Golden summer: 15 reasons to treat yourself this season

From sparkling rosés and high fashion handbags to elegant timepieces and rare books, indulge with items available only at Christie’s New York


Life’s a picnic

Pack your lunch and then some in the Hermès Picnic Birkin. Hermès first launched their modern spin on the wicker basket in 2011 in the Kelly silhouette. Since then, the famed French fashion house has produced the style in a variety of shapes, releasing the Birkin in 2021.

Handcrafted from Osier Wicker and Barénia leather, the picnic Birkin requires two artisans to complete. A master saddler produces the leather components while an expert basket weaver constructs the wicker body entirely by hand. All the perks of a picnic, without the ants! 

Seeing stars

An iconic Salvador Dalí 'étoile de mer' cultured pearl, ruby, diamond and emerald brooch. 17.5 x 16.2 cm (6⅞ x 6⅜ in); larger butterfly enhancement 4.8 x 3.8 cm (1⅞ x 1½ in); smaller butterfly enhancement 4.1 x 3.2 cm (1⅝ x 1¼ in). Sold for $982,800 in Magnificent Jewels on 7 June 2023 at Christie’s in New York

The rare ‘Étoile de Mer’ brooch by Salvador Dalí comes from the collection of famed socialite Rebekah Harkness and is composed of cultured pearls, rubies, diamonds and emeralds. Though known for his Surrealist paintings, Dalí was also interested in sculpting, film and jewellery design. The starfish — a symbol of renewal — was of particular fascination to him. Here, with his signature Surrealist touch, he included two gem-set butterflies that can be attached to the sea creature’s arms.

Simply the finest

Amongst the most iconic timepieces of all time, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is the definition of wrist candy. Reference 14802 was released in 1992 as a celebration of the original Royal Oak, reference 5402ST. Though limited to an edition of 1000, only 300 of these timepieces featured the highly desirable salmon dial found on this example. 

With a collection of exceptional features — such as a sapphire caseback and a decorated 21k gold rotor — this timepiece presents the most desirable aspects of its reference and is the perfect opportunity to own a historic and celebrated Royal Oak. 

La vie en rosé

Since 1843, Krug has been blending some of the finest Champagnes in the region. First introduced by the Maison in 1983, the Krug rosé Champagne is known for its rich and complex aromas. Amongst the most collectible in Champagne, this cuvée is cellared for at least seven years prior to release. Its distinct, expressive flavours make it a divine choice to kick off a summer evening.

Don’t get tide down

This first edition of Herman Melville’s magnum opus from 1851 was printed in London, and preceded the American edition by one month. The three volumes of The Whale contain the original epilogue and the author’s intended language, some of which was deemed too profane and edited out for the American edition. The definitive long read, this incredibly rare edition is the perfect novel to fill up long summer days — although it’s perhaps better to read poolside, than out at sea. 

Don't worry, beach happy

Bring a touch of the seaside everywhere you go with these ocean-inspired brooches.

Left: Verdura coloured diamond, diamond and cultured pearl fish brooch. 5.0 x 3.8 cm (2 x 1½ in). Sold for $17,640. Right: Verdura sea shell, sapphire and diamond 'Hokusai wave' brooch. 5.3 x 4.7 cm (2⅛ x 1⅞ in). Sold for $47,880. Both sold in Magnificent Jewels on 7 June 2023 at Christie’s in New York

From the collection of Adolphus Andrews, Jr., and Emily Taylor Andrews, doyens of San Francisco society, these unique Verdura brooches exemplify the celebrated Italian maker. Founded in 1939 by Duke Fulco di Verdura, the fine jeweller is renowned for its unconventional designs inspired by the natural world. After serving as Chanel’s head jewellery designer for six years, Verdura struck out on his own, launching his eponymous firm. His colourful, glamorous designs found favour across the world, beloved by tastemakers like Diana Vreeland, Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. 

Pair with an al fresco meal

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey is a rising star in Burgundy. His crisp St. Aubin from Les Perrières is the perfect pairing for your favourite summer meals. Savour its rich, full-bodied flavours with anything from lobster rolls to a selection of light cheeses.

The ultimate beech bag 

A variant of the timeless Kelly bag, the Kellywood was designed and constructed by master cabinetmakers. Exceedingly rare, the wooden frame is composed of solid beechwood.

The ‘Perspective Cavalière’ pattern seen here is an even more impressive feat of craftsmanship. Designed by the art collective Anamorphée, the colourful motif is achieved using a technique called marquetry, in which pieces of leather and wood are inlaid together to create a pattern. 

For the world traveller

The Rolex GMT-Master was launched in 1954, with the intention of assisting pilots in tracking multiple time zones as they navigated through the sky. Its 24-hour hand pairs to a rotating 24-hour bezel that can be adjusted to indicate a second time zone, but the two-tone bezel that indicates ‘day’ and ‘night’ is what gave it its nickname, the ‘Pepsi.’ 

This late example from 1982 is highly sought after due to its matte black dial and the matching patina of the dial and hands. A smart match for your fourth of July outfit, this GMT-Master is an iconic vintage Rolex timepiece. 

Enjoy a Coke

This summer, cool off with a Coke, courtesy of designer Kathrine Baumann. Baumann, who has been dubbed the ‘Andy Warhol of handbags,’ creates wearable art inspired by silhouettes like Campbell’s soup cans and fast food.

These evening bags, licensed by the Coca-Cola Company, are handmade with Swarovski crystals and gold-plated chain link shoulder straps. Often produced in limited-edition runs or small batches, Baumann’s minaudières are rarities on the market, making them the covetable accessory for a summer of fun. 

La dolce vita

Capture the essence of la dolce vita this summer with these multi-gem and diamond earrings by Bulgari. Founded in 1884 by the Greek jeweller Sotirio Bulgari, the brand has grown into an international powerhouse and accrued countless fans throughout the decades, including Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Marie José of Belgium and Sophia Loren.

Bulgari multi-gem and diamond earrings. 5.8 cm (2¼ in). Sold for $42,840 in Magnificent Jewels on 7 June 2023 at Christie’s in New York

Known for infusing their designs with an array of colourful gemstones, Bulgari is synonymous with Italian glamour and 1960s excess. These 18k gold earrings — inlaid with amethysts, iolites, blue topazes and diamonds — embody the spirit of the jewellery house. Clip them on to sparkle poolside or dazzle on the dancefloor. Whatever your summer plans, this pair will give you that extra glitz. 

Poetry for summer nights

Published posthumously in a small edition of 500, these three volumes mark Emily Dickinson’s first appearance in book format. With floral designs on the cover, they are physically imbued with her characteristic sentiment on the bittersweetness of nature. ‘Inebriate of air am I’, she writes in one of her untitled poems from this period, ‘and débauchée of dew, reeling through endless summer days, and molten inns of blue.’ 

Bring Napa to the backyard

Up your summer barbecue game with a magnum of one of Napa Valley’s finest wines. Famed for its Cabernet Sauvignons, Schrader Vineyards has developed a cult following among wine enthusiasts. Old Sparky, the finest in the Schrader’s portfolio, is an intense and robust red wine produced from the celebrated Beckstoffer To Kalon vineyard, which is only bottled in magnum.

Summer time

Patek Philippe’s Calatrava line dates back to 1932, when wristwatches were still a relatively new concept. Taking inspiration from Bauhaus design and modern minimalism, the design captured the timelessness of Patek Philippe’s aesthetic. 

Only three other examples of this reference, 3821/1, are known to have been offered at auction, but they belong to a limited-edition line of 30, made in the 1980s. Its integrated 18k gold bracelet mirrors the design of the articulated and stepped bezel — elegantly fitting for a lawn party. 

Revisit sunlit adventures

When Mark Twain first published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, it was a commercial failure. Within a few years, however, it became one of Twain’s best-selling works of his lifetime, and by the time of his death its status as an American literary masterpiece had been cemented. This first edition was printed in London in 1876 and is thus the ‘true’ first edition, as it gave the novel an English copyright before its first printing in the United States. 

Tom and Huck’s journeys in and around the Mississippi remain mandatory summer reading for the young at heart.

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