6 May 2024


By In Audemars Piguet, Brands, F.P. Journe, General, Hype Market, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille, Rolex

With the recent auction in Monte-Carlo by Monaco Legend Group marking the start of the spring auction season, the horological world now turns its eyes towards Geneva, home of the most important watch auctions. From May 10th to 12th, Geneva will host some of the most anticipated sales of the year, featuring rare and exquisite timepieces presented by the four leading auction houses: Antiquorum, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips.
As we approach the auction weekend, we want to show you our top picks, considering their rarity and provenance, that we will be seeing in Geneva.

Christie’s: two watches from Micheal Schumacher’s own collection

Regarding the catalog for the auction organized by Christie’s, the cover pieces that have already attracted the attention of many collectors well in advance are the watches from the collection of the F1 legend Michael Schumacher. The first lot is a unique 39mm white gold Audemars Piguet, specially commissioned by Jean Todt as a gift to Schumacher for his sixth F1 World Championship win. 

Michael Schumacher Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph front view
Michael Schumacher Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph – photo courtesy of Christie’s

The watch’s dial boasts unique features across its three subdials: the Ferrari logo positioned at 6 o’clock, six stars at 3 o’clock symbolizing his championships, and at 9 o’clock, a miniature representation of his helmet.

Michael Schumacher Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph caseback
Michael Schumacher Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph – photo courtesy of Christie’s

On the back of the watch, each year of Schumacher’s victories is engraved, along with an inscription that reads “J. Todt pour M. Schumacher Noel 2003”. Christie’s has estimated the value of the watch to be between CHF 150.000 and CHF 250.000. However, given its uniqueness and its connection to the world of racing, it would not be surprising if it commands a higher price at auction.

Moving forward to the next watch, we jump ahead to Christmas 2004, as the engraving on the movement of the FP Journe Vagabondage I indicates. This watch, customized by the brand itself, commemorates the seventh and final championship won by the German driver. This customization also features a miniature of the helmet, the Ferrari logo, and a symbol for each championship won, all on the dial disc that indicates the hour. 

Michael Schumacher F.P. Journe Vagabondage I front side
Michael Schumacher F.P. Journe Vagabondage I – photo courtesy of Christie’s

Although such personalization might seem unusual for the classic standards typically employed by Journe, especially in the early years of its operation, the close friendship between François-Paul Journe and Jean Todt, the giver of this beautiful gift—as with the previous Audemars Piguet—explains why the French watchmaker agreed to such a unique customization.

Antiquorum, same reference but different uniqueness

Regarding the Antiquorum auction, we have selected two Patek Philippe watches, both sharing the same reference number, ref. 1463, but it is their unique features that make them highly desirable pieces. The first, embodies the classic characteristics of the iconic Patek chronograph produced from the 1940s until 1965, most notably the “Tasti Tondi”, a nickname that refers to its round pushers.

Patek Philippe ref. 1463 tasti tondi
Patek Philippe ref. 1463 – photo courtesy of Antiquorum

What sets it apart is the dial, which is double signed by Eberhard Milano, a well-known past dealer of the Italian city. The estimated price between CHF 100.000 and 150.000 is consistent with the results achieved by similar examples in past years. While the first lot was sold in 1954, the second lot we want to talk about was sold in 1958, therefore the main characteristics remained the same. 

Patek Philippe ref. 1463 tasti tondi
Patek Philippe ref. 1463 – photo courtesy of Antiquorum

However, what truly makes this watch unique is its cream-colored “Test” dial, which lacks indices and a tachymetric scale, unlike what we typically see. Its simple elegance and the likelihood that it is a one-of-a-kind piece make it a watch that will surely excite at auction. Antiquorum has valued this piece between CHF 100.000 and 300.000.

Phillips and the collection of Guido Mondani

The spotlight of Phillips auction is undoubtedly on the collection of Giorgio Mondani, a renowned Italian publisher and collector. Mondani, who had already entrusted a significant part of his collection to Antiquorum for auction in 2006, has now chosen to place 40 watches with Phillips.
One of our highlights from this auction comes directly from the collection of this expert from Genova: the Rolex ref. 6269. This Daytona model, estimated to have been produced in only 20 to 30 pieces, epitomizes the ultimate in exclusivity and luxury of the iconic Rolex chronograph. Produced in the 1980s, this watch was quite distinct from the prevailing tastes of the era, which differed significantly from today’s appreciation for the allure of gemstones, making it a challenging sell at the time. Rolex produced it only under special order from clients. It is believed that the first piece commissioned and sold, along with its twin, the baguette diamond-set ref. 6270, was owned by the Sultan of Oman. This Daytona is estimated to fetch between CHF 600.000 and 1.200.000.

Rolex Daytina ref. 626
Rolex Daytina ref. 6269 – photo courtesy of Phillips

For the second top lot of the Phillips auction, we have chosen to highlight a watch that, in its minimalism, embodies the pinnacle of independent watchmaking. We are referring to a Philippe Dufour Simplicity, a creation that, mechanically, is the least complex by the master watchmaker but excels in its finishings, which are the real standout feature of this timepiece.

Philippe Dufour Simplicity  front side
Philippe Dufour Simplicity – photo courtesy of Phillips

Philippe Dufour is recognized as the foremost independent watchmaker of recent decades who has committed to achieving unparalleled levels of craftsmanship. He ensures that every part of his creations is produced in-house and then finished with meticulous precision. This extensive creation process limits Dufour to producing no more than about ten watches a year, making each timepiece a rare find. Valued between CHF 250.000 and 500.000,  it offers a unique opportunity for aficionados of fine watchmaking to own a piece of this exclusive craft.

Philippe Dufour Simplicity  caseback and movement's view
Philippe Dufour Simplicity – photo courtesy of Phillips
Sotheby’s: modern and vintage

Coming to the Sotheby’s auction, we have selected two very different watches that are expected to achieve significant figures due to their exclusivity. The first is an RM 27-01, a watch designed to be worn by Rafael Nadal during his matches on the world’s most prestigious tennis courts. What makes it truly remarkable is its feather-light weight of just 19 grams and the resilience of its movement, equipped with a tourbillon, capable of withstanding decelerations of up to 5.000g. This combination of lightweight construction and extreme shock resistance underscores its technical marvel and suitability for the rigors of professional sports.

Richard Mille RM 27-01 front side
Richard Mille RM 27-01 – photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

The estimate is CHF 800.000 – 1,.500.000.

For our final highlight, we want to discuss the Patek Philippe ref. 2499, double signed by Tiffany. Sold in 1964, this watch is one of only 349 pieces ever made across four different configurations. What makes it even more special is the Tiffany signature on the dial at the six o’clock position. This additional branding not only enhances its rarity but also its collectibility, linking it to one of the most prestigious names in luxury retail.

Patek Philippe ref. 2499 Tiffany dial, front side
Patek Philippe ref. 2499 – photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Even today, modern Patek watches that feature the signature of the prestigious New York retailer on their dials command significantly higher prices than their standard counterparts. This particular watch serves as a testament to one of the most historically significant references, showcasing the enduring relationship between these two entities for over 170 years. The estimated value of this timepiece ranges from 700.000 to 1.400.000 CHF.

The Watchype team will be in Geneva for the auction weekend, aiming to showcase some of the incredible pieces that will be sold.

Written by Tiziano Patti

Born in 2002, I’m a young watch collector and enthusiast always looking to add new pieces to my collection.