Christie’s to auction rare watches (With Images)

April 29th, 2009 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) A collection of 12 rare watches will go under the hammer at one of Asia’s biggest sale of designer time-pieces by global auction house Christie’s in Hong Kong May 27. The horological auction is expected to draw a sizeable number of Indian collectors.
In addition to collectors’ watches from manufacturing giants, the auction will also present a selection of haute watches from independent watchmakers - for the first time in Asia, according to a press statement issued by Christie’s Tuesday.

The highlight of the auction will be two rare watches by independent watchmakers. The Urwerk 201 Black Shark model, estimated at $130,000-230,000, is the result of three years of research, experimentation, prototyping and testing by a small team in Geneva.

Watchmaker Felix Baumgartner and artist Martin Frie first met in 1995 to discuss a watch that they wanted to make. Along with Thomas Baumgartner they founded Urwerk in 1997 and presented their first timepiece with the Academie Horlogere Des Createurs Independants (AHCI), a platform of independent watchmakers, at the Basle art fair in 1997.

Urwerk has a cult following among collectors devoted to the brand’s extremely limited run of one-of-a-kind watches that are ingenious. Time on the UR-201 is displayed using telescopic minute hands operating through the middle of three orbiting and revolving hour satellites.

Watchmakers Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have been working for nearly 20 years in a relationship founded on their shared technical creativity to make high-end Swiss tourbillon watches - a traditional model which has been improvised by independent watchmakers to technical precision.

In 1999, the duo began working on a new generation of tourbillon watches, specifically designed to improve timekeeping. Four years later, they unveiled the Double tourbillon 30 degrees, a timepiece that does away with gravity-related errors and shows precise time. The timepiece which will be on sale at Christie’s is estimated at $200,000-260,000, the statement said.

The tourbillon device has an escape wheel, lever and balance wheel mounted on a carriage made of a lightweight material, usually titanium.

The auction will also feature several rare Patek Phillipe watches, Rolex sports watches, a Malte Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater from Vacheron Constantin, a Circus Minute Repeater, an automated timekeeper from Ulysse Nardin and a rare Baignoire Allongee by Cartier.

Christie’s expects both Indian and non-resident Indian (NRI) collectors to be keen on acquiring some of the rare watches.

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