Patek Philippe well feted for its 175th anniversary

Excluding the Henry Graves Supercomplication, which went for an astounding CHF 23.2 million, this November’s Geneva sales realised CHF 25.4 million with Patek Philippe alone. Antiquorum, Christie’s and Sotheby’s closed their autumn sessions on a total CHF 78.6 million.

It would be an understatement to say that Geneva’s salerooms paid a vibrant tribute to Patek Philippe this November for its 175th anniversary. Of course there was the headline-grabbing sale of the Henry Graves Supercomplication at Sotheby’s for CHF 23,237,000, making it the most valuable timepiece ever in auction history. This sparkling finale was, however, far from being the only moment when the Genevan watchmaker stole the show. Christie’s had its celebration planned too, with a thematic sale of 100 lots for which bidders packed the room. It totalled CHF 19,400,000 in three hours. In all, 340 Patek Philippe watches were put on the block between November 8th and 11th, representing a fifth of total lots. They garnered – minus the Graves Supercomplication – CHF 25,400,000 or 32% of takings. Add the Supercomplication and figures rise to 62% of the CHF 78,600,000 total.

A historic moment

Patek Philippe claimed the top spot at every sale over the course of this extraordinary weekend, beginning with Sotheby’s, of course. Shortly before 6.45pm on November 11th, a buzz ran through the audience that had filled the room at the Beau-Rivage hotel. As though acting on cue, hundreds of mobile phones were held aloft, including by members of staff. Lot 345 had just appeared on the screens behind Tim Bourne, Worldwide Head of Latest Omega Replica Watches. Such a historic moment had to be captured with a photo.

At the back of the room, a well-known watchmaker from La Vallée de Joux, there to  Replica Cartier Watches this incomparable timepiece make its second auction appearance, spent the opening minutes of the session recounting the rivalry between Henry Graves Jr., a fabulously wealthy New York banker and the original owner of this Patek Philippe n° 198.385, and the industrialist James Ward Packard who made his fortune in automobiles. Legend has it that the two men, both enthusiastic collectors, went dollar-to-dollar in a battle to own the most complicated watch ever made. An urban legend, it transpires. As journalist Alan Downing wrote in Watch Around magazine in 2013, Packard took delivery of his most expensive Patek Philippe in 1916, whereas Graves only became interested in fine watches in 1919. When he travelled to Geneva to order his Supercomplication in 1928, his rival, whom he probably never met, had been dead for several months.

Suspense at its height

From a starting price of CHF 9 million, bids quickly climbed to 13 million, in steps of one million, then rose to 17 million before tantalisingly long minutes at CHF 18,750,000. Two men in the room weren’t using their mobile phones to take photos. Rather they were talking to the bidders on the other end who were gauging the full measure of the amounts at stake. Raising his gavel, Tim Bourne was about to put an end to the suspense when a hand was raised: 19 million! Applause from the public, more tension for the bidders. “Well fair, last chance!” Three more times the gavel hovered ominously over the block and three more times bidding resumed: 19.95, 20.5, 20.6… The hammer finally came down amidst general commotion. Just time to hang up, and the two intermediaries threw their arms around each other. Buyer’s premium and tax included, final price came to CHF 23,237,000. An unprecedented figure. The watch had been estimated at CHF 15,000,000.

Talk has it that a Russian oligarch, close to political power, is behind the winning bid. One thing is for sure: the Patek Philippe Museum won’t be adding this trophy to its collection. Perhaps it consoled itself with Reference 3974, a Perpetual calendar minute repeater with moon phases, manufactured in 1991 in yellow gold, which at CHF 329,000 took second place on the rostrum (lot 344, est. CHF 230,000-350,000)? Or with Reference 3448, a perpetual calendar with moon phases made in 1972 in white gold, featuring a unique engraving of the emblem of the Sultanate of Oman. It fetched CHF 311,000 (lot 359, est. CHF 270,000-400,000)? Huge amounts which nonetheless pale in comparison.

CHF 200,000 on average

While Sotheby’s did an admirable job keeping interest in the Supercomplication high throughout the weeks preceding the sale, with a final total of CHF 31,600,000 it in fact came second to Christie’s which closed its session on an impressive CHF 34,100,000. Much of this was courtesy of the Patek Philippe anniversary sale during which no less than nine world records were broken. The 125 seats in the room were reserved days in advance, while 320 bidders from around the world registered to take part. An exploit for this type of session.

The highlight of the sale was Reference 2499 in pink gold. Manufactured in 1951 and part of the rare first series, this perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases went for CHF 2,629,000 (lot 59, est. CHF 1.6-2.6 million). A year earlier, the same model, this time made in 1957, sold for CHF 1,985,000, also at Christie’s. The first three watches on the block exceeded CHF 2,000,000, when the average sale price came to CHF 200,000.

Some rare historic pieces

This thematic sale was something of a warm-up for the traditional session, held the following day, with 370 lots up for grabs. The Breguet Museum in Paris left with two gold pocket Best Quality Replica Omega  Watches, including an exceptionally rare quarter repeater fitted with the first free escapement with natural lift ever made by Abraham-Louis Breguet (n° 1135). This timepiece is an important discovery both from a technical and a historical point of view. Workshop records show that it took almost four years to manufacture.

Lastly Antiquorum, which scheduled its session over the two days of the weekend. It dispersed close to a thousand modern and vintage timepieces for a total CHF 12,900,000. Two items clearly stood out. The first was a heart-shaped quarter repeater with automata, made circa 1820 and attributed to Isaac Daniel Piguet. Produced for the Oriental market, it is richly decorated with pearls and embellished with an enamel miniature depicting two children on a see-saw, a lady playing guitar and a windmill; all three are automated. It tripled its low estimate at CHF 303,750 (lot 579, est. CHF 100,000-200,000). The second was an exceptional cage clock with a singing bird that jumps from one perch to another. Manufactured circa 1785 and attributed to Pierre Jaquet-Droz and Jean-Frédéric Leschot, it went for CHF 291,750 (lot 578, est. CHF 200,000-400,000).

Omega raises the bar for certification

Omega is launching a new certification – Master Co-Axial Officially Certified – in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. This new standard imposes more stringent criteria than the COSC, including tough demands in terms of resistance to magnetic fields. It will be open to the entire Swiss watch industry.

It had to happen. After the initial series, in 1999, of one thousand watches equipped with the now famous co-axial escapement, developed by George Daniels; after the first in-house movement to incorporate co-axial technology, in 2007; after the Master Co-Axial movement of 2013, able to withstand magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss, Omega only had one thing left to do: launch a new certification. Stricter than COSC tests, the Master Co-Axial Officially Certified standard will make its debut in 2015, once the multinational has settled into its new building, currently under construction, at its site in Biel. High Quality Omega Replica Watches Group, owner of Omega, convened a press conference in Geneva just before Christmas to paint a clearer picture of what this new certification entails.

A national body

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek was quick to put the new scheme into perspective: “We could easily have taken a self-centred approach and simply publicised the new Omega calibres,” he declared. “Instead of this, and in keeping with the group’s philosophy which has always been to defend Swiss watchmaking as a whole, and we have given ample proof of this in the past, we wanted this new certification to be open to everyone. No-one needs me to remind them how essential innovation is if our industry is to remain at the cutting edge, and on a global scale. But innovation is more than just a way of thinking. It requires investment in research and in production resources. This is also the message we need to get across.”

Fatal attraction

In concrete terms, the new certification is clearly focused on the negative effects of magnetism*, currently identified as the number-one enemy of the mechanical watch within Swatch Group. “What does someone who wears a high-end mechanical watch expect?” asked Raynald Aeschlimann, member of the extended Swatch Group management board. “First and foremost he wants precision over the long term; he wants his watch to function properly in all circumstances, and to be 100% water-resistant. Now, we have observed that Fake Rolex Watches are frequently returned to after-sales service for problems caused by magnetism, and these problems are increasingly commonplace in our present-day environment. Often, customers aren’t even aware of this. They think it’s a purely mechanical defect. This new certification carries on this line of thinking.” The bar has been set at 15,000 gauss, which is the average value measured next to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. This is infinitely greater than the current standard set by the Swiss watch industry (NIHS), which requires a watch to withstand 60 gauss in order to qualify as antimagnetic.

*Every Omega Master Co-Axial watch entered for official certification will be tested on the following points:
• functioning of each movement when exposed to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss
• functioning of each Replica Omega Watches when exposed to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss
• average daily precision (different positions and temperatures) between 0 and +5 seconds/day before and after being exposed to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss
• power reserve in hours, defined as per the model
water-resistance in bars, tested in water, defined as per the model

Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica

The new Panerai f lyback chronograph with automatic caliber P.9100 is executed in black matt ceramic based on zirconium oxide.

It is a strongly sporting heart which beats within the LUMINOR 1950 3 DAYS CHRONO FLYBACK AUTOMATIC Ceramica, the new Officine Panerai Best Omega Replica Watches in which the classic quality of the design is masterfully integrated with the sophistication of the P.9100 manufacture chronograph movement and with the remarkable technical quality and design of the black ceramic case.

The essential lines of the case and dial are faithful to the unmistakable Panerai identity, being unaffected by the existence of the flyback function, which instantly zeroes the chronograph hands and restarts them without it being necessary watches to stop and zero them first. In the P.9100 calibre the blue chronograph seconds hand and the rhodium plated minute hand are centrally mounted, so that the dial carries only the continuous small seconds counter at nine o’Clock, symmetrical with the date window. The push-pieces which control the chronograph functions are positioned at 8 o’clock (flyback, reset) and 10 o’clock (start, stop), thus leaving intact the outline of the lever device protecting the crown which helps make the case of the Luminor 1950 water-resistant to 10 bar (equivalent to a depth of about 100 metres).

The material of the Luminor 1950 case, 44 mm in diameter, is a synthetic ceramic based on zirconium oxide, which is up to five times harder than steel but substantially lighter in weight, as well as exceptionally resistant to scratches, corrosive agents and high temperatures. Technologically it is a very advanced material which is complicated to synthesise. It is created by a long, delicate process which transforms zirconium powder into a black ceramic, with a matt finish, remarkably even and pleasant to the touch. Every component of the case is individually moulded and undergoes successive stages of working and firing, first at a low temperature (about 100 °C) and then at a higher temperature (up to 1500 °C), for about three days. The process is concluded with the finishing stage, crucial Replica  Omega Watches for Sale ensuring that the dimensions and proportions of all the components are absolutely perfect, culminating in the final bead blasting which gives it an even, matt finish.

On the back of the case a large porthole in sapphire crystal reveals the P.9100 manufacture movement, the first chronograph calibre with automatic winding completely developed and made in the Officine Panerai manufacture. The calibre has the typical characteristics of a top-of- the-range chronograph, such as the column wheel and the vertical clutch. It has two spring barrels connected in series which provide a power reserve of three days, a bi- directional rotor which winds the springs of the two barrels, and a variable inertia balance wheel which oscillates at 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz). Fitted with the device for instantly zeroing the seconds, the P.9100 calibre consists of 302 components and is 13¾ lignes in diameter and 8.15 mm thick.

The Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica (PAM00580) is supplied with a natural untreated leather strap and a second strap made of rubber. The buckle is in titanium, a light, strong, hypo-allergenic material to which a special Replica Watches Store resistant black coating has been applied so that it matches the appearance of the watch, and it is easily replaceable using the screwdriver supplied.