The pink-on-pink Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 570.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

The pink-on-pink Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 570.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Twelve Holy Grail Watches at Phillips’s One Auction in Geneva

Phillips is going big on its first watch auction in years. The “Geneva Watch Auction: One” is only 164 lots (about half what its competitors offer up), but almost every watch is major. From one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe complications to crazy-rare Rolex sport watches, the catalog is actually so dense it can be hard to digest. Here are our 12 favorites, including a few that will likely clear the $1 million mark.
Rolex Daytona Oyster Ref. 6263 Albino (Lot 214)
Rolex Daytona Oyster Ref. 6263 Albino (Lot 214)
The ref. 6263 Daytona was made in massive numbers, but only four have ever been seen with all-silver “albino” dials. Most have black circles on a silver dial or silver circles on a black dial. This example also spent a few years in Eric Clapton’s collection. Pretty cool. Estimate: $512,000 to $1,020,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Patek Philippe Ref. 1526 Perpetual Calendar (Lot 126)
Patek Philippe Ref. 1526 Perpetual Calendar (Lot 126)
This is where it all started. The ref. 1526 was the first perpetual calendar ever serially produced by Patek Philippe, and this one has the original box and papers to go with it. Combine that with the unpolished case, clean dial, and the watch’s flat-out incredible look, and you’ve got a winner. Estimate: $205,000 to 307,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle (Lot 86)
Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle (Lot 86)
It’s easy to forget, but in the 1930s there were no digital flight instruments. Pilots needed their watches for navigation and safety. This massive watch has a bezel that makes it work as a slide rule in flight, and it was a gift from Charles Lindbergh himself to French pilot Dieudonné Costes. Estimate: $61,500 to $82,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Pink-on-Pink Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 570 (Lot 164)
Pink-on-Pink Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 570 (Lot 164)
The ref. 570 is the most desirable of the 20th century time-only Patek Philippe watches. The 35.5-millimeter case wears even larger, so it feels modern, and the examples with tonal dials and Breguet numerals command huge premiums. This one is all pink gold, from the case to the crown to the two-tone pink dial and hands. If you have the chance to see this watch, take it. You might never see another. Estimate: $154,000 to $256,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Black Dial Rolex Triple Calendar With Moon Phase (Lot 79)
Black Dial Rolex Triple Calendar With Moon Phase (Lot 79)
A gold Rolex triple calendar with a black lacquer dial gifted to a war hero? Yes, please. Rolex hasn’t made calendar watches like this for a few decades, but the examples from the 1940s and ’50s are highly collectible, and the condition of this watch is insane. Despite the estimate, I expect this one to fetch around $1 million. Estimate: $307,000 to $615,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Sector Dial Patek Philippe Ref. 130 Monopusher Chronograph (Lot 123)
Sector Dial Patek Philippe Ref. 130 Monopusher Chronograph (Lot 123)
I literally gasped when I first saw this watch. It’s one of only two examples that look like this; the watches were made for twin Argentine brothers who were doctors and needed functional steel chronos. The partner watch sits in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, and this one could easily become one of the most valuable Patek Philippes of all time. Estimate: $1,020,000 to $2,050,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Rolex Pink Gold Ref. 6062 (Lot 118)
Rolex Pink Gold Ref. 6062 (Lot 118)
This watch is an anomaly among Rolexes. It has a complicated triple calendar with moon-phase movement inside but uses the waterproof Oyster case. It’s a dress watch that can take a beating like a sport watch. This pink gold version dates to 1953 and includes the original Jubilee-style bracelet. The blue printing on the dial is a small detail, but one you don’t want to ignore. Estimate: $256,000 to 461,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
White Gold Vacheron Constantin Turnograph (Lot 89)
White Gold Vacheron Constantin Turnograph (Lot 89)
At first glance this looks much more like a Rolex than a Vacheron. The Datejusts with engraved rotating bezels were called Turnographs, and this is Vacheron Constantin’s interpretation of the style. The dial is extremely clean and has a beautiful pearlescent finish. It’s funky, understated, and crazy rare. Estimate: $20,500 to $30,700.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Patek Philippe Robert Stack Ref. 1415 World Timer (Lot 163)
Patek Philippe Robert Stack Ref. 1415 World Timer (Lot 163)
Early examples seem to be a theme in this auction. This ref. 1415 world timer is only the second one ever made, and it was finished in 1939. The open hour hand is a signature of the model and—along with the spider lugs and font choices—contributes to the period look. That it belonged to American actor and TV host Robert Stack is almost an afterthought. Estimate: $61,500 to $92,200.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Pink Gold Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 Perpetual Calendar (Lot 165)
Pink Gold Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 Perpetual Calendar (Lot 165)
This watch is just bananas. Not only is the case pink gold (much rarer than the usual yellow), but it also has the coveted pink-on-pink dial. And that original beads-of-rice bracelet? Just stop. In all seriousness, this is a perfect storm for vintage Patek collectors, and some bidders are going to be devastated when they don’t win it for themselves. Estimate: $820,000 to $1,430,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Steel Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 565 (Lot 125)
Steel Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 565 (Lot 125)
Steel Patek watches have their own cult following. The combination of incredible watchmaking and no-nonsense metal is something unique. The ref. 565 Calatrava was large for the time at 35mm, and the subdial here has aged to give the Breguet-numeral dial a two-tone look. It was one of a few steel Pateks owned by racer Briggs Cunningham II, and the case back is engraved to prove it. Estimate: $46,100 to $66,600.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Rolex Ref. 6200 Explorer-Dial Submariner (Lot 172)
Rolex Ref. 6200 Explorer-Dial Submariner (Lot 172)
Many consider this watch to be the best mix of traits from Rolex’s sport watches. You get the familiar Submariner bezel, case, and oversize crown, plus the 3-6-9 from the Explorer. This example has the smaller crown logo at 12 o’clock, upping the ante. This is about as good as a Submariner gets. Estimate: $205,000 to $410,000.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business