Time to start saving those pennies …
[Press Release] NEW YORK – A very rare and superlative Franck Muller Prototype Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch, with Perpetual Calendar and Moon Phases, circa 1986, is expected to bring more than $100,000 when it crosses the auction block as part of Heritage Auctions’ New York Signature® Timepieces Auction, Tuesday May 3, at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion, 2 East 79th Street (at 5th Ave).
“This important timepiece is accompanied by a letter, hand written and signed by Franck Muller, which states that he personally made the watch in 1986 for the Vicenza Jewellery and Watch Fair,” said Jim Wolf, Director of Timepieces at Heritage. “This rare watch is considered to be the cornerstone of Franck Muller’s complicated models.”
The letter from Muller indicates that this prototype is based on a LeCoultre ebauche made for Tiffany. It is comparable to high grade minute repeating movements by Patek Philippe and was finished by Franck Muller with the addition of a perpetual calendar mechanism.
The presence of an historically important Patek Philippe Minute Repeating Split Seconds Chronograph with Register (estimate: $25,000+), originally presented by the citizens of San Francisco, CA to Surgeon General Rupert Blue, circa 1908, presents an especially intriguing and interesting wrinkle to the auction.
The dust cover of this timepiece is engraved “To Rupert Blue P.A. Surgeon, U.S.P.H. and M.H.S. from the citizens of San Francisco. In grateful recognition of services rendered the city while in command of the Sanitation Campaign of 1908.”
“Blue served with the Marine Hospital Service Regular Corps, which later became the Public Health Service,” said Wolf. “He received honors for his work to eradicate the bubonic plague in San Francisco in 1905 and in the eradication of yellow fever in New Orleans in 1907. He served as Surgeon General under Presidents Taft and Wilson from 1912 to 1920 and also served as President of the American Medical Association from 1916 to 1917. Under Blue’s leadership, researchers effectively used the new science of bacteriology to combat diseases linked to poverty in both rural and urban areas.”
Patek Philippe is further represented in the auction by two more superb timepieces: a very fine Patek Philippe Ref. 3970E Perpetual Calendar With Chronograph, Moon Phase, Leap Year & 24 Hour Indication, circa 2004 (estimated at $80,000+) and a fine Patek Philippe Gold Minute Repeater Split Second Chronograph With Register, circa 1908 (estimated at $25,000+).
A very rare and popular Rolex Ref. 1655 Double Red Sea-Dweller Submariner, circa 1977 (estimate: $20,000+), will thrill collectors of Rolex’s “Mark IV” series. The dial of the “Mark VI” series, including the one on this rare timepiece, is distinguished by the printing on the dial. When examined closely the printing appears to be made up of a series of small dots, rather than direct brush stroke type application. The present watch also has the transitional series case back which is distinguished by the lettering “Rolex Patent Oyster Gas Escape Valve” engraved around the back as opposed to the engraving being straight across the back as found on earlier versions. The transitional series is believed to have been produced between 1977 and 1978, with serial numbers in the 5.1 to 5.2 million range.
Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
Illinois Exceedingly Rare 23 Jewel 163 Type II Sixty Hour Bunn Special, # 5448264, circa 1931: Estimate: $20,000 – $25,000.
Rolex Very Fine & Rare Ref. 6234 “Pre-Daytona” Antimagnetic Oyster Chronograph, circa 1950s: Estimate: $15,000+.
Breitling Very Fine 18k Gold 125th Anniversary Limited Edition Chronograph, The Last Example Produced No. 125/125: Estimate: $15,000 – $18,000.
Waltham Rare 18k Gold Premier Maximus G.T.P. Railway Presentation Watch With Original Box, circa 1910: Estimate: $12,000 – $15,000.
Patek Philippe & Cie. Exceptional 18k Gold Split Seconds Chronograph With Instantaneous 30-Minute Register, circa 1907: Estimate: $12,000 – $15,000.