Christie’s global reputation for presenting the most spectacular single-owner private collections of watches in the world is second to none. It is therefore with immense pride, excitement and anticipation that Christie’s Hong Kong now offers in this catalogue truly one of the most remarkable watch collections in private hands. Known only to a select few until 2021, the collection was built discreetly over more than 30 years. Described by its owner as a journey, which continues here with this, the first auction from the collection, pays tribute to the collector’s boundless dedication, commitment and perseverance in assembling a virtually unrivalled selection of both historical and contemporary timepieces. These watches celebrate the astounding work of not only the greatest names in established Swiss watch manufacturing, but also showcase the very finest creations of several formidable independent watchmakers working today.

The Oak Collection is an acronym of ‘One of a Kind’, and a significant number of the watches to be offered here are indeed ‘one of a kind’. Such timepieces are the most eagerly pursued by collectors due to their unavailability to all but the most exalted and loyal of a brand’s clients. This auction provides collectors, and those individuals for whom only the most exclusive artworks and objects are considered, the singular opportunity to possess watches that will not be seen on any other wrist. Moreover, every watch in this extraordinary collection is in truly perfect condition, the majority being either new or virtually unworn and regularly serviced.

The desire by the owner of the Oak Collection to share some of the masterworks of the collection with a wider audience led to a world tour exhibition of 160 watches from the collection in London. Naturally, timepieces by Patek Philippe dominated, and sections of the travelling exhibition focused upon the ‘Calatrava’; Chronographs; Perpetual Calendars; World-Time watches and rare handicrafts. The Patek Philippe part of the collection is also remarkable in containing the largest number of timepieces once owned by the legendary collector Henry Graves Jnr. outside of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

The collector's significant commitment to contemporary watchmaking and charitable causes is amply demonstrated by the fact that he became one of the most active buyers at several of the the nine biennial ‘Only Watch’ charity auctions held to date. The collection holds no fewer than 10 unique ‘Only Watch’ timepieces representing makers such as Kari Voutilainen, H. Moser, Chanel, Hublot and Roger Dubuis.

In the Oak Collection, each and every watch can be considered a highlight. Of course some pieces stand out even among such distinguished company, one of these is a Patek Philippe reference 1436 Rattrapante split-seconds chronograph with black dial, of which only 59 yellow gold examples are known and only a handful of those sporting the ravishing black dial. More diverse highlights are a remarkable ’new old stock’ Universal ‘Nina Rindt’ chronograph; the Breguet triple calendar chronograph once owned by French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jack Brabham’s Breguet Type XX chronograph of 1959. Awe-inspiring watches by independent makers include Akrivia’s SS AK-06 ‘Cadran Spéciale Bleu’ and Kari Voutilainen’s stainless steel GMT 6 for ‘Only Watch’.

Globally significant and without doubt in a class of its own, the sale of the Oak Collection Part 1 provides collectors, scholars and enthusiasts with the privileged and perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to view, study and buy unique or ultra-exclusive timepieces from this most carefully assembled of private collections.

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