Fine Watches and Wristwatches Auction at Bonhams on June 12 in New York City

Fine Watches and Wristwatches come to auction in New York City on June 12, 2007 with a strong offering of more than 200 vintage timepieces, rare modern items and fresh to market timepieces by important manufacturers on the block at Bonhams. Makers represented include: Patek Philippe, Rolex, Cartier, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis and Panerai.

Charles Tearle, newly appointed North American Department Head of Fine Watches and Wristwatches, said, “Recent growth in the watch and wristwatch market has been tremendous. We are pleased to offer timepieces in New York City to a truly global audience of buyers and collectors.”

On offer is an exceptionally fine and very rare stainless steel self-winding triple calendar Rolex wristwatch with moonphase calendar, made circa 1950. Mr. Tearle comments, “This is the finest example of a steel Rolex moonphase I have ever seen, the case is so pristine even after over 50 years. I am confident it retains the factory finish.” Rolex have only manufactured two versions of moon phase calendar wristwatch, both made in limited numbers between the years 1949 and 1953. Bonhams is pleased to offer both references within the sale, one stainless steel and one 18k gold Oyster cased version, each expected to bring as much as $70,000. Also from Rolex will be a rare 1940s oversized wristwatch made for Office Panerai and issued to Italian Navy frogmen, with few examples surviving in such original condition. The $40,000-60,000 estimate is certain to draw serious buyers.

A good selection of modern limited edition watches, often unworn with original packaging, will be offered including important examples such as a platinum Patek Philippe Pagoda, one of only 50 examples made in 1997 (est. $45/60,000). Also in platinum is a bi-retrograde perpetual calendar and chronograph watch by Roger Dubuis — the opportunity to acquire number 1 from his limited edition of 28 (est. $20/25,000).

For those seeking something lighter is a titanium Richard Mille RM005, designed in collaboration with the Formula One driver Fillipe Massa, and made in a limited edition of 300 examples. Even more unusual is the unique platinum Cartier Tank wristwatch on a platinum bracelet made in 1988.

The June sale of Fine Watches and Wristwatches in New York offers the buyer a selection of timepieces ranging in estimate from $300 to $90,000 providing all levels of collectors the possibility of a purchase. According to Charles Tearle, “Around the world, the wristwatch is a mode of expression for today’s discriminating business men and women, a way to display their unique style and reflect a personality. The majority of my clients will not be purchasing a first watch but rather their third or fourth, or even hundredth — such is the attraction to acquire rare examples.”

The variety of timepieces on offer vary not only in price, but age — from a very unusual three hundred year old silver and tortoise-shell pair cased fusee verge pocket watch with a differential dial made by John Barnett of London; to an unworn limited edition Ferrari chronograph wristwatch complete with stamped sale from November 2006.

“Patek Philippe watches inspire the same sense of premiership in their owners almost a century ago as they do today,” adds Tearle, who is quick to note the fine selection of modern, vintage and antique examples within the sale. “One of the most interesting is a very fine Patek Philippe minute repeating pocket watch with split-second chronograph (used to time two simultaneous events; i.e. first and second place in a race).” Purchased from Patek Philippe in 1909, this watch was originally owned by the famous San Diego retailer Joseph E. Jessop of Jessops Jewelers and monogrammed with his initials.

The Bonhams Watch Department has well-respected and experienced specialists based in the United Kingdom and United States with further offices around the globe and recent expansions into Hong Kong and Moscow. Sales of Fine Watches are currently held in London and New York with future developments for Hong Kong and Dubai.

The auction is to be held in New York and simulcast to San Francisco and Los Angeles offering bidders across the country and around the globe what the specialist called, “an opportunity to acquire a piece of everlasting elegance that’s provided the wearing of a distinct timepiece.” Previews are scheduled for Los Angeles June 1-3, San Francisco June 4 and June 9-12 at Bonhams New York in the historic Fuller Building on Madison Avenue. The illustrated catalogue is currently available online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us

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