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Sotheby's NY to hold sale of Important Watches

Sep '08
On October 17, 2008 Sotheby's New York will hold a sale of Important Watches Including Property from the Time Museum comprising over 200 lots estimated to bring $4.5/6.2 million. The sale will feature a group of important Rolex and modern Breguet watches as well as an offering of Patek Philippe watches and nine pieces from the renowned Time Museum collection. The sale will be on exhibition at Sotheby's New York galleries beginning Sunday, October 12.

Sotheby's is pleased to once again offer property from the The Time Museum, the finest collection of timefinding and time-keeping devices in the world assembled by Seth Atwood, a businessman from Rockford, Illinois, over a period of thirty years. This offering follows four previous sales held by Sotheby's in 1999 and 2004 of masterpieces from the Time Museum, which set numerous world records including the $11 million paid for the Patek Philippe 'Henry Graves Supercomplication,' a record that still stands today.

Highlights from the Time Museum offering include a Richard Good Triple Axis Tourbillon Marine Chronometer (est. $10/15,000), a technical marvel commissioned by Seth Atwood, intended for use onboard a ship, as well as an Open-Faced Quarter Repeating Automaton Magician's Watch (est. $30/40,000).

Another highlight from the Time Museum offering is the Waltham Watch Co. Perpetual Calendar Five-Minute Repeating Split Second Chronograph Watch (est. $50/70,000, pictured at right), which is the most complicated American watch known. Waltham Watch Company was the only American watch manufactory to produce a repeating watch, and the present lot is the only model to combine the functions of perpetual calendar, five-minute repeater, split second chronograph and moon phases.

Leading the Rolex offerings is the Comex Submariner, Rolex, Ref. 16610 (est. $80/120,000, pictured page 1). In the 1960s, Comex (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise), a pioneer in deep-sea off-shore diving, asked Rolex to create a watch that could withstand the high pressures of deep-water dives, which proved to be the genesis of a longstanding relationship between the two companies. The present lot – which has never been worn – was one of the last Comex models made, and is a rare appearance on the auction market as many are still with their original owners.

Also included in the Rolex offerings is a 'Monobloc' Chronograph, Rolex, Ref. 4048 with a rare black dial (est. $55/75,000, pictured at left). The watch comes from a dynamic period of change in Rolex aesthetics and is a rarity for the auction market as most examples appear with a silvered dial. This piece comes with its original bill of sale and Rolex certificate and was purchased by an American serviceman in 1946 who was stationed in Munich and bought the watch in the Swiss town of Lugano while on furlough.

The sale will also feature a strong selection of works by Breguet such as the Sympathique No. 2 (est. $200/300,000). The Sympathique is an exceedingly rare master timepiece conceived of by Breguet in the early 19th century to demonstrate the quality and ability of his craft and cement his reputation as the foremost innovative horologist of his time. The present example is one of the first of a limited edition of twenty that were produced and comprises a carriage clock which winds a watch that features a power reserve and tourbillon.

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