12 grail timepieces from the upcoming “Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS” sale
A selection of vintage and modern sports watches curated by Phillips will open for bidding in Hong Kong at the upcoming “Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS” sale. This auction will showcase watches of notable provenance, arrayed symbolically across 6 categories which nod to the most iconic sports activities of the 20th century — namely wind, air, snow, tarmac, lawn and water.
For this highly anticipated sale, the esteemed auction house (in association with Bacs & Russo) has partnered with Blackbird Automotive Group, offering — for the first time ever — a catalogue of timepieces curated in its entirety by an Asian collector — Blackbird’s chairman Mr. TK Mak.
Spanning an eclectic array of 82 timepieces, the “Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS” sale shall take place at the JW Marriott Hong Kong on 27 May. Prospective buyers and enthusiasts may view what’s on offer in two locations: the Blackbird Concessionaires Showroom (22 May); and the JW Marriott (23-26 May). For further information, visit Phillips online.
To get you amped up for what promises to be among the most exciting sales in the region, here are a few of our personal favourites:
Lot 806: Patek Philippe Ref. 5711 “Tiffany”
This reference (estimated value: HK$360,000 — HK$720,000) was launched in 2006 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Patek Philippe’s much sought-after Nautilus model. The extremely rare stainless steel wristwatch is double signed by jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co and presents sweep centre seconds and date window on the characteristic white “portcullis” dial.
Lot 809: Ulyssee Nardin Ref. 7536-2
This attractive stainless steel chronograph (estimated value: HK$160,000 — HK$2,00,000) has a case design and dial configuration reminiscent of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. It is a collector’s delight thanks to its flawless graphics and black dial, which over time has developed a milk-chocolate tone. The precise manufacturing standards of Ulysse Nardin are also discernible in this piece’s heavy sculptured lugs and hour markers.
Lot 818: Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI 1969
The present Speedmaster, unveiled in 1969 (the year of the Apollo XI moon landing) is a rare iteration limited to only 1,014 pieces. It is a yellow gold chronograph (estimated value: HK$120,000 — HK$200,000) that features a burgundy bezel and caseback inscribed with edition number. OMEGA’s Speedmaster was the first watch to be flight-qualified by NASA.
Lot 829: Rolex Ref. 6542 GMT Master
This spectacular GMT-Master (estimated value: HK$1,000,000 — HK$1,900,000) is an aficionado’s favourite, continuing to create a lot of noise in watch collecting circles. Its Bakelite bezel has stood the test of time and aged to acquire unique tones of Prussian blue and burgundy. The bezel itself is in excellent condition — a rarity, given Bakelite’s notorious fragility.
Lot 832: Rolex Ref. 1655 Explorer II
Another well-preserved Rolex (estimated value: HK$120,000 — HK$200,000) complete with box, papers and a wealth of supporting documentation. This stainless-steel Explorer II comes with 24-hour indication and calibrated bezel. This first-generation watch boasts everything a connoisseur of fine timepieces looks for.
Lot 842: Rolex Ref. 6036 “Jean-Claude Killy”
This yellow gold chronograph (estimated value: HK$2,000,000 — HK$4,000,000) is the only vintage Rolex series to present a triple calendar together with the chronograph complication. A known favourite of Olympic ski champion Jean-Claude Killy, it sports a clean white dial decorated with gold indexes and blue calendar. Thanks to its yellow gold casing, the present ref. 6036 is rare even by in-series standards.
Lot 846: Heuer Ref. 1133B Monaco
In 1969, Swiss manufacturer Heuer, a pioneer in watch technology, introduced the “Monaco” self-winding chronograph — among the first three in the market. This watch (estimated value: HK$120,000 — HK$200,000), so-called for the eponymous Grand Prix locale, possesses an eye-catching square case, was famously worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans and is preserved in immaculate condition.
Lot 859: Rolex Ref. 6234 Pre-Daytona
For those who’ve always wanted a pre-Daytona chronograph to add to their collection, it doesn’t get much better than this rare Rolex (estimated value: HK$2,000,000 — HK$4,000,000) Oyster, distinguished by a well-preserved black dial and combined tachymeter/telemeter scales. Considered to be amongst the most desirable pre-Daytona chronographs every produced, the present ref. 6234 is in excellent condition — rare for such designs circa 1960.
Lot 864: Patek Philippe Ref. 1579
A big draw for this sporty Patek chronograph from the late 1940s (estimated value: HK$780,000 — HK$1,560,000) is its rare pink gold case — only seven such examples have appeared on the market — with ‘spider’ lugs and tachymeter scale. It is also one of only two models known to feature enamel indexes and the only known piece to be offered with its original box & papers.
Lot 869: Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 “4th Series”
It’s a fair bet that at some point in the life of every watch collector, they’ll feel the implacable itch to buy vintage Patek Philippe. The master of haute horlogerie’s popularity stems from their refined and extremely sophisticated designs. This 4th series ref. 2499 embodies that reputation (estimated value: HK$3,200,000 — HK$6,200,000) and features round chronograph pushers, a yellow gold perpetual calendar, complete with moonphase, and signature stepped lugs on the dial.
Lot 881: Rolex Ref. 5508 Submariner “Small Crown”
Another Submariner going under the hammer later this month is this Ref. 5508 (estimated value: HK$620,000 — HK$1,200,000). This particular iteration is the ‘Small Crown’ model that entered circulation in the second quarter of 1962. It is fitted with a riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, centre seconds and the glossy “exclamation point” dial, named for the distinctive looking lume plot at 6 o’clock).
Lot 882: Rolex Ref. 6538 Submariner “Big Crown”
This stainless steel Submariner (estimated value: HK$3,200,000 — HK$6,200,000) is the stuff that vintage dreams are made of. The exquisitely preserved “Big Crown” boasts aesthetics that have since become synonymous with James Bond (as played by Sean Connery between 1962-1965). Besides the beautiful combination of puffed-lumes-on-black-lacquer-dial, it is the 4-line signature — which reads “200m = 600ft”, “Submariner”, “Officially Certified” and “Chronometer” — that will have every dive watch connoisseur eager to bid.