Sotheby’s to Auction Important Watches Clocks and Automata

Sotheby’s fall sale of Important Watches, Clocks and Automata will be held on 20 October, 2009. The auction features a varied selection of modern and vintage wristwatches, ladies’ wristwatches, pocket watches, clocks and a small unusual group of automata from the Private Collection of Dr. Frank and Mrs. Lore Metzger. The sale will be on view at Sotheby’s New York headquarters beginning 14 October and is estimated to bring in excess of $2 million*.

Sotheby’s will once again offer a fine selection of modern and vintage watches by Patek Philippe, led by an 18K Yellow Gold Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Moon-Phases, dated 1949, Ref 1526J (est. $70/90,000). Together with reference 1518, reference 1526 was the first perpetual calendar wristwatch produced in series by any company. Patek Philippe produced just over 200 examples of this watch, making the present example – offered from the family of the original owner – a rare
appearance on the market. A Patek Philippe Fine and Rare Wristwatch with Cloisonné Enamel Dial in an 18K Pink Gold French Case, dated 1949, is also included (est. $30/50,000). Patek Philippe wristwatches with cloisonné enamel dials are widely sought-after, and full enameled dial plates such as this example are considered the most desirable among collectors. The dial of the present lot is attributed to Marguerite Koch, one of Geneva’s best enamellers at the time, and illustrates the coat of arms of Paris. The coat of arms, which depicts an Egyptian boat at sea, and the accompanying city motto, which translates to “tossed but not submerged,” was especially poignant in postwar France. Three Patek Philippe reference T-150
wristwatches will be offered. The T-150 was created in 2001 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the relationship between Tiffany and Patek Philippe. Its production was limited to 150 pieces in each of three metals: white, yellow and pink gold.

Tiffany was the first retailer of Patek Philippe in America, and continues to enjoy a flourishing relationship today. The October auction will include two white gold and one pink gold example of the Automatic Sweep Seconds Annual Calendar Hinged Wristwatch with Moon-Phases all dated 2001, references 5150G T-150 (est. $30/40,000 each) and 5150R T-150 respectively (est. $25/35,000).

A Fine and Rare Platinum Flared Rectangular Wristwatch with Diamond Indexes by Patek Philippe, dated 1951, Ref 1593P is also offered (est. $20/30,000). This model, which was launched in 1944, is commonly called the ‘Hour-Glass’ due to its flared shape. Complete with a platinum bracelet by Gay Frères and diamond indexes, this watch is among the most desirable ‘hour-glass’ examples available to collectors. Among the more unusual timepieces by Patek Philippe is a Lady’s Rare Art Nouveau 18K Yellow Gold Enamel and Pearl-Set Pendant Watch from 1901 (est. $7/9,000).

The fall sale will also include a small and rare group of automata from the Private Collection of Dr. Frank and Mrs. Lore Metzger. A Tightrope Walker, circa 1837, balances on a tenuous wire while musicians play below (est. $25/35,000). A Harpist, circa 1875, features articulated fingers that strum the harp while the head turns and nods and the eyes blink (est.
$15/20,000). An Acrobat performs a one-handed upside-down handstand holding on to a rocking ladder, then returns the ladder upright and nods his head in unison with the music (est. $25/35,000). Featured among the clocks on offer is a Rock Crystal, Gold and Enamel Diamond-Set Wandering Hour Clock attributed to Cartier, circa 1920 (est. $40/60,000) and a Fine and Rare Rock Crystal, Gold and Enamel Diamond-Set Strut Timepiece, also by Cartier, circa 1920 (est. $20/30,000). This piece is an extraordinary example of the beautiful works created by Cartier in the late 1910s and early 1920s, which drew on the firm’s tradition of elegant jewelry designs. The present lot is particularly rare because of the use of molded glass in the dial.

The exquisitely detailed rendering of two cherubs in the molded glass over a starry blue sky in the present example is as charming as it is rare. ‘ An Ormolu and Mahogany Orrery Clock, circa 1830, by Zacharie Raingo is another highlight (est. $80/120,000). Clockwork models of the solar system are known as ‘Orrerys’ after Charles Boyle, Fourth Earl of Orrery, for whom one was first made. Raingo is chiefly remembered for his fine Orrery clocks; today approximately 30 known examples of Raingo Orrery clocks are housed in royal and museum collections throughout Europe. The sale will include a selection of vintage and sport Rolex watches highlighted by a Stainless Steel Automatic Sweep Seconds Wristwatch with Date and Bracelet retailed by Tiffany & Co., dated circa 1968, Ref 1680 ‘Red Tiffany’ Submariner (est. $25/35,000). The present watch is extremely unusual as it
features the Tiffany & Co. signature in red rather than the ‘Submariner’ mark in red, as most examples appear, and it is the only example to come to the auction market in recent years. Among the pocket watches on offer is a Rare Gold and Enamel Musical Watch with ‘The Music Lesson’ Automata by Piguet & Capt, circa 1815 (est. $40/50,000). A Rare H. R. Ekegren 18K Yellow Gold Hunting Cased Minute-Repeating Split-Second Chronograph Watch with Date and Enamel Family Portrait signed J. Graff, dated circa 1885, will also be highlighted (est. $8/12,000). The watch was customized for George Ehret, a German-born beer brewer in New York City who amassed a substantial fortune brewing lager on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the late 19th and early20th centuries. The watch was a gift from Ehret’s wife and nine living children on the occasion of his 50th birthday, and features an enamel portrait by J. Graff of each member of the family. J. Graff created enamel portraits of such high quality that his fame brought commissions from Indian maharajas, European nobility and American industrialists,
among others.

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