Every year, French auction house Artcurial holds a series of summer sales in Monaco, comprising desirable items from vintage Hermès handbags to fine jewellery and watches. This year, to mark the 11th edition of the sales, the house has invited jewellery designer Elie Top to survey the lots and choose his standout pieces.
The creative director of Lanvin Bijoux, who has also launched a fine jewellery line under his own name, has also illustrated the auction catalogue with a series of ink and pastel illustrations of models wearing some of the pieces. This was particularly meaningful for the designer as he is a collector of auction catalogues, finding them a valuable source of inspiration. “With catalogues, one always discovers delights and it is a good way of forming one’s taste. I have fun testing myself and guessing the jewellery designers behind the creations,” he says.
Here, Top casts his eye over the Fine Watches sale to pick out the highlights. “The world of watches is one that I have never explored as a designer and it was a real pleasure to discover so much creativity, precision and fine mechanisms,” he says.
Most interesting provenance
Lot 398: Rolex Eagle Al Makhtoum Daytona, c1973. This is an iconic model, the most popular of all chronographs ever made by Rolex with national emblem of United Arab Emirates, the so-called Golden Hawk or, by Rolex collectors, Eagle. Furthermore, it also has the signature of the royal family Al Makhtoum. Definitely the most interesting provenance with an iconic brand and model. Estimate €120,000 - €180,000
The top lot is an exceptional stainless steel chronograph Rolex worn by James Bond actor George Lazenby in the sixth spy film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). The Pre-Daytona ref. 6238 (Lot 400) was ordered from the Swiss jewellers Bucherer by the production company Eon Productions in 1968. It can be distinguished by its unique red chronograph hand, which was changed at the request of the producers. The ultimate must-have for a collector of vintage timepieces. Price on application
Most unusual item
A rare and elegant ladies’ wristwatch set with sapphires and diamonds by Vacheron Constantin (Lot 333). This watch perfectly embodies the combination of skills in watchmaking tradition: elaborate decoration and quality craftsmanship. Where Haute Joaillerie meets Horlogerie. Estimate €20,000 - €30,000
The dark horse
One of the most interesting examples, which may excite watch collectors, is a rectangular Piaget wristwatch in 18-carat yellow gold with a tiger’s eye dial from the 1970s (Lot 91). Featuring the first Swissmade quartz beta movement, it is a fine example of where Swiss tradition meets innovation. Estimate €4,000 - €6,000
My favourite piece is a stunning 18-carat yellow gold manual winding wristwatch with a blue dial and Patek Philippe's Calatrava cross (Lot 215). Patek Philippe is the Holy Grail for all watch collectors and this is a faultless example. It features a classical design and elegant dial, as well as one of the finest calibres manufactured by Patek Philippe. The gold bracelet is also of the highest quality finish. Estimate €5,000 - €8,000
Source: telegraph.co.uk Author: Sarah Royce-Greensill