The December watch auctions in New York City have everything you can’t buy at retail this fall: a Paul Newman Rolex Daytona with a lemon dial (Sotheby’s); an original Cartier London Crash (Phillips); and a Patek Philippe 5711/1A (Christie’s). In fact, most of the lots are from limited series or were discontinued ages ago, and many are turning up at auction for the first time.
The Sotheby’s December 9 sale of Important Watches is led by a Paul Newman “Lemon” Rolex Daytona, Reference 6264. It is one of only a dozen lemon-dialed versions of the exotic reference known to exist. This one, offered for auction for the first time, was owned by “a prominent international diplomat,” according to Sotheby’s (est. $700,000-1,400,000.)
The sale also includes a platinum double-signed Patek Philippe ref. 5970, retailed by Tiffany & Co. Produced in a single series between 2004 and 2011, Sotheby’s says it is only 2,800 examples of the watch across all metals, and one of fewer than 400 in platinum ($300,000-$400,000). Sotheby’s says this is the first time that a platinum 5970 has appeared at auction with the Tiffany & Co retailer signature.
Sotheby’s is also offering a rare yellow gold Patek Philippe World Time ref. 605 with cloisonné enamel central dial depicting a map of North America, consigned by the family of the original owner, a World War II veteran who became a significant American industrialist. It was made in 1948.
The December 10-ll New York Watch Auction Seven by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is led by the only known Patek Philippe ref. 2499 perpetual calendar chronograph double signed by American retailer Howes. The legendary 2499 is the successor to the ref. 1518, Patek’s first serially made perpetual calendar chronograph. Both are very rare. This one was made in 1973. (est. $400,000-$800,000).
Also outstanding is a Cartier London Crash, one of the most sought after vintage models over the past two years. This one, in 18k yellow gold, was made in 1970 (est. $400,000-$800,000).
The sale also includes a rare George Daniels 35th Anniversary watch, to mark the 35th anniversary of Daniels’ invention of the co-axial escapement. It is one of only 35 versions of this reference made in yellow gold. Phillips sold another one last month in its Geneva auction for $694,455 (est. $400,-$1-million).
The top lot in the Christie’s December 8 sale of Important Watches in New York is a rare Patek Philippe made in 1950 with a cloisonné enamel dial. The 18k rose gold case is 33mm, which makes it an ideal size for a woman. the dial depicts a boat tossing in a stormy sea, with a firebreathing dragon as the ship’s figurehead (est. $200,000-$400,000). Christie’s is also selling a rare 18k yellow gold Nautilus reference 3700 with diamond setting on the wide outer bezel, manufactured in 1980. It’s an extremely rare piece (est. $230,000-$330,000). Finally, there is a lot from one of the hottest independent brands of the moment, Richard Mille. The reference RM67-02, “Alexander Zverev” piece is number 297 of 497 pieces made in tribute to the tennis great ($180,000-$350,000). The sale includes a single-owner collection of Patek Philippe references retailed by Tiffany & Co.