Rare timepieces go under the hammer at Geneva Watch Auction

Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, presents almost 30 timepieces from a private collection

FP Journe Chronomètre à Resonance and Urwerk UR-103
Left, FP Journe Chronomètre à Resonance and right, Urwerk UR-103
(Image credit: phillips.com)

A host of rare timepieces are set to go under the hammer this weekend in Geneva as Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, present a selection of timepieces from a private collection.

‘This sale’s theme takes us through the first twenty years of the 21st Century – a time that has seen watchmaking and the industry change more than in the past 100 years put together,’ says Alexandre Ghotbi, head of watches in continental Europe and the Middle East. ‘One of the most important and exciting changes of the new millennium has been the rise of independent watchmaking that has offered us a wind of fresh air. These independent makers have paved a path for themselves with unbridled creativity and technical mastery.’

As well as established watch brands, classical pieces from recognised horology masters F.P. Journe, Philippe Dufour and Kari Voutilainen are on sale alongside cutting edge pieces from the likes of De Bethune, MB&F and Urwerk.

Here, Alexandre Ghotbi picks his highlights

Patek Philippe ref 2523/1

Patek Philippe ref 2523/1

(Image credit: phillips.com)

Patek Philippe has come to be associated with the world time. Launched in 1953, the reference 2523/1 featured a new two-crown system, one for winding the watch and the other at 9 o’clock controlling the city disc. When introduced to the market this new double crown world time was not a commercial success resulting in very few pieces manufactured – in fact, the movement of the present watch was made in 1954 but only cased in 1966 and finally sold in 1973. The present piece is one of the most breathtaking specimens of the iconic reference 2523/1. It is not only completely unpolished, but it is one of only four known models in pink gold with a beautifully guillochée dial.’ – Alexandre Ghotbi

Movado Oval  

Movado Oval Wristwatches

(Image credit: phillips.com)

‘A certain suave coolness just oozes out of this incredibly visually arresting extra large oval timepiece from Movado. The shape and size of the case make the watch incomparable to its peers. It is incredible to think that such a timepiece was made some 90 years ago: its innovative and nomenclature defying design is like no other and a must have for the collector of truly rare and unusual watches.’ – Alexandre Ghotbi

Rolex 6241 ‘John Player Special’

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona wristwatch

(Image credit: phillips.com)

‘The Rolex Daytona doesn’t need an introduction. Launched in the early 1960s, it was a ‘tool’ watch made to time sporting events and thus made in steel. However, Rolex made a very few versions in gold and this reference is among the rarest Daytona models ever produced. A so-called ‘John Player Special’ due to its gold and black colour scheme, the present watch is an exceedingly rare variant of the Paul Newman model. It is notably one of a few handful of known ‘John Player Specials’ cased in 14K yellow gold and most probably made for the American market.’ – Alexandre Ghotbi. 


‘The Geneva Watch Auction: XII and Retrospective: 2000-2020’, 6 – 8 November 2020.

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.