Monochrome Watches
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10 More Highlights from the 97th Dr Crott Auction on May 12

Audemars Piguet Ref. 5402, Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 3700, pre-Moon Omega Speedmasters, two Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446C, Breguet Type XX and more usual suspects.

| By Frank Geelen | 8 min read |
10 highlights 97th Dr Crott auction part 2

Yesterday, in our first selection of highlights of the upcoming 97th Dr Crott auction of this Saturday, 12 May we focused on the hidden gems, and not so much on the usual suspects. Today we’ll focus on those! Here’s our selection of the highlights, stunning pieces that will certainly attract a lot of attention at the auction that will be held in Frankfurt, Germany. Don’t forget that you can also bid online!

The auction catalogue is packed with hidden gems like we showed you yesterday, and there are plenty more. For instance a lovely old Thomas Mercer table clock (lot 545), or a pre-Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock (lot 602). But now let’s move on to the usual suspects, the watches that attract the most attention and that will probably fetch some spectacular prices.

Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446C for Abercombie & Fitch from 1969

Heuer’s Autavias of this reference are gaining in value, especially after TAG Heuer re-introduced the Autavia last year. Vintage Heuers made for Abercombie & Fitch are always more sought-after than the normal models, so that’s also something that will raise the price, as well as the tachymeter bezel. Another boost for the price will come from the dial and sub-dial colours, as this is a so-called reversed panda dial (black dial with white/silver sub-dials). Add to this the very well preserved condition of the watch and I wouldn’t be surprised if this would go for much more than the estimated price.

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Inside the 40mm case is the beautifully finished and reliable movement, calibre Valjoux 72 (same as in the old Rolex Daytonas). The steel case with its snap back looks like it’s in pristine condition, unpolished and hardly worn. This Autavia Ref. 2446C for Abercombie & Fitch ticks all boxes for people looking for a nice old Ref. 2446C.

Estimate for Lot 97 is EUR 6,500 – 12,000

Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446C from 1968

Here we’ve got another example of a reversed panda dial on this Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446C with tachymeter bezel. This one is from 1968, so it’s one year older than the previous one, and it is in even better condition than lot 97. In fact, studying the photos it looks like it has never been worn, and that probably explains the quite steep estimate price.

Estimate of Lot 98 is EUR 17,500 – 25,000

Omega Speedmaster Ref. 105.003 from 1967

Next up is a nice ‘Ed White’, the nickname given to Ref. 105.003 Speedmasters. This is the last Speedmaster with a symmetrical case and straight lugs, and its dial does not feature the word ‘Professional’ like on all later Speedmasters. A Speedmaster with the same reference was worn by astronaut Ed White during the first American Space Walk – hence its nickname ‘Ed White’.

The movement inside is, of course, Calibre 321. Interesting fact: this particular pre-moon Speedmaster was delivered to US Navy Exchanges in Cuba.

Estimate for Lot 147 is EUR 7,000 – 12,000

Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2998 from 1962

Another pre-Moon Speedmaster and again a model with a symmetrical case and straight lugs. This one precedes the previous lot, the Speedmaster ‘Ed White’, and is a nice example of the Speedmaster as it was first introduced in 1957. Although this is a pre-Moon Speedmaster, another American astronaut actually wore a similar model. I’m referring to Mercury 7 astronaut Walter Schirra, who wore Ref. CK 2998 during his spacewalk, and that’s how this watch earned the nickname ‘First Omega in Space’ (FOiS).

This particular Ref. 2998-62 is from 1962 and comes with a black aluminium bezel with a tachymeter scale. It is graduated to 500 km/h – a prominent characteristic of later Ref. 2889’s. Calibre 321 powers the movement and is protected by an anti-magnetic soft iron cap between the movement and case back.

Estimate for Lot 148 is EUR 15,000 – 25,000

Breguet Type XX from 1959

Back in 1954, the French government commissioned chronographs for both the French Air Force (to be precise for the Centre d’Essai en Vol (CEV)) and for the Aéronautique Navale. Several watch companies responded to this request including Breguet, which also delivered similar watches for the civilian market. According to the military specifications, Type 20 should be equipped with a flyback mechanism, an anti-magnetic cap over the movement and a rotating bezel with 12-hour divisions. Funny fact: while all other companies supplying these watches named them “Type 20”, Breguet was the only one to name its watches “Type XX” with a Roman twenty.

Underneath the anti-magnetic cap, ticks a modified Valjoux movement with an instantaneous flyback function: calibre Valjoux R720. The stainless steel case measures 38mm in diameter and seems to be in very nice condition for such an old watch.

Estimate for Lot 265 is EUR 16,000 – 25,000

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 5402 A-Series from 1973

An A-Series Royal Oak Ref. 5402 is almost a guarantee for a very good price and this one will most likely surpass the high estimate. The iconic Royal Oak from the 1970’s is gaining value every year, especially since Audemars Piguet decided to introduce a new version of the Royal Oak Jumbo in 2012. That was actually nothing more than a facelifted Ref. 15202ST, but it ignited renewed attention for this icon.

This particular Royal Oak looks very good for its age and features the AP logo on the lower half of the dial, like all original A and B-Series. This original A-Series dial has “Swiss” printed below the 6 o’clock marker (instead of “Swiss Made”.) It comes without a box or papers, and it looks like the crown is an unsigned replacement crown. That’s not a big deal since many old Royal Oaks come with an unsigned replacement crown and boxes and papers have been lost over time.

Estimate for Lot 300 is EUR 18,000 – 30,000

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 3700/1 from 1978

Here’s another 1970’s luxury sports watch and this one, like the Royal Oak Ref. 5402, has been dubbed ‘Jumbo’. In those days, a case of 40mm was considered extremely large. This lovely 40-year-old Nautilus has been serviced at Patek in 2014, and is in very good condition! According to the catalogue, it comes with its original box, but I have some doubts about the box being the original Nautilus box from 1978 because the Nautilus was known to come with a cork box.

It comes with its original certificate, original operating instructions, original sales receipt and tag, service invoices, correspondence with Patek Philippe and an additional original steel bracelet from a later date. One way or another, this Nautilus is in great condition, and despite my doubts about the box, I’ve never come across such a complete set.

Estimate for Lot 302 is EUR 45,000 – 70,000 

Patek Philippe Ref. 3970 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph from 1991 – N.O.S.

This timepiece spent the last 25 years untouched in a safe…” When I read a statement like this in an auction catalogue, my ears prick up! New Old Stock! This could well be a once in a lifetime opportunity! The watch in question, a Patek Ref. 3970, is already interesting to start with as it was the first Perpetual Calendar Chronograph from Patek to use a Lemania base movement (Lemania 2310, which is also used by Vacheron Constantin and Breguet among others.) Having spent its life inside a safe, the gold case is slightly oxidised. This is something that some collectors consider a bonus, but if you don’t like it, it can easily be removed by polishing the surface.

This reference was introduced on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary and replaced the much sought-after Ref. 2499. This beauty measures 36mm in diameter, and every time I come across such complicated yet small watches, I wonder when the watch industry is going to wake up and return to more restrained sizes again. So, when you are fed up with the big-bigger-biggest hype and find there’s not much to choose from in modern watches, you can always turn to nice vintage watches like this Ref. 3970.

This NOS Patek Philippe Ref. 3970 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is complete with its original box and brochures.

Estimate for Lot 305 is EUR 55,000 – 70,000

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 – dial featuring signature of UAE’s first Minister of Defense

Now here is something rather special in terms of rarity. Maybe not a horological highlight as such, but something extremely rare due to a signature printed on the dial. Like the Tiffany dials on some Patek and Rolex watches, there’s another type of rare dials that catch the attention of collectors, and these are dials signed by Arabic leaders. The dial on this Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 from 1977 comes with the signature of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s first Minister of Defense.

Besides its provenance, its very nice condition and the very rare dial, it is a ‘normal’ Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675. Inside is Rolex Calibre 1575, the bezel is blue and red (Pepsi bezel) which is normal for that period, and so is the twin-lock crown, the Oyster bracelet with Ref. 78360, and the screw-down case back. I’m no vintage Rolex expert, but the bezel looks quite new, the lugs look quite polished, and the bracelet looks almost unworn. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of any box or papers accompanying this GMT-Master.

Estimate for Lot 366 is EUR 75,000 – 120,000

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tourbillon from 1993

Here’s a watch that ticks many of my boxes! This lovely understated beauty is one of just 500 ever made. Its 18k rose gold Reverso case measures a very discreet 26 x 42mm and features a beautiful silver engine-turned dial that does not immediately reveal what’s inside. If you flip over the case, you will discover an in-house movement by Jaeger-LeCoultre. This hand-wound tourbillon movement, featuring a one-minute tourbillon and a power reserve indicator, is visible only on the movement side while the dial displays the hours, minutes and seconds.

This classy gem comes with its original box, warranty and brochures and looks like it’s in pristine condition.

Estimate for Lot 455 is EUR 23,000 – 28,000

You can browse through the auction catalogue online here and when registered you can even bid online. The auction is executed by Uhren Muser:

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