Mark Your Calendars: Highlights at the Upcoming Dubai Edit, Christie’s Most Successful Online Watch Auction - Lifestyle Asia

Last year, this show broke records for the auction house.

A selection of 150 watches will be on view for Christie’s show in the UAE next month. Called Watches Online: The Dubai Edit Spring 2022 auction, the online sale will take place from March 15 to 30, with a team of watch specialists on hand at the gallery to discuss the lots offered.

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This Dubai sale is the first Christie’s watch auction of 2022 and follows what the auction house describes as an exceptional year of results for the company. In 2021, it had a record year for sales, totaling $205 million in all—a better tally than both 2020 and 2019.

From left: Rolex Daytona Rainbow; Richard Mille RM70-01 Tourbillon Alain Prost

“Christie’s Watches Dubai set many new records in 2021, including the highest annual total for watch auctions in the region at $24.5 million,” says Remy Julia, head of watches, Christie’s Middle East, India & Africa. He points the record-setting sale for a Patek Philippe Ref. 5002-P Sky Moon Tourbillion, which went for $1.59 million. This was both the most expensive watch in the Middle East and the priciest timepiece sold online at Christie’s.

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Sales from last April’s Dubai Edit amounted to $14.1 million, and is the highest total for any oneline watch sale at Christie’s.

“Dubai has earned its place as a key hub for collectors and the place where sellers can be sure of achieving strong prices for exceptional pieces,” Julia says. “This spring’s online sale from 15 to 30 March at Christie’s Dubai further cements our position in the market, and we look forward to engaging with the growing community of appreciators of rare, exceptional and always desirable timepieces.”

Patek Philippe Ref. 3974J and Patek Philippe Ref. 3940G perpetual calendar

Here are six highlights for the upcoming auction:

Richard Mille RM70-01 Tourbillon Alain Prost

Unveiled in 2017, the watch was created in partnership with four-time Formula One champion and cycling enthusiast Alain Prost. The watch brings together a tourbillon movement with an unusual complication: a mechanical odometer that can tally distances up to 99,999 kilometers. With a limited edition of just 30 pieces, the estimate for this watch is provided upon request only.

Rolex Daytona ‘Rainbow’

This is the most desirable modern Rolex Daytona reference. Set with 36 baguette-cut sapphires in a rainbow gradation around the bezel, framing a black lacquer dial with counters made with gold crystals and a mid-case set with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds.

Due to the complexity inherent to their production, these models were made in very limited edition and have an artisanal-like quality, as exemplified by the gem-setting on the bezel. Unsurprisingly, demand for these Rainbow Daytonas has far outstripped supply. (Estimate: $300,000 to $500,000.)

F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain and F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Black Label

F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain with brass movement

Since 2005 F.P. Journe’s timepieces are made of 18k gold movements. Early models made between 2001 and 2004, however, featured movements made from brass. It is estimated that only around 2,000 timepieces were fitted with brass movements. As a result, they are more collectible and significant for an epoch in the watchmaker’s journey.

The Tourbillon Souverain launched F. P. Journe’s illustrious career in 1999. It was the first wristwatch to combine a remontoire d’égalité (which ensures a consistent supply of power from the mainspring to the escapement) with a tourbillon, establishing F. P. Journe’s status as a technical and design genius. (Estimate: $400,000 to 600,000.)

F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Black Label

Launched in the year 2000, the Chronomètre à Résonance was the second wristwatch developed by F.P. Journe to feature two balance wheels oscillating in resonance with each other, a technical tour de force. The present watch’s exclusivity is further enhanced by it being a Black Label Edition, reserved exclusively for existing F.P. Journe clients only. The Black Label Editions were distinguished by their platinum cases and black lacquer dials. Only 12 Black Label pieces are allotted to the boutiques in any year, with just two pieces for each model in the collection. (Estimate: $250,000 to 450,000.)

Patek Philippe Ref. 3974J

One of the most important watches ever made in series by Patek Philippe, the reference 3974 was launched in 1989 to celebrate the brand’s 150th anniversary. At the time, this was the world’s most complicated wristwatch, combining a minute repeater with a perpetual calendar. Only 160 or so examples of the Ref. 3974 were made, the majority in yellow gold.

Early examples of this reference, like the one on offer in this sale, were presented with a case made by Jean-Pierre Hagmann. The watch is powered by an impressive Cal. 27 RQ, a 22K micro-rotor movement with 467 parts. Patek Philippe ceased the production of the Ref. 3974 in 2000. (Estimate $350,000 to 450,000.)

A unique Patek Philippe Ref. 3940G perpetual calendar made for Michael Ovitz

Made by special order for Michael S. Ovitz, the former president of the Walt Disney Company, this second series Ref. 3940 perpetual calendar in white gold features an exclusive dial in pink gold with applied Breguet numerals.

Ovitz commissioned many custom-made Patek Philippe watches, all bearing his stylized initials, M.S.O. on the dial. Reference 3940 is a considered the quintessential Patek Philippe perpetual calendar and was produced between 1984 and 2007, making it one of the longest production models in the brand’s history. (Estimate: $100,000 to 200,000.)

For more information, visit Christies.com.

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