Typically, one thinks of an heirloom only after it’s weathered a few generations of handsome patina acquisition. But originally—before that watch, or briefcase, or sword earned its perfectly imperfect nicks, battle scars and lived-in familiarity—it started out shiny and new on some store shelf. And since there are still companies out there making stuff that will last longer than you will, we’ve set out to find the new breed of future heirlooms in this weeklong series. Today we begin with watches…
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the best watch deals all come from auction houses. So we were thrilled to see a new batch coming to Rockefeller Center later this month. Our favorites so far are this square Patek Philippe (circa 1929), a Longines military watch made just after the close of WWII and this 1965 Rolex GMT-Master. You’ve got two weeks to raise the funds.
As anyone with a serious vintage watch habit can testify, the really good stuff is all at auction. The latest example is a Christie’s auction coming up this Monday in Geneva, featuring three of our favorite post-Submariner watches for some extremely friendly prices. (Don’t worry, you can bid remotely.) There’s the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, the Cartier Tank and an unusually art deco Patek Phillipe.
That last one also comes in a million-dollar version, if you want to do your part for the Eurozone.
We’ll be the first to admit, the pocket watch revival we’ve been working on isn’t quite here yet. But it could happen at any moment. And when it does, we’d like to be prepared.
So naturally, when we saw there was a century-old Patek Philippe pocket watch coming up for auction next week, we couldn’t resist. It comes from Antiquorum, one of Hong Kong’s better auction houses, and if the estimate is to be believed, you could walk away with it for a paltry $128,000. Compared to some of the Submariner collections you’ll see on Tumblr, that’s a bargain.
Now all we need is a watch fob, a three-piece suit and (if possible) a monocle.
If there’s one thing that our vintage watch travails have impressed upon us, it’s this: The big names are big for a reason. Patek Phillipe is a prime example, especially their Perpetual Calendar.
They’ve spent the better part of a century perfecting it—and making a few different versions—but most pieces have the usual configuration: day and month at noon, moon phase and date at six. Usually. Today we stumbled upon one just a little different, but in a good way, known simply as Ref.5050.
Among the tidbits offered is a fact in favor of Mme. Bruni’s fashion sense: she convinced Sarko to swap his nouveau riche gold watch in favor of a sleeker Patek Phillip model.
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