Top Lots: Phillips’ The New York Watch Auction SIX
If May is “Auction Month” in Geneva, then June is “Auction Month” in New York, and with the calendar overflowing with watch auctions, our very own J.J. Owens shares her top picks from the upcoming Phillips auction.
After the flurry of auction lots in May, one would think that, by June, we would be sick of watch auctions. But we are watch collectors, after all.
Luckily, the catalog for this weekend’s Phillips’ The New York Watch Auction: SIX is filled with undeniable excellence that even the most seasoned collector will find pieces that intrigue.
And much like every Phillips auction this season, the lots – going on sale Saturday, June 11th, and Sunday, June 12th – definitely do not disappoint. Ranging from the rarest of Paul Newman references to impossible to get modern novelties, this is not one to miss.
Lot 10: F.P.Journe Tourbillon Souverain
With the value of F.P.Journe models soaring to astronomical heights, my eyes immediately were drawn to the jade-dialed piece of lot 10.
Made in 2015 and consigned by its original owner, this already hard-to-find F.P.Journe Tourbillon Souverain is made even more so by its 40mm diameter and highly unusual jade dial, which is extremely difficult to craft without cracking. Additionally, lot 10 features a manual-wind, 26-jewel calibre 1403 with a constant force remontoire, power reserve display, and dead-beat seconds.
Still, I cannot get over how striking that jade dial is! It proves just how much of a visionary François-Paul Journe is: He made a green dial long before it was cool.
Lot 24: Heuer Carrera “James Garner” Ref. 3647N
As someone who will always sing the praises of vintage Heuer, this Heuer Carrera Ref. 3647N chronograph is truly a once in a lifetime lot.
If you couldn’t tell by quickly glancing at the dial, this watch was once owned by the actor James Garner. For my generation, he was the grandfather in The Notebook (2004), but for others, he will always be known as Private Investigator Jim Rockford from the 1970s tv series, The Rockford Files.
However, considering the Carrera’s close association with racing, it may seem ill-suited for the actor, at least at first glance. But, in actuality, it makes perfect sense Garner chose it. A skilled driver in his own right, it is believed Garner acquired the piece after starring in Grand Prix (1966).
Estimate: $20,000-40,000 (proceeds to benefit the James Garner Animal Rescue Fund)
Lot 31: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ovettone Stelline Ref. 6098
If Watchonista’s copyeditor had allowed the text for this section to consist of only the starry-eyed emojis, I would have needed at least a million. But, even then, it would only begin to articulate my adoration for this Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ovettone Stelline Ref. 6098.
Although my grail piece is a Ref. 6062, this earlier rendition of the brand’s Stelline dial is just too perfect for words. In all seriousness, I don’t think any words could adequately articulate my love for this lot…Ever.
Believed to be from around 1953, the Ref. 6098 of lot 31 features a cream “waffle” dial and star-shaped hour markers – an incredibly rare detail only seen on five references. It’s no mystery why these watches are so coveted.
Lot 41: De Bethune DB25 “007” Ref. DB25svAWS1
With my new focus on collecting independents, recently, De Bethune has dominated the sections reserved for modern models in my watch mind. And the DB25 featured in lot 41 would be the perfect entrée into the world of De Bethune and independents.
The geometric white gold lug design is counteracted by the guilloché dial, proving an independent can be an instant classic. Numbered “007” out of a limited run of only seventeen pieces, in the rare likelihood you see another enthusiast with this DB25, odds are you’ll be sharing a drink or a cigar and making quips about those who choose steel sports watches.
Lot 163: Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-014
And speaking of steel sports watches: If you are going to get one, it might as well be the untouched, olive-dialed Patek Philippe Nautilus of lot 163.
Compared to the Tiffany dial, one could call this a “subtle flex” because, for the humble kings sporting Loro Piana caps, this watch whispers, “My Nautilus is far more limited than yours.”
The Logan Roy of references, a successor may never be named, making this Ref. 5711 even more worthy of investment.
The New York Watch Auction: SIX will take place on Saturday, June 11th, and Sunday, June 12th, at Phillips New York. For more information, visit Phillips’ website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)