Antiquorum is hosting a live auction in Monaco on July 16, with online bidding taking place beforehand. There are 342 lots, mostly wristwatches. There are vintage and modern timepieces at every price point, so let’s dig in.
Glashutte watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Double Split in 2004 as the worldʼs first mechanical chronograph with a double-rattrapante function. Keep in mind, this was 2004: Vacheron, Patek, and those other Swiss brands had been resting on their laurels and raclette for the past 100 years didn’t even have an in-house chronograph movement (Lange introduced its own a few years prior to this), let alone a double split.
The Reference 404.032 Double Split has two sweeping seconds hands that allow for the timing of events simultaneously. But unlike other rattrapantes, the Double Split has minute hands for each of these hands, which allows for comparative time measurements of events lasting up to 30 minutes. What’s more, all four hands are actually fly-back hands. AND! AND! The minute counters for the chronograph function make instantaneous jumps — no gradual creeping here. It’s just glorious to watch that minute hand jump forward when the seconds chronograph hand comes around to 12.
The thing is big, measuring 43mm and 15.3mm high, with that striking white metal and black dial look the Datograph has perfected so well. It’s often compared to the Patek 5370P, and while the two share similar aesthetics, the Double Split is on another level technically.
The Double Split is only available new in gold from A. Lange now, so if you want it in platinum you’ll have to pick it up at auction or elsewhere.
GaryG wrote a great review of his Double Split awhile back and it’s worth reading about his personal experience with one for a real first-hand account. While A. Lange has moved on, introducing the Triple Split in 2018, the Double Split was, and remains, a marvel of modern watchmaking. Quiet simply, no one is making modern chronographs like A. Lange.
Imagine if Patek Phillipe came out with the Double Split instead: it’d cost half a million dollars, John Mayer would be talking about how its movement is a wonderland, and Beyonce would’ve bought one for Jay-Z.
If the Datograph is more your cup of chronograph, there’s also a platinum one of those up for auction.
Lot 89 estimate: $55,000 to $90,000
This is a stainless steel Reference 2508 chronograph from Rolex, doublesigned by Boucher just above the hands. Inside is the manually wound Valjoux 22, a movement that was produced beginning way back in 1914; this particular Rolex dates to 1940. The dial is in crisp condition with beautiful gilt markings and text throughout the busy dial. The busy snail-like dial is actually a more rare variation of the Ref. 2508; you’ll see other examples of this reference with no such markings, and a much cleaner dial with little more than the two sub-registers. To finish it off, the chronograph comes on an interesting Gay Frères extensible bracelet.
Lot 102 estimate: $45,000 to $68,000
In many ways, this watch is the crown jewel of the auction. It’s a Bond watch, but not the ones we typically hear about. Actor George Lazenby played Bond for just one filt, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The movie takes from Ian Fleming’s words in his novel In the Service of His Majesty:
“Bond surveyed his weapons. They were only his hands and his feet, his Gillette razor and his wristwatch, a heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on an expanding metal bracelet.”
Taking from this passage, the movie producers commissioned this watch for Lazenby’s role as Bond. As the story goes, the red needle was a special request, meaning this is the only Reference 6238 with a red chronograph hand.
The watch was eventually acquired by the movie’s accountant after shooting, and then popped up at auction at Christie’s in 2003. It went for GBP $22,912. In other words, this watch has gone up in value more than 10x in the past 15 years. It’s a confluence of a few things, I suppose: (1) People are fucking crazy, (2) the vintage Rolex market is bananas, (3) specifically, the Daytona market is ridiculous, (4) people love watches with celebrity provenance, and (5) people are fucking crazy. The watch was also up for auction in 2016, though no estimate was given and it was never sold. You can trace the watch’s provenance all the way back to its origin; it comes with the original sales invoice from Bucherer
As for the particulars of the Reference 6238, you might already know them: produced from 1960 to 1967, Oyster case, Valjoux 722 movement (this one has the 722, while the 72 equipped the first series of Ref. 6238s, until 1964-65). It’s hard to put a price on a unique Daytona with a storied provenance, so this one could go for anything.
Lot 103 estimate: $335,000 to $560,000
Tudor Submariner References 79090, 94110, and 9411
I usually track the sale of Tudor Submariners at auctions, if only because I want one. There are four up for auction at Antiquorum, including a Reference 73090 Mini-Sub:
Lot 290 Reference 79090 Submariner, estimate $6,700 to $9,000
Lot 291 Reference 94110 Submariner, estimate $10,000 to $13,500
Lot 325 Reference 9411/0 Submariner, estimate $6,800 to $9,000
Let’s take just a look at the Reference 9411, the oldest of the bunch. Tudor first introduced its distinctive Snowflake hands in the 9160s with the release of the Reference 7016 and 7021 Submariners. A decade later, it release the next generation of Submariners, Reference 9401/0, powered by a new ETA calibre 2776, and Reference 9411/0 (with its ETA calibre 2784), the date version of this watch.
Tudor offered the Ref. 9411/0 in four dial/bezel combinations: blue or black with “snowflakes” hands and hour markers, as well as blue or black with characteristic Submariner (Mercedes) hands and triangular and round hour markers. The example pictured here features snowflake hands, and a blue dial, and the case looks very sharp. The most desirable part of the blue dial is the fading or “ghosting” they’ve begun to take on over the years, as this example has. This particular example dates to 1978, near the end of the Reference 9411/0’s run. It would be replaced by the Reference 94110 by the end of the decade, of which Lot 291 is a nice example. Finally, Tudor introduced the 79000 series of the Submariner in 1989, making the the Reference 79090 from Lot 290 one of the most modern Tudor Submariners you’ll find.
To illustrate the relative sharpness of the case, take a look at a Tudor Submariner Reference 9411/0 sold by Hodinkee, compared next to the example being offered by Antiquorum (Hodinkee held their example out as polished, so I am in no way picking on them — this is meant to be illustrative):
Now, the watch Antiquorum has been using as the “cover watch” for this auction’s catalog, the Patek Phillipe Reference 130 Chronograph. Patek Phillipe began making limited run and unique chronographs in the 1920s, as demand for the complication started to grow, mostly powered by a Victorin Piguet ébauche, but by the 1930s it was clear that a serially produced model was necessary to satisfy demand.
So, in 1934, Patek released its first serially produced Patek Philippe chronograph, the Reference 130. It is powered by a heavily modified Valjoux caliber. 13-130, as the 13 lignes movement was to be housed in the reference 130 case. The model was extremely successful and remained in production at least until 1964, and albeit it was manufactured for close to 30 years, the output is very limited, totaling about 1500 pieces. It was serially produced in yellow gold, pink gold and stainless steel. Steel is the rarest, with speculation that about 146 examples in steel exist.
You’ll see the Reference 130 in various iterations and styles; for example, this stainless steel Mono-Pusher version sold for $5 million back in 2015.
The provenance of this example is legit, coming from descendants of the original owner, one Dr. Lucien Jacoberger, to whom it was gifted after the dude saved the life of some Count’s daughter. Dr. Jacoberger had a long career as a surgeon, both as a civilian and in the military due to his involvement with the French Forces of the Interior, a French resistance organization during World War II.
This particular example is a manual winding chronograph in an Art Deco style, dating back to 1938. It’s got a two-tone patinated silver pulsometric sector dial, snap-on case back, 18k yellow gold. Case back engraved in taille-douce (fine cut) with the cypher “L. J.”, of Lucien Jacoberger (1903-1981).
Lot 342 estimate: $90,000 to $135,000
Sure, that Reference 130 in gold is nice, but after I told you there’s only 146 examples of the reference in steel, you probably thought: “wtf why is this dude showing me a gold version then?” Fear not, because Antiquorum’s got a steel Reference 130 chronograph up for auction as well. Now that we know the specs of the Reference 130, we can appreciate the particulars of this example. The case is polished but sharp, the hands original, and this example dates to 1941. It was sent into Patek for service in 2010, at which time the dial was “refreshed”.
Because of Patek’s status as a high-end watch brand, it rarely made watches in stainless steel; thus only 146 examples of this reference are thought to have been produced. This example, with the steel case and gold hands and markers, strikes a nice balance between sporty and elegance.
Interestingly, the properties of gold and steel are so different that Patek used different case suppliers for each metal: Vichet for gold cases and Wenger for steel case. Because of this, you might even notice slight differences in the case shapes of this stainless steel Reference 130 and the gold version above: the steel one has more sharply pointed lug ends and a more tonneau-shaped case.
Beyond the stainless steel case, the present watch also features an appealing and desirable dial. While the Reference 130 comes in a number of dial variations: Arabic numerals, to Roman numerals, to Breguet numerals, passing by baton indexes (short or long), black dials, sector dials, this example features Roman numerals at 12 and 6. and oversized applied baton indexes for the remaining hours. This is thought to be the most difficult layout to come by, with just 9 other known examples in steel. Just last year, Phllips auctioned off a somewhat similar example for CHF 112,500.
Lot 340 estimate: $170,000 to $280,000
There are very few examples of the Rolex Padellone Reference 8171 out there. Made from 1949 to 1952, the Reference 8171 (snap-on case back) and its cousin, the Reference 6062 (screw-down Oyster case) are the only two vintage Rolex models to feature a moonphase. The 8171 was insane for its day, measuring 38mm. You can see the case of this example is worn but maintains its original angles; the dial is similarly weathered, but original. A number of dial types can be found on the Reference 8171; this particular example has a blue outer date track, no lume plots, and a nice ivory tone underneath the simple leaf hands.
A similar example sold at Phillips for CHF 212,500 in 2017.
Lot 339 estimate: $145,000 to $200,000
If stainless steel isn’t your style, there’s also a yellow gold Padellone Reference 8171 up for sale (estimate $90,000 to $135,000)