by Dana Li
It’s been an exciting week in NYC with all the amazing watches and buzz at the auction houses. This past weekend, I was able to visit Sotheby’s and view the pieces from their Important and Fine Watches auctions happening this month (special shout out to Richard Lopez at Sotheby’s for the wonderful afternoon and fun conversation!). From the insane complications to the beautiful gem-set watches, here are my 7 favorite pieces from the auction.
Probably one of my favorite pieces that will be offered in the Important Watches auction, this diamond-set Cartier Crash is an absolute stunner. Originally introduced in 1967, the Crash has become a highly desirable piece for collectors in recent years due to its unique asymmetric design. The diamonds shine brilliantly against the rose gold and the slightly curved case allows the watch to sit comfortably on a thinner wrist like mine. This Crash is the ultimate dazzling statement piece that showcases everything Cartier does best in both jewelry and watches.
When Richard showed me this gorgeous piece, I was absolutely in awe. This tantalum and rose gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Openwork Perpetual Calendar showcases the best of AP’s highly technical watchmaking and innovative design. By combining a sports watch with one of the most complex complications and crafting the watch in a bold combination of metals, Audemars Piguet really showcased their adventurous approach to watchmaking. Tantalum is also notoriously difficult to work with due to its hardness and has an incredibly high resistance to corrosion and wear, making this watch all the more impressive. As if this wasn’t enough of a statement piece already, this watch is also the first one produced in this particular configuration (numbered 1 on the case back).
If I had to use one word to describe this Vacheron Constantin skeletonized dress watch, it would be opulence. From the diamond-set bezel to the meticulously decorated movement, this yellow gold watch reminds me of the lavishly gilded halls in Versailles. At 34mm, this piece is the perfect size for almost any wrist and wears comfortably thanks to the incredibly thin movement and slim case.
The iconic Rolex Day-Date needs no introduction and may be one of the most instantly recognizable watches in the the world. While gem-set configurations are not necessarily uncommon, this vintage yellow gold Rainbow Day-Date is both rare and out of this world. This particular reference (ref. 18008) was one of the first Rainbow Day-Date configurations produced by Rolex in the late 1980s. Between the textured ruby and diamond string dial to the eye-catching gem-set gradient bezel, this watch may just be the Day-Date of my dreams.
Since Rolex first introduced the Rainbow Daytona in 2012, the colorful, sparkling watch has been consistently in high demand and revered by collectors. If the dazzling, prismatic, sapphire-set bezel and gorgeous rose gold diamond case weren’t enough for you, this watch also features an amazing pavé dial and gold meteorite sub-dials that take it to the next level. While I’m not necessarily one to gravitate towards gem-set pieces, this beautiful Rainbow Daytona has me heavily considering adding a gem-set watch to my collection.
If you’re looking for something fun and quirky, look no further than this Patek Philippe Ellipse pendant. The watch features a 18K white gold diamond-studded case, pristine lapis lazuli dial, and has similar proportions to the vintage Patek Ellipse wristwatches. This unique piece beautifully combines horology and jewelry to make a show-stopping addition to any collection.
Audemars Piguet has a tradition of experimenting with and pushing design boundaries to create amazingly bold watches and this openwork Royal Oak in rose gold is no exception. The juxtaposition of the delicate, complex movement against the sporty case and bracelet work together to create a worthy statement piece. At 37mm, this watch also wears well on just about any wrist. In addition, the rose gold case adds a warm contrast that brings out the details of the openwork movement.