Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Auction Hammer – The start of a new season

| By Martin Green | 5 min read |

Auction seasons has begun again after a brief summer recess. On September 14 Antiquorum auctions off 319 items in their New York auction. While going through their catalogue one cannot do anything else then to be surprised and wonder….for a wide variety of reasons.

Take for example lot 13. This features an IWC Aquatimer 2000 (ref. 3568) that was originally sold on May 20th 2011… One wonders how a watch that is less than 6 months old can be on auction so soon? Since Antiquorum rates the watch as ‘very good’ one can expect that it is slightly worn. With an estimate off  $2,000 – $3,000 USD this might be a nice opportunity to get this very young divers watch out of Schaffhausen for a sharp price.

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Talking about estimates, sometimes utterly astonishment is an understatement when it comes to this topic. Lot 260 features a 2002 Breitling Navitimer 92 in 18k yellow gold. It’s estimate? $1,500 – $2,000 USD! Even when you don’t like Breitling’s you’ve got to respect the Navitimer and especially in 18K yellow gold is this still a very precious wristwatch. Its current estimate is even lower then what Breitling charges for the 18K folding clasp that comes with this Navitimer. That might make this Navitimer an interesting purchase for a collector of aviation watches. Oh, and in case somebody outbids you, do not worry lot 263 is an almost identical Navitimer, also in 18K yellow gold, but now from 2004. Estimate this time is between $1,500 and $2,500 USD.

We are staying in the air with lot 125, which is an original pilot’s watch made by Stowa for the German Luftwaffe (air force) in 1940. Stowa was one of the five brands that officially supplied the German pilot’s with suitable watches. The others are Wempe, Laco, Lange & Sohne and IWC. Today Stowa (that is owned by independent watchmaker Jörg Schauer) is still in business and still sells new pilot’s watches at quite an attractive price level. These new watches can be a nice option when you want a pilot’s watch that is really rooted in history without breaking the bank for one of the original. With an estimate between $2,000 and $3,000 USD this Stowa is also rather affordable by itself. Wear ability is a whole other question because not many people have a wrist that can comfortably accommodate a 55mm diameter, but then again the pilots wore this watch around their leg.

Interesting for collectors of this type of military watches is that lot 134 and lot 135  feature the German Luftwaffe watches which were made by Laco-Durowe and have an estimate between $3,000 and $5,000 USD. It seems that the Luftwaffe always flew in pairs because lot 136 and lot 137 feature the watches Lange & Sohne made for them. Estimate for those is between $5,000 USD and $7,000 USD.

But all these watches are put to shame by the estimate that is put on the IWC-version of the Luftwaffe watch, for sale as lot 138. This watch was delivered in 1940 and has an estimate of a stunning $40,000 to $50,000 USD. It’s apparently clear who has the biggest pilot!

Chronographs are popular complications that get even more exciting when they are of the Foudroyante kind. But it can get even more exciting as Graham displays in lot 157. This classical styled watch displays its unique feature at a sub-dial at 9 o’clock. Here a small hand rushes around its dial in 8 steps per second, indicating the measured time up till 1/8th of a second. To highlight this rare complication the sapphire crystal is equipped with a large cyclops that covers the entire sub-dial. Some might recognize this complication from a limited edition Panerai. The PAM 246 has the same complication as this Graham, housed in their famous Radiomir-case. For Ferrari-enthusiasts Panerai also offers this movement in their Ferrari collection, here under reference FER00025. This exquisite Graham has an estimate of $4,000 – $6,000 USD, making it a possible financially attractive alternative for the two watches mentioned earlier.

Sometimes you ask yourself until what extend money talks when it comes to auctions. Lot 311 features a not unattractive Patek Philippe ref. 2449 that is rated ‘Very good’ by Antiquorum experts. How it ever got that rating is a mystery since the dial is heavily oxidized, the hands are partially replaced and the movement in scratched. Worth restoring? Definitely, but apparently we do have a different interpretation of ‘very good’ then Antiquorum. When you are interested in a restoration project you might want to consider biding on this Patek. Its estimate is $5,000 and $6,000 USD.


Other watches might be rare, but then it can still be difficult to find a buyer for them, even when they are made by Patek Philippe. Lot 81, an Ellipse (ref. 3875) in 18K yellow gold, with a very attractive integrated bracelet doesn’t sound bad. A factory set diamond bezel and hour indexes might only add to the appeal for some, even though this Ellipse is equipped with the less desirable quartz movement. The catch is however in the custom made dial. The brown tone is something one must like, but since it’s (former) owner also had his initials printed in gold on the dial it limits the potentials buyers to those who have the initials J.A.A. (or want to pay a premium when they sent the watch to Patek for service to get a replacement dial). Estimate? Between $8,000 – $10,000 USD.

Slowly but surely watch collectors and connoisseurs are rediscovering watches with a dead-beat seconds complication. Of course magnificent watches like the Habring2  Chezard 116, F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain and Grönefeld One Hertz greatly help to this cause. Antiquorum also auctions off another contender in this field as lot 132 . In 2001 Panerai introduced a limited edition of 160 watches that feature this rare complication. The Radiomir Independent, also known as PAM 80, has a Chezard caliber 7400 movement. Nice touch is that Panerai actually put a little Cyclops on the glass back to highlight the part of the gear train that is responsible for the one second increments of the seconds hand. A 42mm white gold Radiomir case houses this movement and Panerai opted for a deep blue dial for this model. It’s estimate is $10,000 – $15,000 USD.

All together Antiquorum seems to start of the auction season with something that comes to mind regarding weddings; something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue! Antiquorum auctions the mentioned lots on Wednesday 14th of September in New York.

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