Press | Phillips

22 March 2022

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo Announces Highlights ahead of The Geneva Watch Auction: XV on 7 & 8 May

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo Announces Highlights ahead of The Geneva Watch Auction: XV on 7 & 8 May


Including the Rolex ‘Crazy Doc’ Reference 6239, Formerly Part of the Collection of Eric Clapton, An Outstanding Pink Gold Patek Philippe Reference 1518 with a Pink Dial, and A Patek Philippe Reference 1503 Originally Owned by Simon Wiesenthal




GENEVA, 22 March 2022 - Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is pleased to announce highlights ahead of The Geneva Watch Auction: XV. This auction follows a blockbuster white glove year in 2021, in which Phillips Watches department achieved an annual total of $209.3 million and sold 100% of lots across all sale locations. The live sale will take place on 7 and 8 May at the Hôtel La Réserve in Geneva, after the “The Royal Oak 50th” thematic sale on 6 May.


Leading the sale are three exceptional watches. The first is a well-preserved Rolex chronograph wristwatch reference 6239 in yellow gold which was formerly part of the collection of Eric Clapton CBE (162922 estimate in excess of CHF 1,500,000). The second is an outstanding example of the Patek Philippe pink gold reference 1518 with a pink dial (157572 estimate CHF 1,200,000-2,400,000).


The third is a historically significant Patek Philippe reference 1503 in stainless steel with black glossy dial and Breguet numerals –notably one of two examples known in this configuration. Manufactured in 1941, this watch belonged to Simon Wiesenthal – one of the world’s greatest human rights champions and holocaust survivor (164129 estimate CHF 250,000 - 500,000).


Alexandre Ghotbi, Head of Watches, Continental Europe & Middle East, and Tiffany To, Head of Sale, Geneva, stated: “After an immensely successful year in 2021, we are excited to be back with what we consider to be a tightly curated selection of timepieces spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, demonstrating the savoir-faire, technical and design prowess of the watch industry. These are watches that will attract the budding enthusiast and speak to the seasoned collector. However, what they all have in common is their rarity, state of preservation and relevance.”


The selection ranges from important watches by Patek Philippe and a wide selection of Rolex timepieces, to creations by independent watchmakers. There is an expansive range of timepieces on offer this season, from an early Patek Philippe perpetual calendar and a vintage Rolex model such as a ‘Killy’, ‘a Paul Newman’ Daytona to a Submariner early chronograph and, a Padellone.



Phillips is proud to offer a historically important yellow gold reference 6239 with pulsations scale, formerly part of the collection of Eric Clapton CBE (162922 estimate in excess of 1,500,000 CHF). Known as the ‘Crazy Doc’, the present watch is prominently illustrated in ’Ultimate Rolex Daytona’ by Pucci Papaleo Editore. One of the most important Rolex Daytonas to ever be offered at auction, the present watch is the only known yellow gold reference 6239 with pulsations dial. Having originally been sold in Italy in the 1990’s to Eric Clapton, the present watch made its public debut when it sold at auction in 2003, which marked the first time Eric Clapton publicly sold watches under his name.


A further highlight of the sale is the ’Paul Newman’ Rolex reference 6241 Daytona, also known as a ’John Player Special’ (165415 estimate CHF 700,000 - 1,400,000). Offered in exceptional and original condition, the present ’Paul Newman’ Rolex is one of the most exclusive variants in existence.


Other notable timepieces to feature in the sale include a yellow gold reference 6036 ‘Killy’ (164025 estimate CHF 500,000 - 1,000,000), an important and original reference 6541 Milgauss (164120 estimate CHF 200,000 - 400,000), as well as a stainless-steel reference 6200 ‘Big Crown’ (165693 estimate CHF 250,000 - 500,000).


Patek Philippe

The historically significant Patek Philippe reference 1503 in stainless steel wristwatch with black glossy dial and Breguet numerals is one of two examples known in this configuration. Manufactured in 1941, this watch is important not only for its rarity but also because it was once owned by the human rights champion and holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal (164129 estimate CHF 250,000 - 500,000).  The present watch first appeared on the market in 2007, and it was consigned at public auction by the family of Simon Wiesenthal himself. Since then, it has not been seen on the public market until its reappearance this year. This watch is one of the rarest iterations of reference 1503: only one other example is known with black lacquered dial and Breguet numerals, making this watch one of two known examples of the reference 1503 produced by Patek Philippe in the four years between 1941 and 1944.


Born in 1908 on 31 December, Simon Wiesenthal is remembered as a champion of justice and a human rights campaigner, having dedicated his life to keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust and its victims and bringing its perpetrators to justice.  Having studied architecture in Prague from 1928 to 1932, Wiesenthal’s life was turned upside down in 1939 by the outbreak of war and the Nazi regime. Following the invasion of Poland, Wiesenthal spent time in prison camps, including at the infamous Mathausen Camp, from which he was liberated in 1945. After the war, Wiesenthal dedicated his life to tracking down Nazi criminals, also founding the Jewish Historical Documentation Centre in Linz, Austria in 1947, with the goal of gathering information and documents which could be later used in the war crime trials for Nazi criminals.


Phillips is proud to present an outstanding pink gold reference 1518 with a pink dial – one of the most sought-after variants of the model on the market today (157572 estimate CHF 1,200,000 - 2,400,000). The iconic reference 1518 has always been considered a stellar timepiece, but in recent years there has been a marked increase in interest in the watch. This example offers a rare opportunity for collectors to own a true legend of watchmaking, ticking all the boxes with its impressive provenance, coming from a world-famous collection that was sold at auction under the title ‘A Connoisseur’s Vision’ , pristine condition, and the highly sought-after pink dial.


Phillips is also delighted to offer an exceptional white gold reference 3448 with a luminous dial and hands, accompanied by its original certificate (164949 estimate CHF 300,000 - 500,000). One of only two known in existence, the present watch is the only known example of its kind to retain its original certificate.


Other important Patek Phillipe timepieces to be offered in this sale include a yellow gold reference 3448 (164948 estimate CHF150,000- 300,000) first series and a yellow gold reference 1526 with original certificate (168076 estimate CHF 80,000 - 140,000). A further highlight of the Patek Philippe watches on offer is a white gold reference 5980/1400G with baguette and pavé diamonds (164946 estimate CHF 500,000 - 1,000,000). It is the second time this reference has ever appeared at auction. 


Vacheron Constantin

Phillips is delighted to offer a trio of Vacheron Constantin’s reference 222 in a variety of metals: stainless steel (164345 estimate CHF 30,000-60,000), yellow gold (166728 estimate CHF 40,000-80,000), and yellow and stainless steel (163784 estimate CHF 20,000-40,000)


Audemars Piguet

A particularly historical Audemars Piguet chronograph will be on offer in this sale (165686 estimate CHF 70,000 - 140,000). There are few watches that can rival vintage Audemars Piguet chronographs in terms of beauty, desirability and rarity. Little more than 300 Audemars Piguet chronographs were produced between 1930 and 1962, after which no more were made until recently. This chronograph was purchased by the grandfather of the consignor and is part of an extraordinary limited production run of only 9 pieces made between 1941 and 1942 with 6 pieces in steel and yellow gold, and at least 2 in steel and pink gold.


Independents’ Atelier

In the Independents’ Atelier, Phillips is pleased to present an important and early F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance (165511 estimate CHF150,000 - 300,000), made during the first years of the model’s launch. Another notable model on offer in this sale is a Calendrier ‘Souscription’, numbered 14 out of a 20 piece series, and most probably the only ‘Souscription’ Octa Calendrier in pink gold (163711 estimate CHF 70,000 - 140,000). A further highlight is a tantalum Chronomètre Bleu Byblos with Eastern Arabic numerals (164812 estimate CHF 100,000 - 200,000). One of 99 pieces, this model was created in 2014 in celebration of the opening of F.P. Journe’s boutique in Beirut, Lebanon.


An additional highlight of the sale is a unique pink gold Octa Zodiaque by F.P. Journe offered without reserve, the proceeds of the sale of this watch will be donated to, Children Action (168190 estimate CHF 150,000 - 300,000). Children Action is committed to providing services that help children and responding to humanitarian needs


Harry Winston’s Opus 3 will feature in the sale. Made in collaboration with Vianney Halter, this particular watch is cased in platinum and set with diamonds – it is one of only 5 examples ever made (167003 estimate CHF 100,000 - 200,000).


Further highlights of the sale include watches from brands such as Urwerk, De Bethune, Christian Klings, Kari Voutilainen, A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Gerald Genta, Zenith, Longines, and Omega.




The Geneva Watch Auction XV:

Session I 7 May 2022, 2pm

Session II 8 May 2022, 2pm

Location : Hôtel La Réserve, Bellevue, Geneva


Highlight Tour


United States:

New-York 24-28 March

Location: Phillips New York Office, 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022



Taipei 2 - 3 April

Location: Phillips at Art Roastery x Louisa Coffee No. 95, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City


Singapore 7-9 April

Location:  St. Regis Hotel, 29 Tanglin Rd - Singapore 247911



London 21-24 April

Location: Phillips’ HQ, 30 Berkeley Square, London Geneva


Geneva: 4-8 May

Location: Hôtel La Réserve, Bellevue, Geneva




The team of specialists at Phillips Watches is dedicated to an uncompromised approach to quality, transparency, and client service, achieving a global auction sale total of $209.3 million in 2021, the most successful year for any auction house in watch auction history.


A selection of our record-breaking prices:


1. Paul Newman’s Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona reference 6239 (CHF 17,709,894 / US$17,752,500) – New York Auction: Winning Icons – 26 October 2017 – Highest result ever achieved for any vintage wristwatch at auction.


2. Patek Philippe reference 1518 in stainless steel (CHF 11,020,000 / US$11,112,020) – Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR – 12 November 2016 – Highest result ever achieved for a vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch at auction.



Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world. In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services.

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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.


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