Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

The spring auction season is officially here! I’ll be headed out to Geneva in a little over a week to bring you live coverage of the auctions at Phillips, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s, but before the spotlight shines over to Switzerland and Royal Oak mania (here and here), it’s worth poking our lens over to Hong Kong, where this coming Monday (April 25) Sotheby’s will be auctioning off one of the more impressive single-collector sales of vintage luxury US Patek Philippe replica watches in recent memory.

Billed as the “Nevadian Collector,” the sale consists of 40 total wristwatches and pocket watches – all but two lots are Patek Philippe – and the level of historical significance is incredible. All the high quality fake watches in the sale were acquired over the past 30 years by a mysterious, nameless individual of American origin. This comprehensive yet compact collection consists of a huge variety of important Patek Philippe timepieces, from a trio of Gay Freres-signed Patek Philippe bracelets (yes, sans watches) to the first example of a “pink-on-pink” perpetual calendar chronograph ref. 1518 to come to market since Sotheby’s New York sold a particularly stunning example for a record-breaking figure of $9,570,900 last December. That’s not all – we’ve got 2499s out the wazoo, three of the nicest 2526s you’ll ever see, and a whole host of other off-the-wall examples: 530s, 1463s, 3448s, all sorts of stuff you’ll rarely, if ever, come across.

Our colleagues were able to attend a recent preview of the “Nevadian Collector” sale and photographed a few highlights, which I’ll dig into below. Let’s get into it.

A Pair Of Jaw-Dropping Second-Series 2499 Examples

It’s not every day that a single auction is host to four different examples of the absolutely legendary cheap replica Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499 watches, but the Nevadian Collector is just that kind of sale. A fourth-series example, a third-series example, and two particularly noteworthy second-series watches will all be up for grabs come Monday. It’s the latter two I want to spotlight here.

The second-series ref. 2499 is, of course, distinguished by round pump-style chronograph pushers (compared to square on the first-series examples), plus the option for either applied baton hour markers or Arabic numerals, and the consistent presence of a tachymeter scale. The most common example of the second-series 2499 is in yellow gold, but as you’ll see below, pink/rose gold examples are rare and highly desirable. (For a full breakdown on the differences between all four series, click out Ben’s 2014 Reference Points deep dive on “the entire lineage of Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronographs.”)

First, let’s look at lot 2018, a pink-gold example with a Gobbi Milano retailer signature from 1957 that was once the world-record holder for most expensive 2499 at auction, after it sold at Christie’s Geneva in May 2007, for CHF 2,736,000. Of the nine total second-series examples in pink gold that are known to exist, this is the only AAA copy watches that’s double signed with the original retailer’s name. (There are other Gobbi-signed 2499s – just check out this third-series reference that sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in May 2015 – just not second-series examples in pink gold.) Second-series + pink gold is more than enough to make eyes water (just ask Jean-Claude Biver), but the Gobbi Milano signature? It’s enough to make you go gaga.

Sotheby’s has the current estimate on lot 2018 set for between 24,000,000 – 48,000,000 HKD, or approximately $3,059,496 – $6,118,991 USD.

Next, we have lot 2021, a yellow-gold specimen of the second-series 2499, but – naturally – it’s not just any old example. Yes, this is the only known second-series 2499 to feature a luminous dial. It was last sold 22 years ago at Sotheby’s New York in October 2000, where it was consigned from the family of the original owner and sold to the Nevadian Collector, who has owned the best replica watches ever since. Whoever ends up with the watch on Monday will be just its third owner, ever.

What’s particularly interesting about luminous 2499s is just how few there are. The reference was in production from 1951 to 1985 – over 30 years, with 349 known top fake watches across all four series – and only five luminous examples are known, in total: one first-series example, one second-series example (the Nevadian model we’re talking about), two third-series examples, and a single transitional model. That’s insane when you stop and think about it.

Lot 2021 carries an estimate of 6,400,000 – 12,500,000 HKD, or approximately $815,865 – $1,593,487 USD.

Another Positively Crazy “Pink-On-Pink” Ref. 1518

It wasn’t that long ago that we brought you news of a different “pink-on-pink” 1518 at Sotheby’s. Less than six months ago, in December 2021, Sotheby’s New York auctioned off a watch that collector Eric Ku told me was the “the best Patek Philippe ever” and that Patek specialist John Reardon described as “the Holy Grail that deserves the definition.” That 1518 ended up selling for an awe-inspiring $9,570,900, becoming the fifth most expensive watch at auction ever, the most expensive watch at auction in 2021, a world auction record for a wristwatch sold at Sotheby’s, and the third highest price ever achieved for any vintage wristwatch sold at auction after Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona and the famous stainless-steel 1815.

So what’s the deal with this example? Well, lot 2008 in Monday’s sale is one of the 14 known “pink-on-pink” 1518 wristwatches, which means a pink gold case matched with a pink-hued dial color. The 1518 was the historical predecessor to the 2499; it was the world’s first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch. The reference was in production for a little over a decade, but only 281 examples are known, with the majority in yellow-gold cases. Only 58 examples are believed to have been produced in pink gold, with only 14 of those 58 replica watches wholesale believed to feature a matching colored dial tone, compared to the more conventional shade of silver.

Ironically, this specific example previously came to market in 2008, at Christie’s Geneva, where it sold for CHF 843,000. Fourteen years later, the watch now carries an estimate of 8,000,000 – 16,000,000 HKD, or $1,019,832 – $2,039,664 USD.

The Pink-Gold Ref. 530 That Is One Of 15

As Ben highlighted all the way back in 2016, the Patek Philippe ref. 530 is considered “the rarest production reference of chronograph” from the entire history of the Swiss company. It’s more-or-less an upsized version of the OG ref. 130 and it’s understood that it was offered exclusively to Patek’s VIP collectors who desired a larger chronograph to wear.

The catalog notes for the upcoming lot 2035 indicate that “just over 100 pieces were made in yellow gold, pink gold, and stainless steel,” between 1937 and 1962. The super clone watches online site up for sale at Sotheby’s on Monday dates to 1951 and is one of a total of 15 pink-gold 530s known to exist.

The current watch was first sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in May 1999 by the family of the original owner to the Nevadian Collector, who had the dial restored by Patek Philippe after he took ownership of the watch. While not quite as rare as the stainless steel, Astrua Torino-signed example that Ben highlighted six years ago, Monday’s pink-gold ref. 530 carries an estimate of 1,600,000 – 2,400,000 HKD, or $203,966 – $305,950.

One Of The Best Ref. 1463 Examples You’ll Ever See

The Patek Philippe ref. 1463 was the company’s first waterproof chronograph, and in all honesty, I think it’s fair to call it Swiss movements replica Patek Philippe’s first “sport”-adjacent watches. It had an impactful profile on the wrist, measuring 35mm × 14mm, and utilized a screw-down caseback rather than the more conventional snap-back design. The chronograph was introduced in the early 1940s and remained in Patek’s catalog until approximately 1965 – yet only 750 or so examples were produced during the 1463’s lifespan. (Even harder to believe is that Patek didn’t replace the 1463 with another waterproof chronograph until the 5070 was released, in 1998.)

It’s also fair to say that the 1463 has attracted a lot of fans over the years. Carroll Shelby owned one. As did Briggs Cunningham, and a gentleman by the name of Eric Clapton. Jason Singer even featured his personal 1463 in Talking Watches, in 2015. The example that Sotheby’s has up for bid in Hong Kong is made of yellow-gold, with a non-lume dial featuring applied markers, and a production date of 1962. A yellow-gold 1463 is, in itself, not outrageously rare – they come up to auction on at least a semi-frequent basis – but the one owned by the Nevadian Collector is, from what I can tell, in downright incredible condition. Just take a look for yourself.

It has an estimate of 2,000,000 – 2,800,000 HKD, or approximately $254,958 – $356,941 USD.

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