Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
Property From An Important American Collector: Horological Masterpieces of Art and Design
Collecting watches has been an American passion for over a century. Names such as J.P. Morgan, Henry Graves, Jr., James Ward Packard, and Seth Atwood all remind us of the singular desire to acquire the best and most unique timepieces available at a given time in history. J.P. Morgan chose to celebrate his collecting triumphs by producing a limited edition book in 1912 with hand colored images of his watches (see Lot 161). Graves and Packard chose to be more discreet while Atwood aggressively built one of the most important watch museums the world has ever seen. While some were passionate for the hunt, some for glory, other American collectors simply bought watches that they loved and kept their collecting lives discreet and completely unknown, even within their closest circles.
One such collector was the man who acquired the watches on the following pages. His collecting was driven by two rules, whether buying cars, decorative arts, or watches – number one, find the best of the best, and number two, study everything you can about each specific collecting category. His collecting was kept very private as he travelled around the world acquiring timepieces, only known by a small circle of auction specialists and Patek Philippe executives. This Important American Collector, as we will discreetly describe him in these pages, bought only watches that he loved and individually cherished for their specific traits and clarity of design. He did not buy watches to please others; he only bought watches to please his own eyes.
With this context, we can see his fine taste for art and design. With art, he sought to acquire only the best miniature enamel portrait Patek Philippe watches made. His crowning pocket watch acquisition was the Suzanne Rohr enamel hunting case watch (Lot 65). With design, he assembled some of the most beautifully designed wristwatches of the mid-20th century, a 2554 Manta in platinum and two asymmetrical Patek Philippe watches by Gilbert Albert, a coveted rose gold 3422 and the white gold 3424, as well as two superlative examples from the Ricochet collection (Lot 59 and 60).
One trophy of his modern watch collecting was one of the first Patek Philippe Ref. 5101P ten day platinum tourbillon wristwatches ever made with the coveted movement number ending in 001 (Lot 62). His close relationship with the Stern family and his loyalty to the Patek Philippe Paris salon awarded him the honor of being offered this early example of this special watch, one of the most groundbreaking horological achievements at the dawn of the 21st century.
The following lots represent a selection from this Important American Collector’s vault. Although mostly Patek Philippe, the collection also contains some fascinating examples of timepieces from some modern independent makers, such as the opening lot in this section, a Svend Andersen Montre A Tact (Lot 49) with a uniquely American theme: the Chrysler Building. From the 19th century to today, the unique bond between the watchmaking community and its patrons remains strong and the modern day collectors continue to drive the horological industry to new artistic and technical heights. Now in a new chapter of the ever evolving collecting landscape, the following 18 lots offer another generation of collectors an opportunity to compete to own some of the finest horological masterpieces ever made.