Breaking News: A Sneak Peek at Sotheby’s “X” Collection
In June, Sotheby’s New York will auction a mysterious one-owner collection of watches so incredibly rare that the brands had to double-check their archives.
Not unlike Indiana Jones, those who work in the world of vintage watches often hunt watches regardless of where they may be. This week Rich Lopez, SVP & Senior Specialist of Watches for Sotheby’s, gets to unveil one of his greatest finds to the world. After countless trips to another continent, and an undisclosed amount of time, a great collection of watches emerges from their longtime slumber.
Representing an extremely diverse collection of Sports Watches – known only as the “X” Collection – over 100 watch lots will be brought to market from their original owner. Mr. Lopez stated he was “incredibly happy to bring to market the largest single-owner collection of Audemars Piguet.” Further adding that the collection will be offered for sale “in Sotheby’s New York’s Important Watches Sale in June.”
In a sneak preview, Rich was kind enough to share with us a small portion of this collection, and we look forward to giving you a first look before anyone else here on Watchonista.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Quantieme Perpetual Calendar in Tantalum & Rose Gold Ref. 25820TR
A perpetual calendar is one of the most impressive complications. Full Stop. Housing that complication within Genta’s seminal work – the Royal Oak – really ups the ante. But making a Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar out of tantalum and rose gold? Game over.
Since the Royal Oak QP was first introduced in 1984, they have constantly experimented with a variety of case materials but using Tantalum, which has a dark gun-metal like appearance, and offsetting that with the richness of rose gold is one of the most visually stunning (and rare) combinations to ever leave Le Brassus. The strength and durability of tantalum makes it incredibly hard to work with, but lends that strength to the final product.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “City of Sails” Titanium Chronograph Ref. 25860IS
Another specialty from the “X” Collection – no mere Royal Oak Chronograph, this limited edition – 1 of 300 – celebrates the 1999 America’s Cup Regatta, which was held in New Zealand.
Rendered in lightweight titanium and featuring a very playful blue and yellow color scheme on the dial, it's as much a joy to stare at as it is to wear. Like so many watches in the collection, this one appears in truly incredible condition, likely having never been worn. Were it not for this past weekend’s auction, I cannot remember the last time I have ever seen one of these models in-person. It's worth noting that New Zealand did in fact win the 1999-2000 sailing of the America’s Cup.
A. Lange & Söhne Double Split Chronograph
While this is not one of the “X” Collections many impressive AP’s – it is such a superlative watch I would be wrong not to give it some time in the sun. Lange is a brand whose movements are some of the most beautiful ever made (just ask Philippe Dufour) and represent a blend of heritage, romanticism, and technical excellence that is unparalleled.
This is a watch best worn backward, so you can see the towering city that is the Lange’s split-seconds chronograph movement. Despite being cased in precious platinum, the watch has the sturdy feel of a sports watch – and while it was a piece in the catalog for quite some time, you never seem to come across them “in the wild.”
Of course, it would be impossible to go through all 100+ watches now, but here is a sample of some of the other incredible watches in the “X” Collection: An Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time, composite-cased Jaeger-LeCoultre Minute Repeater with black and yellow dial, yellow gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph with yellow gold bezel, and a time-only Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in tantalum & rose gold.
The list goes on, including several unique pieces that Rich was in the process of getting details on from the manufactures. The thrill of the hunt is often one of the most rewarding parts of being a watch collector and seeing this collection brought to light after decades of hiding unknown marks the end of this particular treasure hunt.
We eagerly await the full reveal of this collection tomorrow!
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)