On October 24, 2017 Heritage Auctions will offer extraordinarily rare and exciting pieces to the block. Leading the way, and forming the pinnacle of this single owner collection from a well-known tech entrepreneur is a pair of minute repeaters from Patek Philippe. The Ref. 3974J is both a design and technical tour de force, a masterpiece of haute horology, and rightly considered one of the most beautiful and important wristwatches from the manufacturer over the last 50 years. This example is one of only circa 90 made, in yellow gold, during its 13-year production run and was created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Patek Philippe.
The complexity of the automatic perpetual calendar moon phase, combined with the minute repeating complication, points to nearly 4 years of research and development of the Caliber R 27 Q featured in this timepiece. Alongside this is the Ref. 5013R from 2007, an automatic retrograde date minute repeater fashioned in a rose gold tonneau shaped case. With 515 movement parts, it was previously one of the most complicated wristwatches Patek had produced at that time. These two amazing timepieces are just part of the extraordinary single owner collection offering.
Other highlights from Patek Philippe include an ultra-rare Ref. 5204P Split Second Chronograph in Platinum. This watch has rightly become a modern day icon, a grail piece for collectors, and easily the most desirable perpetual calendar on the market. Also available is a stunning pair consisting of the Ref. 5004P and Ref. 5004R. One is a double sealed rose gold example and the other a platinum version, as well as two Ref. 5970P and Ref. 5970R watches in rose gold and platinum and a pair of Ref. 5960P and Ref. 5960R models also in rose gold and platinum. Additionally, in this same collection is a gorgeous white gold Ref. 5270, and one of the best-known examples of a Ref. 1579R to come to auction. Finally, the well-known and loved Calatrava Ref. 570R, with center seconds from the late 1950s, still factory sealed from the Patek Philippe service center, will be of great interest in the auction room.
As divers lived and worked in ever-greater depths, Omega started work on the famous “Ploprof” (PLOngeur PROFessionel, or “professional aide” in English) Seamaster 600, established to the general public in 1970 after four years of testing and research. During the R&D procedure, Omega tested the PloProf to 600 meters at the factory, and to 1,000 meters off the coast of Marseilles. Back in September, 1970, three COMEX anglers wore the PloProf for eight times, working in the water four hours per day, in a depth of 250 meters. Cousteau’s anglers used the watches from the coast of Marseille during a pair of experiments to check the effects on divers working at depths around 500 meters. For this very day, the Omega Seamaster title is the same as professional diving. (For our evaluation of this contemporary Omega Ploprof, click here.) Omega made its initial chronograph in 1898, and over a decade, the timepieces were used to measure time in more than 16 sporting competitions. After winning 1st place in all six classes at the 1931 Geneva Observatory trials, Omega’s reputation for accuracy led the International Olympic Committee to appoint Omega since the official timekeeper of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. This was the very first time in Olympic history that one brand was given the responsibility to time all occasions. The newest supplied 30 high-precision chronographs capable of measuring 1/10th of a second (an Olympics first), all which were certified as chronometers from the Observatory at Neuchâtel as well as the National Physics Laboratory in the USA. (The timekeepers at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam utilized their private stopwatches.)
For the modern wristwatch collector, Heritage Auctions will be offering a Platinum Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon 2 No. 58/75, and an Audemars Piguet Carbon Concept Tourbillon. These are two completely different, but industry-changing applications to the tourbillon regulator from two of the most respected manufactures producing timepieces today.
Every important watch brand will be represented, with an especially strong selection of sports watches from Rolex. This includes multiple Submariners, GMTs and Daytonas, in varying combinations of era and specification, as well as a vast array of Bubblebacks and classic Datejust models.
Of particular interest to the vintage chronograph collector will be the ‘Nina Rhindt’ Compax by Universal Genève. This highly collectible wristwatch, with its signature “panda” dial, has increasingly been on the collector radar. For the Omega and space enthusiast, the actual Omega Speedmaster 40th Anniversary Ltd Ed No. 11 that was presented to astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 2009 by Omega will also be available. Here, the limited edition Number 11 is obviously significant due to Buzz Aldrin’s history-setting Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
The auction will be held online and in the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on October 24, 2017 at 1 pm, with previews on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of October at Heritage Galleries: 445 Park Avenue, New York NY. ha.com
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