From Auctions to Awards: 7 Can’t Miss-Watch Events Happening This Fall

If you’re a watch lover based in Geneva or New York, rest easy: The events are coming to you. If you happen to live outside these two hubs of the horological scene, however, you may want to look into airline tickets. Between the major auctions, the GPHG awards ceremony and WatchTime New York, you have plenty of cause to split your time between both cities. Below you’ll find a rundown of the season’s highlights.

Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: XVI: November 5 to 6

George Daniels Spring Case Tourbillon
George Daniels Spring Case Tourbillon

In addition to a trio of exceptionally rare wristwatches by George Daniels, Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction: XVI, taking place at the Hôtel La Réserve, features a group of Patek Philippe wristwatches sure to excite collectors. Chief among them is a Ref. 1518 in pink gold, from the late 1940s estimated to fetch between $800,000 and $1,600,000. But collectors of Rolex and independent makers will have plenty of opportunities to indulge their passions.

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Christie’s Rare Watches Geneva Sale: November 7

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Re. 1518 Signed by Cartier
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 1518 Signed by Cartier

Christie’s Rare Watches sale lives up to its title with the star lot, a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph signed by Cartier. Estimated to fetch between $1,600,000-2,600,000, the double-signed watch, the only known example of its kind, is the very definition of “trophy watch.” Look for Cartier’s hand-stamped five-digit reference no. 17544 underneath the upper left lug.

Sotheby’s Geneva Important Watches Sale: November 9

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5650G-001
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5650G-001

The top lot of Sotheby’s Geneva watch sale is a c. 2017 Patek Philippe Ref. 5650G-001 limited edition wristwatch that emerged from the brand’s advanced research initiative. Available in a 500-watch edition, the white gold Aquanaut Travel Time is equipped with an optimized Spiromax balance spring made of Silinvar with patented terminal curve and inner boss that ensures greater precision within mechanical watches. Most charming, however, is the fact that this highly technical timepiece, estimated between $500,000 and $800,000, is missing its 53rd minute marker. According to the sale notes: “Patek Philippe has offered the original owner to replace the current dial, but he kindly declined the offer realizing how special this made the present watch.”

Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Ceremony in Geneva: November 10

Van Cleef & Arpels Fontaine aux Oiseaux
Van Cleef & Arpels Fontaine aux Oiseaux

Geneva’s Théâtre du Léman will once again host the GPHG, the most prestigious awards ceremony in watchmaking. Established brands vie against experimental upstarts to captivate judges with their horological skill and daring. New for this year is a “Mechanical Clock” category that opens the competition to time-measuring instruments such as longcase clocks and table clocks. And following a hiatus, the Chronometry Prize is back to reward a timepiece for its remarkable precision. The finalists include many of the big names (barring Rolex and Patek Philippe, both of which studiously avoid the competition), as well as relatively unknown watchmakers, who may use the awards as a springboard to international acclaim.

Sotheby’s New York Important Watches Sale: December 9

Rolex Paul Newman Daytona “El Limoncito” Ref. 6264
Rolex Paul Newman Daytona “El Limoncito” Ref. 6264.

The highlight of Sotheby’s New York watch sale is a Rolex “Paul Newman El Limoncito” Daytona Reference 6264. With a low estimate of $700,000, the yellow gold chronograph, c. 1969, is distinguished by its lemon-colored dial. Up for auction for the first time, it’s from the family of the original owner, described in the sale notes as “a prominent international diplomat.”

Phillips New York Watch Auction Seven: December 10 to 11 

Cartier London Crash
Cartier London Crash

Phillips’ seventh New York Watch Auction offers a mélange of timepieces united by one quality: They are all extremely hot in today’s marketplace. From an original Cartier London Crash to an early F.P.Journe Tourbillon Souverain in platinum with a salmon dial, the sale will please collectors of vintage and modern timepieces. It even includes an entire section dedicated to Grand Seiko, featuring a unique Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon. For buyers interested in provenance, there’s a Patek Philippe Ref. 3998J with an Egyptian hieroglyph dial, specially made for the photographer Helmut Newton.

TimeForArt Benefit Auction: December 10-11

C By Romain Gauthier Platinum Edition
C By Romain Gauthier Platinum Edition

A curated benefit auction of 17 timepieces, taking place at Phillips’ New York galleries during the auctioneer’s seventh New York watch sale, TimeForArt is focused on watches that embody the theme “Artists for Artists.” That includes pieces created by watchmakers working in collaboration with artists, or one-off artistic creations that highlight the singular beauty and craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking. Best of all, 100% of the sale’s proceeds benefit the Swiss Institute’s free public programming, workshops and exhibitions.

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