Lot N° 138: Habring² x Massena Lab, Erwin LAB01 Prototype

As a long-time fan of Vacheron Constantin and independent watchmaking, it's a dream come true to present both the Vacheron Constantin «Don Pancho » and the George Daniels Grand Complication, two of the most impressive and important pieces of the 20th century, in the same sale. However, my pick will be the Habring² X Massena Lab Erwin LAB01 Prototype. I love independent watchmaking because I believe these creators bring something truly novel to the table. More often than, these watches are quite expensive which makes the award-winning and yet still affordable Erwin LAB01 a watch that's impossible to ignore. This watch is the result of the collaboration between Richard and Maria Habring with Massena LAB, a creative laboratory created by William Massena, an industry veteran, long time collector and a great friend of mine for many years. Presented early 2019 as a limited edition of 50 pieces the Erwin LAB01 sold out within a matter of days! The movement, developed fully in house by Habring² and features a dead beat seconds mechanism meaning a seconds hand that advances perfectly once every second and housing the movement is a surprising polished bronze “Calatrava” style case closer in colour to vintage yellow gold than to the matte bronze we are more used to seeing. The black glossy dial with gilt printing is an homage to the gorgeous sector dials found in some of the most beautiful watches in the 1930s. This watch is a prototype that differs to the production model as the case side is brushed and not polished as to test the aging process of the bronze case, a second prototype dial that didn’t make it to production is also offered. The buyer of this watch will not only be getting a great watch but will be also participating in a generous cause as the proceeds of the sale will be going to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Alex Ghotbi, Head of Sale in Geneva

Lot N° 167: Patek Philippe, Reference 1436 in pink gold circa 1940

Reference 1436 has always been one of my all-time favourite watches in virtue of its combined scarcity, elegance and understatement. Inheriting the simple and timeless Calatrava case design of the Patek Philippe chronograph reference 130, the reference 1436 features small details that together hint at a more complicated watch: there are two chronograph hands, each with unique tail designs that are (barely) noticeable even when overlapping, while the crown protrudes ever so slightly as it acts as split-seconds chronograph pusher (a later version features an in-line pusher in the crown, making the identification process much more easy). Only the true connoisseur might realize at first glance to be in the presence of one of the finest Patek Philippe models, making this a concealed masterpiece. On top of all of this, the present version is dressed in the supremely attractive - and hardly ever seen "pink on pink" version (pink gold case and pink gold dial) and is offered in superlative condition. A treasure hidden in piece plain sight, to fall in love with upon discovery! Marcello De Marco, Specialist and Business Development Associate

Lot N° 35: Gerald Genta, Grand and Petite Sonnerie

I am particularly drawn to this timepiece as it represents one of the most important creations by one of horology's most significant icons. Offering a glimpse into Gérald Genta's genius mind, this watch was one of the most complicated wristwatches in the world when launched. Featuring an automatic Petite and Grande Sonnerie with Westminster Chimes, it also displays a tourbillon mechanism. This watch perfectly encapsulates Gérald Genta's design aesthetic. On top of that, it offers enormous value for any watch aficionado. Tiffany To, Specialist

Lot N° 6: Rolex, Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 in yellow gold, circa 1968

Any collector of vintage Daytona will concede that a high quality yellow gold non exotic dial is a prized discovery. But an experienced lover of Daytona will explain that a non-exotic ref. 6239 is literally the pinnacle of sourcing. With less than 3 percent of 6239s produced in both 18 and 14kt gold finding a fresh to market, original and high quality watch is a dream. With an undeniably charming aesthetic that captivates the golden era of the jet set, this black dial Daytona is further enhanced by the presence of the very rare “71” riveted bracelet that perfectly complements the slimmer optics of pump pushers. And in typical Daytona style the beauty of this watch is how a reference that was designed to be a functional tool piece cased in steel became so untypical of the brand and elegant in gold. James Marks, International Specialist

Lot N° 4: Rolex, Day-Date Reference 18208 with Onyx dial

What an elegant, rich and deep black glossy dial! Such an eye-catchingly smooth texture could only come from one gemstone. Known to some as a powerful healing and spiritual gemstone, Onyx is one of my favourite stones used by Rolex to sublime the Day-Date. Its extremely fragile composition makes cutting or piercing the stone a very delicate and hazardous operation, and it is with no surprise that Rolex kept its intervention to the strict minimum for this reference, with two apertures for the day and date. This technical constraint gives this dial a profoundly minimalist look. It is superbly complimented by a solid yellow gold case and bracelet that could have easily been “too much” but actually balances out the watch perfectly. Virginie Liatard-Roessli, Specialist 

Lot N° 32: George Daniels, Anniversary Wristwatch circa 2010

I never met George Daniels, but I almost certainly wouldn’t be here at Phillips had it not been for the great British watchmaker. My first article to do with watches was a round-up of the auction results of the George Daniels posthumous sale an published in the International Herald Tribune back in 2012. I knew little of the man, but the watches in the sale – the Grand Complication being one of them – were fascinating to me. I bought Daniels’ book Watchmaking, started learning more about independent watchmaking, and began a career in watch journalism. A few years later, I had the pleasure of visiting Roger W. Smith, his former apprentice, and Daniels’ home in the Isle of Man. The Anniversary wristwatch is a collaboration between the two men, created to celebrate the 35th anniversary of one of Daniels’ greatest contributions to the field of watchmaking – the ground-breaking co-axial escapement, now in use in many of Omega’s watches. Only 35 of these pieces were made by Smith following Daniels’ design and instructions, and the rarity of the watch is one of the reasons it is so appealing, but it's for the other reasons that - if I could -  I'd take this watch home. Arthur Touchot, Specialist and Head of Digital

Lot N° 39: Rolex, GMT-Master "Root Beer" Ref. 16753 circa 1980

When Arthur asked me about my favourite pick of the GWA9 sale, I suddenly got nervous. With 220 lots presented, it is hard to choose only one. As an adventurer at heart, I am looking for a watch to wear every day whether for a day in the office, at some extravaganza, skiing in the Swiss Alps or sailing at sea. Lot 39, a Rolex reference 16753 in stainless steel and yellow gold, is certainly my pick. Member of the large GMT family, this watch is in my opinion the perfect combination of functionality, elegance and edginess. Although originally sized for a man’s wrist, this model gives the ultimate sporty-chic look that any woman could be looking for: the gold for the sparkle and the steel for the robust feel. Not to forget, its beautiful brown dial with caramel and chocolate bezel sets the watch apart from all his blue and red peers; an extra thing to make you feel special. Clara Kessi,  Executive Assistant to Senior Consultants

Lot N° 50: Rolex, Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman "John Player Special"

Before I saw this watch I discovered its dial, which had been carefully exposed by our watchmaker Nicolas so I could take its photograph. Its impeccable condition, its velvety coat, the sharpness of its indexes immediately struck me. To admire this watch is to experience the fragile and analogue beauty of a preciously made object. No need for any image processing; free of any dust on its surface, light was all that was needed to make it shine. Once back in its case, the look is complete!!! It seduces like only a true classic, such as a 1967 Ford Mustang or a 1962 Fender Stratocaster, is able to. Such a striking watch needs an adventurous but dignified wrist. I can easily see it on Nick Nolte's in Under Fire, or better yet, on PJ Harvey's, specifically when she played Rid of Me in Sidney, in 2001. Or, in all modesty, on my own. Jess Hoffman, Catalogue Photographer