news 12, Oct 2021 05:10pm
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Christie's auction of rarities: Patek Philippe and amphora-form watch

Christie's Hong Kong important watches autumn auction, to be held on November 27, will present a Patek Philippe Ref. 1436 Henry Graves Jr. watch and a Piguet & Capt amphora-form watch.

Christie's Hong Kong Important Watches acution is presenting two historical rarities on November 27, 2021. The first in the line is a historically important Patek Philippe split-second chronograph Ref. 1436 in 18K yellow gold from 1946, and the second is an 18K gold and enamel, pearl-set musical, perfume flask, and automaton amphora-form watch.

The Patek Philippe split-second chronograph Ref. 1436 in 18K yellow gold was ordered by and sold to Henry Graves Jr. Its auction estimate is HK$ 1,15,00,000-2,35,00,000/US$ 15,00,000-30,00,000). The perfume flask and automaton amphora-form watch is attributed to Piguet & Capt and is being presented for the first time at an auction, with an estimate of HK$ 24,00,000-72,00,000/US$ 3,00,000-9,00,000).

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Henri Graves Jr. - Patek Philippe Ref. 1436

Henri Graves Jr. was an American banker who is known for his commissioned Patek Philippe timepieces. The patron of Patek Philippe ordered the Ref. 1436 18K gold split-second chronograph wristwatch with Breguet numerals in 1946 and acquired it a year later.

The Ref. 1436 is extremely complicated that also features a split-seconds function which is considered one of the most challenging complications in horlogerie. Watch enthusiasts, especially watch collectors, realise the importance of the Ref. 1436 as it was Patek Philippe's first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch that was produced in a series. The historical Ref. 1436 was part of the first generation split-seconds chronographs made by the manufacture until the late 1940s.

Soon after Patek Philippe presented Ref. 130, requests from watch enthusiasts to produce a wristwatch capable of timing two separate events started pouring in. This development gave birth to the Ref. 1436 in 1938 which was discontinued in 1971. Its rarity can be very well-acknowledged given that only 140 examples were made during its 33 years production period.

This Patek Philippe Ref. 1436, set to be auctioned at the Christie's, features applied gold Breguet numerals. It is also interesting to note that this dial variation is often considered one of the most attractive dial variations in watchmaking. Perhaps what makes it a rarity is its Breguet numerals dial thought to be the least-commonly made dial for this reference, with most examples featuring baton or a combination of the baton and Arabic numerals. Over a dozen of Ref. 1436 models up to now have been spotted sporting such a dial. Making it a true collector's item is the fact that this timepiece last appeared at an auction about 10 years ago.

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Piguet & Capt - amphora-form watch

Piguet & Capt was the most important Geneva makers of complicated small automata and watches in the early 19th century. Now, an amphora-form watch has been attributed to Piguet & Capt - the 18K gold and enamel, pearl-set musical, perfume flask, and automaton amphora-form watch. A legend has it that this exquisite and rare timepiece was made for the Chinese imperial family around 1805.

This amphora-form watch is not alone as its twin also exists that has been stored and exhibited in the Patek Philippe museum. The passage of time, two centuries in this case, wasn't so harsh on the 18K gold and enamel, pearl-set musical, perfume flask, and automaton amphora-form watch as it is being auctioned in a very good condition. Never has it ever appeared in the market before and this makes it an exclusive collector's item - an other-worldly piece of meticulous mechanics and craftsmanship that augments the very vivid imagination of the watchmaker.

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The last amphora-form watch seen at auction was in May 2021 at Christie's Hong Kong and was attributed to artist Jean-François-Adam Hess; it was sold for HK$ 1,22,50,000/US$ 15,84,735.

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