‘Complications: Skeletons & Tourbillons’

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The modern market trends demonstrate the global growth in demand for independent brands. The value growth potential is immense and this is one of the core benefits we aim to bring to our clients.

Artemy Lechbinsky, CEO

Zürich, October 29, 2022 – Ineichen Auctioneers is pleased to announce the successful results of the ‘Complications: Skeletons & Tourbillons’ thematic auction. Featuring 50 lots, of which 49 were sold, the sale totalled CHF2,277,500, with all the sold lots fetching bids exceeding their top estimates. The sale was led by an extremely rare Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon, which sold for CHF190,000 (lot 35, estimate CHF80,000–100,000).

An extremely rare Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon. Image – Ineichen Zürich

Independent Watchmakers and Small Creative Brands

In preparing this thematic auction, we paid special attention to independent watchmakers and small creative brands. The MB&F Horological Machine 3 (lot 38, Chf55,000, estimate Chf20,000–30,000) and Konstantin Chaykin Joker Five (lot 43, Chf55,000, estimate Chf20,000–30,000) watches caused the most active participation on the day, with each attracting 26 bids. As a result, these lots sold significantly in excess of their estimates. The list of top lots in this category of independent watchmakers and small creative brands was headed by the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Calendar (lot 41, Chf130,000, estimate Chf80,000–100,000), while three of the four De Bethune lots presented in the sale also made it into the top ten: the DB28 Ref. DB28-RS5 ‘Gold & Titanium’ (lot 32, Chf100,000, estimate Chf50,000–70,000), Dream Watch Three Tourbillon Ref. DW3PS3 (lot 30, Chf100,000, estimate Chf60,000–80,000), and DB28 Ref. DB28-TIS5 (lot 31, Chf90,000, estimate Chf50,000–70,000). 

MB&F Horological Machine 3. Image – Ineichen Zürich
Konstantin Chaykin Joker Five. Image – Ineichen Zürich

An unusual MB&F project, the M.A.D.1 Red watch (lot 42), which attracted incredible hype in the press and the community of collectors, looks like a harbinger of a new trend. Here we note a striking – approximately threefold – increase over the retail price, with a final price of CHF9,500 – though we did correctly predict such a result, giving an estimate of CHF6,000–8,000. The role of media hype and artificial scarcity cannot be underestimated, but neither can the ingenious design and attractive technical execution of the piece, spiced up with the high reputation of the brand.

M.A.D.1 Red watch caused an incredible hype in the press. Image – Ineichen Zürich

Independent watchmakers, small creative brands, rare references, one-of-a-kind pieces and limited editions will definitely drive the market

We also note the continued undervaluation of some brands on the market, which we see as a promising trend. In our opinion, Daniel Roth, and in particular Gérald Genta, founded by the world-famous designer of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, undoubtedly deserve higher quotations. At the same time, we are pleased to note the positive results of the Gérald Genta Arena Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Moon Phase Ref. ATM.X.75 ‘Platinum & Palladium’ (lot 44), which fetched CHF70,000 after a CHF30,000-40,000 estimate, and the Daniel Roth Tourbillon Double Face 8-Days Power Reserve Ref. 197.X.60 (lot 26) in platinum, with a hammer price of CHF52,000 after a CHF20,000–30,000 estimate.

Gérald Genta Arena Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Moon Phase ‘Platinum & Palladium’. Image – Ineichen Zürich
Daniel Roth Tourbillon Double Face 8-Days Power Reserve. Image – Ineichen Zürich

Our assessment of the prospects of some other small creative brands is just as high. Men’s watches with complications created during the early period of Harry Winston’s ‘Rare Timepieces’ division, and in particular the period of Maximilian Büsser, later the founder of the MB&F brand, deserve the utmost respect. In this sale, we would like to draw your attention to the Excenter Tourbillon Limited Edition Ref. 200-MMT40PL.T (lot 46, estimate CHF20,000–30,000, hammer price CHF44,000), created in 2005 in collaboration with the talented independent watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin. Unfortunately, he has now interrupted his career, though the watches of the Speake-Marin brand he founded, especially those created with his personal participation, are also promising. However, they rarely pop up at auctions.

Harry Winston Excenter Tourbillon Limited Edition created in collaboration with Peter Speake-Marin. Image – Ineichen Zürich

Two lots of the Urwerk brand, 49 and 50, closed the sale on a positive note, with good increases on their estimates. The classic Ref. UR-103.03 (lot 49) fetched CHF32,000 after an estimate of CHF15,000–20,000, while the extremely rare UR-202 Turbine Automatic Black Platinum Edition Speciale (lot 50), an edition limited to just 10 pieces, featured a hammer price of CHF50, 000 at a CHF20,000–30,000 estimate. In all honesty, we would have wished for more from these two lots – they are well worth it and we are confident of future growth.

Urwerk UR-103. Image – Ineichen Zürich
An extremely rare UR-202 Turbine Automatic Black Platinum Edition Speciale limited to only 10 pieces. Image – Ineichen Zürich

Rare References, One-of-a-Kind Pieces and Limited Editions 

Among the lots of established traditional brands, an extremely rare Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon (lot 35) lead the way, fetching CHF190,000. Also included in the top ten were two other Girard-Perregaux lots – the full-gold Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton (lot 36, estimate CHF60,000–80,000, hammer price CHF120,000) and the extraordinarily rare Vintage 1945 XXL Tourbillon Magistral Platinum Ref. 99710-71-131-BA6A (lot 33, estimate CHF40,000–50,000, hammer price CHF95,000). We are pleased to see the active attention of bidders to the watches of this brand, one which has created many beautiful complications including the world-famous tourbillons under gold bridges. Skeleton Laureatos have high potential in our view, as the very high added value invested in the hand finishing of the skeletonized movement, backed up by the brand’s elegantly sporty design, will always act as compelling arguments when bidding.

Full-gold Girard-Perregaux Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton. Image – Ineichen Zürich
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Skeleton in black ceramic. Image – Ineichen Zürich

For this sale, we put together an excellent selection of Breguet tourbillons, the brand that invented this complication. The brand also has, perhaps, the longest-lived references of tourbillon wristwatches, including Ref. 3350/3357, launched in 1988, and the skeleton Ref. 3355, introduced in 1993. The long history of references is very attractive to the discerning connoisseur and collector, as over the period of production there are variations in design and technical modernisations. We are committed to contributing to the study of these and several other references and hope to increase interest in this from the collector community. The lots put up for sale showed good results, most notably an extremely rare Classique Grande Complication Tourbillon ‘Senza B’ Ref. 5357PT/1B/9V6 in platinum, which reached a hammer price of CHF46,000 from an estimate of CHF20,000–30,000.

An extremely rare Breguet Classique Grande Complication Tourbillon ‘Senza B’ in platinum. Image – Ineichen Zürich

One of the highlights of this sale was the beautiful story of two one-of-a-kind Cartier skeletons, custom-made in 2007 and 2008 in a remarkable monochrome design. They are inspired by an almost mythical Tank Louis Cartier Noctambule watch. This was developed by Cartier for the CPCP collection in 2004–2006 with the intention of creating a skeletonized Tank watch with luminous bridges, and an incarnation in haute horlogerie of the famous ‘garland-style’, created by Louis Cartier in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Tank Louis Cartier Skeleton CPCP Piece Unique in platinum hit a hammer price of CHF60,000 from a CHF20,000–30,000 estimate, and the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton CPCP Piece Unique in platinum fetched CHF55,000 from a CHF20,000–30,000 estimate.

Tank Louis Cartier Skeleton CPCP Piece Unique in platinum. Image – Ineichen Zürich
Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton CPCP Piece Unique in platinum. Image – Ineichen Zürich

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