Watches at auction

The catalog of the upcoming Christie’s auction in New York (Rockefeller Center, June 10) features a couple of historically important timepieces.

The original owner of this Rolex Ref. 6098 ‘pre-Explorer’ was Colonel Patrick Douglas Baird, the leader of the 1953 Swiss Canadian Baffin Island Arctic Expedition. Manufactured in 1952, the watch was presented by the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research (S.F.A.R.) a year later, and worn by Colonel Baird during the famous expedition. Estimate: US$20,000-40,000.

This Patek Philippe Ref. 2526 is an example of the so-called ‘Duo’ models, made for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, who gave them to influential figures. ‘Duo’ stands for ‘Do unto others (as you would have them do unto you)’, the inscription printed on the dial. This one was a gift to Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, who later gave it to a pilot (grandfather of the present owner) as thanks for a skilled, safe flight through a tumultuous storm. Estimate: US$25,000-45,000.


New Releases - Renaud Tixier Monday

The 40.8mm rose gold case houses a caliber centered around a novel micro-rotor re-envisioned to maximize winding efficiency. At the heart of the newly born brand’s inaugural creation is an auxiliary mechanism called ‘dancer’ that serves as both an engine and a shock absorber. This innovation guarantees a 60+ hour power reserve. The micro-rotor’s hidden face is revealed at nine o’clock on the sunburst/grained dial.


Vintage ads - Piaget (1979)

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è sotto l'immagine)

“Recognized as the Ultimate Sportswatch, it has proven to be the Ultimate Watch”. This is one of the earliest ads published after the launch of the Piaget Polo in 1979. Its distinctive case housed an in-house quartz movement at the time. The manufacturer has recently released an update of the timepiece, appropriately naming it Polo 79.

Do you like vintage watch ads? Visit the page about Watch Ads, the one and only two-volume pictorial history of communication and design in 20th Century watchmaking. Do you wish to know more? Watch the video clip about the publication and download the preview of Volume 1.

The vintage ads presented in this website are not featured in the Watch Ads books.

“Noto come l'Orologio Sportivo Supremo, si è dimostrato l'Orologio Supremo". Questo è uno dei primi annunci pubblicati dopo il lancio del Piaget Polo nel 1979. All'epoca la sua cassa inconfondibile ospitava un movimento al quarzo. Recentemente la Casa ha presentato una riedizione del modello, battezzandola - ovviamente - Polo 79.

Ti piacciono le pubblicità d'epoca? Visita la pagina su Watch Ads, l'unica storia illustrata in due volumi della comunicazione e del design nell'orologeria del Novecento. Vuoi saperne di più? Guarda il video sull'opera e scarica l'anteprima del Volume 1.

Gli annunci pubblicitari d'epoca presentati in questo sito non sono tra quelli riprodotti nei volumi Watch Ads.


New Releases – Raymond Weil Millesime

First prize winner in the ‘Challenge’ category at GPHG 2023, the new collection offers two time display variants: reference 2925 with a central seconds hand; and reference 2930 sporting a small seconds counter at 6 o'clock. The textured-finish dial is protected by a ‘Glassbox’ sapphire crystal with dual-sided antireflective treatment. The 39.5 mm stainless steel case hosts the self-winding Caliber RW4251, featuring a 38-hour power reserve.


Icons at auction / 2

Two top lots from the catalog of the upcoming Antiquorum auction (Geneva, 11-12 May). Watch the video clips.

Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Ref. 6265 - ca. 1975 - Estimate: CHF80'000-140'000


Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 2523 - 1953 - Estimate: CHF1'000'000-2'000'000


Icons at auction / 1

The upcoming Christie’s auctions feature a few remarkable Rolex and Patek Philippe timepieces. 
Previously owned by Gordon Bethune, the CEO of Continental Airlines 1994-20024 and a world-renowned collector, this triple date Oyster Perpetual Ref. 6062 features the much coveted “Stelline” dial. Geneva, 12 May. Estimate: CHF 350,000-700,000.
This Reference 6036 ‘Jean-Claude Killy’ triple date chronograph also belonged to Gordon Bethune. It was named after the French Olympic skier, a Rolex ambassador for 40 years. Geneva, 13 May. Estimate: CHF 160,000-200,000.
This Reference 6100 is one of three Rolex wristwatches featuring a cloisonné enamel dial decorated with a coat of arms known to date. Vintage cloisonné dials exhibit a certain colour palette which is more tonal and characterful than modern enamels, due to materials such as lead, mercury and cyanide still allowed to be used in the enameling process in the 1950s. Geneva, 13 May. Estimate: CHF 220,000-440,000.
This Yellow gold Patek Philippe Reference 2523 features a world time dial with the names of 41 cities in French, and a cloisonné enamel map of Eurasia attributed to Marguerite Koch. It is one of only three examples known to still exist today. Hong Kong, 26 May. Estimate: EUR 4,600,000-9,200,000.


Novità – Aerowatch Régulateur Automatique 1942

Proposto in serie limitata di 100 pezzi, il modello ha una cassa impermeabile da 42 mm in acciaio inossidabile. Sotto il vetro zaffiro bombato il quadrante decorato a “clous de Paris” visualizza l’ora in alto, i minuti al centro, i secondi in basso e la data a ore 3. Il movimento automatico Sellita visibile attraverso il fondo cassa trasparente presenta una massa oscillante decorata.


Vintage Press - Revue Internationale de l'Horlogerie (1952)

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è in fondo alla pagina)
The Revue Internationale de l’Horlogerie (RIH) was a trade magazine published monthly in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland). Its April 1952 issue was fully devoted to the self-winding wristwatch, a product that over twenty years after its debut still struggled to gain widespread acceptance among the public. As the Bales Watch Fair was approaching, the obvious intent of the RIH was to promote the sales of a timepiece that customers still found unreliable and too expensive.

The brief history of the self-winding watch is the work of Alfred Chapuis, the most reputed historian of watchmaking at the time. Abraham-Louis Perrelet is mentioned as the inventor of the “Perpetuel” timepiece in the 1770s. A few years later, such great watchmakers as Abraham-Louis Breguet and Louis Recordon patented their own ingenious systems. The British John Harwood was the first to create an automatic wristwatch in the late 1920s. In the mid-1930s, the Perpetual by Rolex paved the way to the modern automatic watch.

The following pages feature a wide selection of contemporary self-winding movements presented by their manufacturers. Photo above: calibers by ETA and AS.

Most exhibitors at the upcoming Basel Watch Show were presenting automatic watches. These pages feature products by Rolex, Movado, Omega and Breitling among others.

The final pages are devoted to the impact of the self-winding watch on world markets. Retailers from all over the globe were invited to write about their experiences. Photo above: reports from Brazil and Canada.

La Revue Internationale de l’Horlogerie (RIH) era una rivista specializzata pubblicata mensilmente a La Chaux-de-Fonds (Svizzera). Il numero di aprile 1952 fu interamente consacrato all’orologio da polso automatico, prodotto che a oltre vent’anni dal debutto stentava a conquistare il grande pubblico. Con l’avvicinarsi della Fiera di Basilea, la finalità della RIH era ovviamente di favorire le vendite di un segnatempo che il pubblico percepiva ancora come inaffidabile e troppo caro.
La breve storia dell’orologio automatico fu affidata ad Alfred Chapuis, lo storico dell’orologeria più prestigioso dell’epoca. Abraham-Louis Perrelet è citato come inventore negli Anni 70 del 18esimo secolo. Alcuni anni più tardi, grandi orologiai come Abraham-Louis Breguet e Louis Recordon brevettarono a loro volta sistemi ingegnosi. Il britannico John Harwood fu il primo a creare un orologio da polso automatico verso la fine degli Anni 20. A metà degli Anni 30, il Perpetual di Rolex aprì la strada all’automatico moderno.
Le pagine successive presentano un’ampia gamma di movimenti automatici contemporanei descritti dai loro fabbricanti. Nella terza foto dall’alto, calibri di produzione ETA e AS.
La maggior parte delle Case partecipanti all’imminente Fiera di Basilea esponeva orologi automatici. In queste pagine (quarta foto dall’alto) appaiono prodotti firmati Rolex, Movado, Omega e Breitling fra gli altri.
La sezione finale è dedicata all’impatto dell’orologio automatico sui mercati mondiali. La rivista invitò commercianti di ogni parte del globo a condividere le loro impressioni sul tema. Nell’ultima foto, i rapporti dal Brasile e dal Canada.


Bibliography / Bibliografia

Click here for a summary of the print sources - books, magazines, catalogs, manuals, brochures, yearbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias - from which I drew to write my historical books. I hope it will prove useful to those who wish to delve into one or more themes related to the history and technology of watchmaking. Happy hunting!

Clicca qui per consultare una sintesi delle fonti cartacee - libri, riviste, cataloghi, manuali, opuscoli, annuari, dizionari, enciclopedie - alle quali ho attinto per scrivere i miei libri storici. Spero che possa risultare utile a quanti desiderano approfondire uno o più temi legati alla storia e alla tecnica dell’orologeria. Buona ricerca!


New releases – Vulcain Cricket André Didixein

The brand and CronotempVs Collectors present a limited edition Cricket watch created as a tribute to André Didisheim, descendant of the founder of Vulcain and Real Madrid football player. The 39 mm stainless steel case houses the Vulcain caliber V-10 manually wound with double barrel, a result of the evolution of the 1947 original movement. The dial features Arabic numerals coated with Superluminova and a chromatographic effect created to simulate its aging.


New releases – Nivada Grenchen Chronoking ‘Paul Newman’ Orange

Taking cue from a vintage Chronoking, the dial features a ‘Newman’-style Art Deco typography on tan-colored sunray sub-dials, set against a black dial with an orange gradient minute track. The 38 mm stainless steel case is water resistant to 10ATM and houses a fully restored vintage Valjoux 23 Z movement.


New Releases – Fédérique Constant Perpetual Calendar designed by Peter Speake

British watchmaker Peter Speake and the Geneva-based brand unveil the latest addition to the Manufacture collection: a Perpetual Calendar housed in a 42-millimetre steel case. All of the displays have been skeletonised, as have the hands. Each component boasts its own lined finish; the gears of the perpetual calendar feature a circular satin finish and blued screws. The transparent caseback reveals the openwork oscillating weight characteristic of the Maison’s Manufacture movements. The words ‘Limited Edition 135 pieces’ are engraved on each timepiece.


Vintage ads - Longines (1939)

"Patented waterproof watch - Antishock device - Unbreakable crystal". This ad dating back to 1939 hints to more than just all-weather timepieces. The military-looking aircraft seen on the background is a reminder of the difficult times ahead, as Europe is on the verge of war. The chronograph on the left is equipped with the caliber 13ZN. The watch on the right looks very much like a number of timepieces supplied to the armies.
Do you like vintage watch ads? Please visit the page about Watch Ads, my two-volume pictorial history of communication and design in 20th Century watchmaking.
Click here to watch the book trailer.
Click here to display and download a 20-page preview of Volume 1.

"Orologio impermeabile brevettato - Dispositivo antiurti - vetro infrangibile". Questo annuncio del 1939 non allude solo a orologi in grado di affrontare le intemperie. L'aereo di aspetto militare sullo sfondo ricorda che l'Europa sta vivendo tempi difficili ed è sull'orlo della guerra. Il cronografo sulla sinistra è equipaggiato con il calibro 13ZN. L'esemplare sulla destra è molto simile a quelli forniti a numerosi eserciti.
Ti piacciono le pubblicità d'epoca? Visita la pagina su Watch Ads, la mia storia illustrata in due volumi della comunicazione e del design nell'orologeria del Novecento.
Clicca qui per guardare il video.  
Clicca qui per visualizzare e scaricare un'anteprima di 20 pagine del Volume 1.



New Releases – Piaget Polo Field

The gadroons of the Piaget Polo collection are thickened to blend with the textured rubber interchangeable bracelet. The dark emerald tone pays homage to the polo fields and lawns of West Palm Beach in Florida, where the Maison made the Polo World Cup turn into the Piaget World Cup. The stainless steel case of this 400-piece annual limited production watch houses the 1110P Manufacture self-winding mechanical movement.


Historical Watches - Rolex Oyster 'Octagon'

The latest mini-documentary from the 10e10.ch YouTube channel deals with an almost identical watch to the Rolex Oyster worn by Mercedes Gleitze during her Vindication Swim across the English Channel. The film about her legendary endeavor was released theatrically in the UK and Ireland on 8 March 2024. Click on the image below to watch the official trailer.


Orologi storici - Rolex Oyster "Octagon"

L’ultimo mini-documentario del canale YouTube 10e10.ch tratta un orologio quasi identico al Rolex Oyster indossato da Mercedes Gleitze durante la sua “Prova della Conferma” attraverso la Manica. Il film "Vindication Swim", dedicato alla sua leggendaria impresa, ha debuttato l’8 marzo 2024 nei cinema britannici e irlandesi. Clicca sull’immagine sotto per guardare il trailer ufficiale.



New Releases - C by Romain Gauthier Titanium Edition Four

This 38-piece limited edition in black Grade 5 titanium features a 41 mm case, off-centered hours and minutes, an in-house hand-wound movement with stop-seconds mechanism, titanium finger bridges, a balance wheel with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights, plus hand-assembled pallet lever that is triangular for maximum rigidity. The black rubber strap comes with a satin-finished and polished Grade 5 titanium pin buckle coated with black ADL.


The History of Watchmaking by Europa Star

For thousands of years, humanity has tried to measure time by inventing new tools. From the sundial to the Rolex Oyster and the Apple Watch, this video clip by Europa Star magazine looks back at the most important horological innovations in history.
Language: English with English subtitles.