Evinced by the spending power of collectors, the past six months have been the most prosperous the watch world has seen in some time. Not to say the past two years or 20 years haven't been buoyant, they've been remarkable.
Phillips and Sotheby's have also proved, through record-breaking sales (the Rolex Albino 6263, the Patek Mono-Pusher 130, and the Henry Graves Supercomplication) and their exceptional capabilities in terms of acquiring watches and building a deep-pocketed clientele basis, the time to invest in watches is now!
Easily, the strongest segment of the market is in South East Asia. Due to the variety of watches offered, I particularly favor Hong Kong auctions. While modern timepieces dominate the sales, there are always a multitude of top-condition Rolex sports models and sublime jeweled pieces presented.
Christie's upcoming Hong Kong sale is fabulous, probably the best yet! I've chosen four great-looking, collectible wristwatches, from the sale, to explain in greater detail.
Lot 2257: Blancpain Répétition Minutes
Apart from the tourbillon, it's the ultimate complication. The minute repeater serves little purpose in the 21st century, yet it epitomizes craftsmanship in watchmaking. And, often, the minute repeater comes at a premium. This Blancpain Répétition Minutes, with a mere estimate of USD23,000-36,000, is by far the only "affordable" high-end minute repeating wristwatch around. Listen, I'd buy it!
Lot 2542: Omega Speedmaster 2998-6
The perfect sports chronograph? Indeed! As you may, or may not, know I'm a major Speedmaster fan. The 2998 is a spectacular watch that I've sought to own for quite a while. In the meantime, my first step will be a 105.003:-)
Fitted on the proper 1039 bracelet, this 1960 Speedmaster has a streamline "no-crown-guard" straight-lug case and a beautiful black dial with brown-patina'd hands and hour indices. The estimate is considerably low, at USD6,000-10,000.
Lot 2615: Rolex Datejust 16018
Clearly, this is no run-of-the-mill Datejust. Not only is it in immaculate condition, but the dial is crafted from tiger's eye. Occasionally, we find a tiger's eye Day-Date dial, but a tiger's eyes Datejust dial is not a common sight. Considering this Rolex's desirability, especially amongst collectors, a USD5,000-8,500 estimate is fair. If I were in the market for this watch, my maximum bid would be around $12,500.
Lot 2720: Patek Philippe 5971
The Patek Philippe reference 5971 is peerless. Produced only in platinum, and boasting a perpetual calendar chronograph, this is the pinnacle of Patek's Grand Complication collection. The bold black dial, adorned with sapphire hour markers, encircled by a baguette sapphire bezel, is surely the focal attraction of this timepiece. The clasp, also platinum, is ornamented with numerous sapphires. The estimate: USD260,000-460,000. I can't say whether another 5971 will hit the market anytime soon; hence, if you have the funds, raise your paddle(s)!
For additional information, please visit www.christie.com.