – A his/hers approach to the upcoming November auctions

Many sites offer various market/auction reviews and recaps—but we’re going to try something a little different. We’re approaching the upcoming Christies, Phillips, and Antiquorum auctions from a couple’s perspective. Far too often, sites are curated with a man’s eye, but the woman’s perspective is lost. Since Brenda and I collect with consensus, we’ll each pick five watches we like and would actually buy. Enjoy!

Antiquorum, Geneva - November 8, 2015

Christies, Geneva - November 9, 2015

Phillips Watches, Geneva - November 7 & 8

Brenda’s picks –

When it comes to horological investments, I’m very particular and rarely find more than one every few months that I consider adding to the collection. This upcoming crop of auctions is pretty flush with great finds, though.

Christie’s Lot 150

Patek-Philippe-Ref-1415-World-Time-from-1946.jpgPatek Philippe Ref. 1415 World Time from 1946

Pure elegance in a watch, this vintage world-timer just eclipsed all the new models I’ve seen…and I’m talking amazing, beautiful ones: Nomos and JLC’s Geophysic to name a few. There’s something charismatic about the old names (Bombay; Peiping; New-York with a hyphen just like the original Jay-Z). This is one of the rarest vintage references, with the total output being 115 pieces, and at 31 mm on an alligator strap it’s exceptionally dapper. The estimate is up to $100K USD, but you’ll be traveling in style.

Phillips Lot 179

Phillips-lot-179-Vacheron-Constantin-1941-Doctors-Watch.jpgVacheron Constantin 1941 “Doctor’s watch”

This watch expresses so much personality—it feels so practical, so empathetic, so honest. For a piece from 1941, it’s preserved with the care of someone who’s early-to-bed, early-to-rise. The dial has a silvered two-tone shade and the “double hooded” lugs look like they wear well. At 33 mm, it’s a bit small for a current man’s watch, but as one of 6 in yellow gold known to exist, it’s a great find. Estimate is 50,000-80,000 CHF.

Phillips Lot 235

Audemars-Piguet-1929-Platinum-jump-Hour-Phillips-lot-235.jpgAudemars Piguet 1929 platinum jump hour

This vintage piece is beautiful: it’s got tremendous purity of design, being fanciful but not frivolous. I love the simplicity and surprise a jump hour offers: they’re easier to read, and allows for unique dial design. The metallic shards on this one reminds me of my current Grail, AP’s award-winning Diamond Punk cuff. Estimate is 20,000-40,000 CHF.

Christie’s Lot 162

Jaeger-LeCoultre-Stainless-Steel-Square-Ring-Watch-Christies-lot-162.jpgJaeger-LeCoultre ring watch

I would gladly fund a Kickstarter to make mechanical ring watches a thing again! Sometimes it’s just so much easier than wearing a bracelet. This one is stainless steel with a pink dial, with estimates starting at $5,200 USD. Not a bad idea… If only, this fiancée didn’t already have an engagement ring…

Christie’s Lot 367

Patek-Philippe-Platinum-and-18K-pink-gold-Semi-Skeleton-Minute-Repeater-Calendar-Christies-Lot-367.jpgPatek Philippe Skeletonized Minute Repeating Platinum and Pink Gold Perpetual Calendar Ref 5104P

At the expected estimate of $320,000-520,000 USD I think I’ll wait out this round of bidding but had to call out this beauty. It’s an engineer with an open kimono showing off all its complications, including a moon phase. The four subsidiary dials are transparent, allowing for an unobstructed look at the movement, and instead of hands, they’re highlighted in black boxes that move under the dials.

Josh’s picks –

Since I’ve already added a few pieces this year, my budget is constrained. So I’m going to stick to pieces under $10k, and perhaps I can convince the fiancée to make an exception.

Antiquorum Lot 304

Patek-Philippe-Ref-890139-pocket-watch-Antiquorum-lot-304.jpgPATEK PHILIPPE PINK GOLD DRESS WATCH Patek, Philippe & Cie., Genève, No. 890139, case No. 418542. Made circa 1940.

Let me get this straight, a Patek Philippe pocket watch, in pink gold, with roman numerals, and small seconds for under 5k? Yes, please! If you’re looking for a retro 1940’s pocket watch to wear to your next soiree, this is the one. Estimate is 2,500-4,500 CHF at Antiquorum. The condition report says the movement is “Very Good” but “slightly scratched”. Note, this piece has a “refreshed” dial.

Antiquorum Lot 308

Patek-Philppe-Antiquorom-308.jpgPATEK PHILIPPE REF. 3504 WHITE GOLD Patek Philippe

In my opinion, this Patek Philippe is an undervalued watch. For likely under 10k (estimate 6,500-8,500 CHF), you get a three hand 35 mm Patek dress watch. By modern standards, this piece is a bit small, however, with a tux or interview suit you’re sure to impress. For a watch made during the Kennedy administration, it’s in incredible shape. Some dial patina but those sword hands are lovely. Happy Bidding!

Christies Lot 24

Blancpain-Fifty-Fathom-Aqua-Lung-circa-1965-Christies-lot-24.jpgBLANCPAIN, FIFTY FATHOMS, AQUA LUNG, CASE NO. 200’801, CIRCA 1965

This piece will likely go for way over estimate (estimate 3,000-6,000). I’m hard pressed to find one online for under 15k. However, I want this piece badly. An anti-magnetic diver’s watch with data and sweep seconds. Plus, that Bakelite bezel is insane. Blancpain definitely impresses with this piece from circa 1965.

Christies Lot 168

Omega-lot-168-Christies.jpgOMEGA, RANCHERO, REF. CK 2990, MANUFACTURED IN 1959 for the U.S. Air Force

My childhood hero was Chuck Yeager, he served from 1941-75, which puts this piece (made for the USAF) right dead in the middle of his service to our country. At 41 mm, it an incredible size for the late 50s. The estimate is $2,100-3,100, which I think it will easily meet. Embrace your inner test pilot and bid away!

Christies Lot 222

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-Ref-4960.jpgPatek Philippe Lady’s Stainless Steel Aquanaut Ref. 4960

At 30 mm, I think this piece would be perfect for Brenda. However, Brenda doesn’t like this watch. There’s something about the dial and bracelet pattern that just turns her off. However, at the estimate of 3,000-5,000 CHF I think it’s a steal! Sure, it’s quartz, but it’s a Patek Philippe, it’s waterproof, durable and dependable. Plus, it comes with the original box and papers. If you have a sporting woman in your life in need of a killer watch at a great price, I suggest this.


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