Rare Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling and Longines on Auction


We’re here with Mr. Aurel Bacs, head auctioneer
of Phillips, Bacs & Russo. I know you’re going to tell us some nice stories
about some nice lots that are here in front of us. Thanks for having us here, always a pleasure. Of course, I love watches, but I love stories. Why I love them, I don’t think we need watches
just to tell the time. I think a watch tells so much more than just
the time. When we come across watches that have never
been on the market before and to tell us a story, I have to share it. It’s just my desire. Let me start with two Rolexes. Why? Because they are perfect examples how, to
me, they’re time machines. No pun intended, time machine, but it’s a
machine that brings me back half a century and I can live and see things that otherwise
I would have never seen. Let me start with the Submariner. It’s a Submariner reference 5508. The 5508 was also called the Small Crown because
it has the smaller crown versus the big crown. In my nearly 40 years that I’m looking for
watches and hunting watches, I’ve never come across a crisper, minter example. In fact, this watch has been bought in the
late ’50s, and we sincerely believe it has never seen one day on the wrist of someone. Think, it’s like a car that you find in 2019
that has maybe 10 or 20 miles on the meter. It’s unbelievable. Let me talk you through a few of these elements. First of all, and maybe you can see it right
here from your position, here it says, very finely engraved “stainless steel”. After one polish this thin inscription is
gone and I can hardly even remember seeing a 5508 with that inscription. It’s the original 1958 bracelet that is elastic. Now, normally, these bracelets are, because
they have springs, these springs get weaker and weaker. I can hardly remember seeing something as
rigid as this bracelet. The bevels, which are these sharp little angles
are so crisp that we can conclude it has never been polished and never been worn. Original dial, original crystal, original
hands, original bezel, original pearl insert. It’s just unbelievable. It’s a time machine. A movement that is standing still for 60 plus
years. I’m sure it needs oiling. Oiling like a bike, like anything mechanical,
but because it hasn’t had any pressure on the spring, no friction between the wheels,
the escapement, I would expect that it needs a service but nothing more. Okay, interesting. Thanks. Pretty much at the same time, we’re still
in the 1950s, the top of the line model which was probably aiming to compete with distinguished
Geneva makers or Le Brassus makers is the 8171, the so-called Padellone. It is a triple calendar watch. That means it has two windows here for the
weekday and the month, moon phases, and the date around. Little different layouts than what we see
from distinguished Geneva makers. Automatic. At that time, there were no automatic calendar
watches from the other firms, but this isn’t a perpetual calendar. The others went all the way for the perpetual
calendar. It’s a lovely size, it’s a big 38-millimeter
watch. A watch that is not an oyster model, so rather
sensitive to humidity, dust, and also, of course, to polishing because these bevels
or these edges here are suffering extremely quickly if you polish it. Guess what? Everybody knows I’d like to use superlatives,
I’d like to invite any of your viewers come and show me your 8171 and I’ll offer a bottle
of champagne to the person who shows me a better one. You heard that. I hope I don’t have to offer five, but actually,
it would be great. That would be a good thing. It would be a great thing. This is, as far as I’m concerned, the best
yellow gold 8171 in the world. I make a bold statement, this watch has never
seen any wrist on. The watch is, of course, unpolished, unworn,
no signs of wear, and here in the case back at the little corner, it’s the serial number. That alone means yes, it’s been looked after,
but when you start looking at the original “Rolex of Geneva” alligator strap, that
poor crocodile died 70 years ago, can you imagine? The original buckle. We have the original hand tag, the original
box, it’s been sleeping for three-quarter of a century. It’s unbelievable. We find these models in poor worn condition
without the number on the back, without the accessories as of maybe 100,000 Swiss Francs. We offer this at 400, which is the highest
estimate anyone has ever put on a yellow gold 8171. I can expect seriously competitive bidding
on that watch because who as a collector, who understands and appreciates watches would
not enjoy owning, hopefully, if I don’t lose the bet with your viewers, the best 8171 the
world has seen so far. The watches I’ve shown you previously are
references and models that as such are known, but this isn’t the case with this model here
that we discovered in Italy. A watch that even the greatest Longines scholars
did not know it existed. The famous A7 model was developed, that’s
what we understood, for the US Army. Several makers, Longines included, made that
model and these watches were always in the 46 to 49 millimeters. Often chrome-plated as cheap as possible for
the Army. When we opened this box, I couldn’t believe
what I’ve seen. First of all, it is larger than your normal
A7. Second of all, it is the only Longines I’ve
ever seen that has also the retailer signature on it, Eberhard Milano, a very distinguished
retailer. Third of all, the watch isn’t chromium plated
but is in stainless steel. Mid-1930s. The lugs are much longer and more defined
than the regular Milos, for example, and we still have the original mid-1930s leather
strap and buckle. Seriously, that’s the original one? The watch has never spent a day outside this
box until recently. The family said that it was their grandfather’s,
he was a pilot. What we don’t know is why would a pilot go
to Eberhard in the mid-’30s, buy this amazing Longines, and then never wear it. We don’t know. I’d like to know, but everything ticks. Longines has very kindly confirmed with the
archives that this is indeed a civil version A7 in stainless steel, so more a luxury version,
and it’s a model that we didn’t know existed. It’s a little bit like you go to Siberia and
found the frozen mammoth, it’s exciting, isn’t it? Absolutely love it and the collectors love
it. It’s not your standard size, it’s a bit of
a big watch. You need to be either self-confident or wear
it as it was originally intended, outside your suit. Not your business suit, your pilot suit, on
the left wrist. It’s quite amazing how if you have your arm
in a 45-degree angle or 30-degree angle, you’ll look at the watch and the pusher is at twelve
o’clock. It’s very anatomically designed 80-plus years
ago, isn’t that amazing? Yes, indeed. Something completely different, really different,
that at first sight may just be your first generation 16528 Rolex Cosmograph in yellow
gold. This was the first generation automatic Rolex
Cosmograph. Let’s not forget that until the second half
of the ’80s, the Rolex Daytonas were powered by a manual-wound Valjoux-based caliber. You could imagine how I was shivering, especially
also being a little bit of a petrol-head and having watched so many Formula 1 races back
then, when I read the case back that says Angelo Da Ayrton, 1978. Ayrton is Ayrton Senna. To many, the world’s most gifted Formula 1
driver of all times. Angelo is Ayrton Senna’s manager. The man who discovered him in Brazil in the
late ’70s. When Ayrton Senna was driving go-carts, he
was a very talented, very competitive, very successful go-cart driver, and he said, “Let
me take you under my wings as a manager and make sure you get to where you should get
eventually to Formula 1.” They were not just business partners, they
were very, very close friends. The watch is offered together with this signed
visor with a signed autograph with letter of his manager. I think it’s an amazing piece of history that
for the 10th anniversary of their encounter in 1988, Ayrton Senna offered that watch as
a token esteem and friendship. Before we go to the obvious Patek Philippe,
I’d like to point out a watch what I find myself hugely interesting. It’s a Breitling. I think I’ve only sold, in my 25 years of
auction career, one other Breitling Superocean. That one is in lovely, lovely condition. It was a competitor to the Submariners. Of course, Omega and many more were also competing
in that field. In the 1950s, everyone tried to have the best
most waterproof, most competitive of price, most reliable, with the best loom design. You cannot say that this loom design isn’t
cool. You’ve got Applied Indices that go over a
circular loom plot. The bezel is not flat. If I may, I’ll quickly take the Submariner. They’re pretty much brothers and sisters from
a similar period. Look at this, the crystal on the Rolex stands
out, whereas, on the Breitling, it doesn’t. That means that the edge of the bezel, so
if I would ever hit it, it’s the bezel that takes the hit and not the crystal. Because if you break the crystal while you’re
diving in a cave or against a rock, it can be problematic. Clever solution, something I have hardly seen
since. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this
go under the hammer. Patek Philippe, we cannot have one of your
shows without one or two great watches. The one I picked for today’s presentation
is this one. It has chrysoprase, onyx, diamonds, yellow
gold. It is as 1970s haute couture as it can be. Some may like it, some may find it over the
top. This comes from the collection of Catherine
Deneuve. Now, you close your eyes for a moment, you
picture what probably many considered the most elegant, beautiful, stylish, talented
actress of the 20th Century. You picture her on a Saint Laurent dress from
the ’70s, and you picture her with that watch and you start dreaming. The watch itself is an extraordinary rarity
that I think if any of your viewers is looking to dress in style and not have the same commercial
watch that you buy on high street, with that one, you have an entrance that your friends
won’t forget, especially if you have a period Saint Laurent or Pucci dresses to go with
it. It’s not just a conversation piece. I think it’s a piece of watch history, of
20th-century history. To me, it’s extraordinary value. Ladies watches are, as far as I’m concerned,
not at the same level as sporty chronographs from the ’50s, ’60s, complicated watches. I think ladies as collectors in our field
should just be more prominent. Women are so often ahead of men when it comes
to style and that subtleness. Finesse. Finesse, a nice word. Please, make together a strong message. Please, ladies, join us. It’s the most wonderful community, watch collecting. I’d like this watch to find a very, very good
home. Yes, definitely deserves it. For sure. An admirer, a male admirer of Catherine Deneuve
can also bid on it. I guess so. Complicated Patek Philippe’s are, of course,
not just Patek Philippe’s specialty but also our specialty. Here we have two examples. One is a chronograph from the late ’40s. It’s a reference 530. It comes from the family of the original owner. The 530 was the largest chronograph back then
with a case that is pretty contemporary in terms of its shape, its design. This watch comes with its original box. Shows its wear quite nicely with a few marks
here and there. The original box has the original sticker
inside that denotes the retailer in Sicily, Italy where the watch was originally sold. The watch is here in Geneva again shortly
after World War II, so 70 years later. It’s in really nice unrestored condition. MINTes, maybe a bit bold, I would say it’s
in extremely nice condition, but let’s not pick here over this and it’s just such a nice
watch to wear. It’s just a fantastic size. It looks good, casual, and sporty, and formal. Original buckle, vintage buckle. It’s a fantastic collector’s piece that I
think at 150,000 to 250,000 is if you look at the overall landscape, a very interesting
value proposition to consider. The reference 1518 is the world’s first wristwatch
made in series with a perpetual calendar and the chronograph. In the early ’40s, the model was introduced
and just over a decade later, it was replaced by reference 2499. There was in Switzerland vacationing a prominent
Brazilian lawyer in 1954, and in fact, he was staying at the Hotel Bellevue in Bern. Why would I know that? Here we have the correspondence with Patek
Philippe. He kept the original certificate. He kept the original invoice. He asked for a manual in French. He asked for a manual in Spanish. It’s like you and I going back to 1954. Geneva, go back and say, “Hello, we’d like
to buy a 1518.” This is the package she would have received,
of course, including the original box. When we see this, how can you not just fly
back in time? To have a 1518 that has never been on the
market, that has never been restored, and that is complete as this one is, I would say,
a scoop. They made 281 watches in yellow-gold, pink-gold,
and stainless steel of course, and to find one that has not yet come back to the sunlight
since 1954 is amazing. This is very appealing to a collector. Yes, it makes it very special for sure. It has also if I recall, the dates and day
indication are in Portuguese, right? Absolutely. You could have back then at Patek Philippe
French, of course, English. I’ve seen Italian, I’ve seen Spanish, a few
Germans, and Portuguese. Thank you very much for your time, Aurel. It’s always a pleasure to hear those nice
stories, always very inspiring and I wish you best of luck with the auction. Thank you. I hope to see you soon again. We’ll be there. Thank you.

67 comments on “Rare Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling and Longines on Auction

  1. I could listen to Aurel Bacs talk about watches all day long! He's simply amazing at telling a story and his passion and love for watches shines through!

    Edit: Not sure what's up with all the "never worn" description of watches that clearly look like they've been at the very least lightly worn.

    Not sure why Marc didn't press Mr. Bacs on this.

  2. 4:56 Aurel, the type of guy who thinks alligators and crocodiles are the same thing 😂
    The watches are just freaking amazing…that perpetual calendar Rolex could teach a thing or two in elegance and design to modern Rolex 👍🏻

  3. Unworn? Hardly think so, you could see a bunch of marks around the date pushers etc, but yeah, makes a good story monsieur Bacs 😉

  4. Mr. Aurel B what class and elegance, his way of describing the watch can make anyone pay a million dollars for an invicta, great job.

  5. The Patek Reference 530 is sublime- easily my favorite of the lot. The Longines is a fascinating piece- does seem odd that it wasn't worn (though it looks to have some wear). As always Marc, great work! And thanks to Aurel for bringing them to the show and sharing his stories. 🙂

  6. Aurel on the 70s Patek:
    "I want this watch to find a very very good home. An admirer, a male admirer of Catherine Deneuve"
    Marc:
    "I guess so."

    LMAO. Marc your facial expression was priceless.

  7. I am a simple man. I see Patek Philippe and Rolex I hit dislike 🙂 In fact this video has all 4 brands that I hate 🙂

  8. Could you imagine buying a second hand car off this guy you’d have to count your fingers if you shake hands with him!

  9. Lol what stories does this clown tell us .. the watch is all scratched.. and he still believed it was never worn ?

  10. Even the bracelet was changed mang times and the guy say it was never worn … that's the problem of thsi industry.. it's based on lies and money money money

  11. Am I stupid or is he just full of shit ? All the watches that he says were never worn all snow signs of being worn …like in every possible way .. the longings has even destroyed holes on the strap

  12. Please, could somebody tell me what size is the watch at 15:30? And/or maybe its name? Thank you very much

  13. The two last Patek Philippe models blew me away…. And Mr. Bacs is just a mine of knwledge, love to listen to him. Thanks for sharing this overview. Viva watchmaking!

  14. That Aurel Bacs is one smooth character. I was like a deer in the headlights.

    If he talked it up enough, he could probably get me to buy a watch I already own.

  15. These watches are scratched to shit and he says they've never even been worn. They're in great shape, but come on, they've seen wrist time.

  16. What a salesman. The Rolex submariner looks worn. Has many scratches on the back and on the crystal.

  17. Who gives a shit!? So pretentious and douche-y. It’s not Apple Watches that are killing the industry, it’s pompous assholes like these guys. Give me a break.

  18. Love all those historical time pieces, just couldn't get enough exitment of those stories, mr.Mad like always u nailed it, hudge respect for mr Aurel as well. 👍🌟⏱

  19. Although not related to the watches above, has the Angelus Tinkler been featured or has it come up in any auction recently? Thanks.

  20. Watches full of scratches on the back and sides but – "never been worn" :DDD Amazing watches,smooth talker and few BS too 😉

  21. There are a few watches that were never warm, never used, kept in storage for decades….yet, in spite of being well protected, I saw “wear” on the dial, bezel, etc. The Patel for example.

    Why is that? Are these watches that susceptible to the elements that even in storage they degrade? What does that say about their durability?

    I am not belittle the makers or brands, but I do question…. thanks! As always love the videos!

  22. I think this gentleman has to reconsider the terms " Never worn" "Mint" and so on. Dont get me wrong, the timepieces are amazing but dont take the clients for fools and super-overrated the watches just to sell them. We are not that naive.

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