THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR A VINTAGE TIMEPIECE, SO TRY ONE OF THESE COLLECTION-WORTHY WOMEN’S WATCHES ON FOR SIZE
By Tai Sione
Heritage’s November 15 Watches & Fine Timepieces Signature® Auction features watches of immense historical significance, some belonging to men who have completed great feats of exploration. Does it get more epic than an Aquastar 60 that traveled to the deepest depths of the ocean – not once, but thrice? Maybe not. But even though men dominate the watch-collecting market, female watch collectors have been gaining ground in recent years. And let us not forget that the first wristwatches were worn almost exclusively by women. While some believe Patek Philippe created the first wristwatch in 1868, as a commission for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, others look to Breguet, which also claims to have invented the wristwatch with an 1810 commission for the Queen of Naples.
Either way, women and wristwatches go way back, and even though Heritage’s November 15 auction shines most of the spotlight on men’s timepieces, the sale also offers some superb examples for the ladies. Here are a few highlights:
Cartier has primarily produced jewelry for most of its existence, though its foray into the world of watches was met with immediate acclaim. The brand’s Tank model, most recognized for its rectangular shape, was introduced in 1917. Cartier went on to produce watches in several case shape configurations, one such example being the Baignoire. French for “bathtub,” the name refers to the case’s silhouette, which bears similarities to a traditional tub. This lot is a wonderful example of a Cartier Baignoire. Cased in 18k yellow gold, the watch features a stepped case and a luxurious gold bracelet. Offered with its original box and papers, the lot is a perfect “one-watch collection” for the budding collector.
Another fine lot is this Patek Philippe reference 4858j from the early 2000s. This lot is very finely preserved, likely having never seen a polishing wheel in its lifetime. It features a bezel set with princess-cut diamonds and features diamonds for hour markers as well as in the crown. With an added moonphase indication, it’s as complicated as it is luxurious and a rare example of Patek Philippe’s prowess in women’s offerings over the years.
Another Patek Philippe, this circa 1985 lady’s Nautilus is a sports model rather than complicated. Designed by renowned designer Gerald Genta in 1972, the Nautilus was Patek Philippe’s first commercially successful sports model. At 42 mm, the original “Jumbo” model was quite imposing, so the brand released a midsize and lady’s variant down the line. This example, reference 4700, is cased in steel and 18k yellow gold and features an ivory white dial, applied hour markers and luminous hands. With a quartz movement, its servicing schedule is far more infrequent and makes this watch a superb value proposition for a woman who needs a world-ready watch.
TAI SIONE is Consignment Director of Fine Watches & Timepieces at Heritage Auctions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.