Coming up for auction in Hong Kong on November 28, 2012 are three watches representing the epitome of collecting. Three watches might not strike anyone as significant for a collection but these Patek Philippe pieces are truly exceptional, handpicked and carefully curated by the owner over eight years. Some collectors base their choices around a theme such as chronographs or dive watches. Instead this owner took a more intellectual approach, putting together timepieces that captured his four ideals within the brand Patek Philippe.
First off, this group of three watches is called the Dragon Collection because it is the Year of the Dragon. A powerful beast of strength and good fortune, it rules heaven and earth. A comparison to Patek Philippe naturally follows, as it is considered the royalty of watchmakers and the height of horologic creation. The brand doesn’t resort to flashiness or ostentatious displays to command their place. While the dragon protects cherished traditions and is a symbol of a free spirit, forward thinking and innovation, so can Patek Philippe also be defined this way.
Each one of these watches is a masterpiece in its own right. To have collected all three together marks a rare accomplishment, especially because this collector was able to have Patek Philippe fulfill special requests to differentiate two of his watches from even the extremely limited production of these particular models. You have to be a very important customer to have Patek Philippe work to personal specifications. Even more unbelievable is that these watches are coming to market all at the same time. With rarity, freshness to market and impeccable provenance, this trio is a perfect example of hitting the 4 Q’s that determine a watch’s value. You can be assured that collectors with deep pockets will be vying to bring one are all of these treasures home.
So what are these watches, you’re probably wondering.
Patek Philippe Ref. 3939 in platinum
This watch marks the first time Patek Philippe combined a minute repeater and tourbillon complication. In 18 years of production, the brand manufactured less than 200 and only 65 in platinum. What makes this watch even more special is that it’s the only one of this model with a mother-of-pearl dial.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5016
Presented at Basel in 1993 and discontinued in 2011, the 5016 is Patek Philippe’s first watch to combine a minute repeater, tourbillon and perpetual calendar. It’s thought that less than 250 of these watches are in existence worldwide. This particular example stands out because of its dial with ruby indexes, the only yellow gold 5016 to come to market with an unusual dial.
Star Calibre 2000
The belle of the ball is the Star Calibre 2000. This model has never been at market before. A showcase piece that highlights Patek Philippe’s technical sophistication and high craftsmanship, the Calibre 2000 was produced to celebrate the millennium. A highly exclusive pocket watch with 21 complications, including a minute repeater playing Big Ben’s Westminster Chimes, this masterpiece took seven years to develop and contains 1,118 parts.
In this exclusive video, Sam Hines, the head of Christie’s watch department in Hong Kong, takes us inside the collection and explains why these watches are so important. It’s worth it just to hear the lovely tones of all three minute repeaters in what are considered the best in the business. Click on the picture below or access it here.