Antiquorum Auction: The Gentleman’s Choices

On May 10th Antiquorum is holding its premium online auction, with watches located in Hong Kong. With 453 lots, the auctioneers have a busy roster and offer a wide variety of different watches as well as a small selection of women’s jewelry. One of the things I like so much about auctions like this is the diversity of watches, not only in make and style but also in price ranges. There are complicated rarities with estimates close to a quarter of a million, but also plenty of more everyday pieces, with far more affordable prices. For men with a more refined taste, there is also plenty to choose from, and the following watches caught especially our eye:

Lot 1; Breguet
With a diameter of 33.8mm is this Breguet, a true representative of classic style. While the brand usually tempts us with their guilloche dials does this one grab our attention with something completely different; a black central section of the dial. It gives a bold contrast with the rest of the dial, which is, just like the case, made from yellow gold. A black cabochon, which I presume is onyx, gives a finishing touch. Remarkable is also that it is not fitted with a customary alligator strap, but with black calfskin. It provides a bit of understatement, and probably belonged to a gentleman who knew that when you dress to impress, it is all about how the details come together, and not their individual prices.

Lot 65; Chopard
This auction also offers plenty of Chopard‘s to choose from. We love the Tonneau Gangreserve, which is offered as ‘New Old Stock.’ This is such a pity as this is a watch that deserves to be worn. It is from a time when Chopard was still scaling up the production of their own calibers, and that’s why we find a Frederic Piguet caliber 9644 in this watch. In terms of style is a tonneau always stunning on the wrist, especially when its size remains on the modest side as is the case with this Chopard. The asymmetrical dial gives it a touch of rebellion, like a gentleman who doesn’t fold his newspaper but rolls it up when carrying.

Lot 164; Moser
May we call this Moser Mayu a tribute to yellow gold? It looks stunning with its larger diameter of 39mm and classic dial layout with prominent ‘six-eater.’ It is one of those watches that seem to get all the details just right and also proof of the incredible power of a relatively simple-looking watch with an outstanding movement. Make no mistake, this watch will not go unnoticed when on the wrist, yet will still remain a beacon of refined taste.

Lot 170; Pierre Kunz
This Pierre Kunz, a brand that once belonged to Franck Muller’s Watchland empire yet now unfortunately not active anymore, is a bit more extrovert than the Moser. This is not only due to its square case, but also its regulator style dial, with three retrograde hands. Two of them are devoted to showing the seconds, moving in opposite directions of each other, which creates a constant and rather uncommon motion on the dial. They offer a dynamic and playfulness that is confined by its classical composition of a rose gold case and brown alligator strap. The watch measure 38mm by 38mm, this seems to be modest, but remember that it is a square case, so it wears much larger than a round case with the same diameter would do.

Lot 188; F.P. Journe
A moon phase remains a charming complication, although it has little to no practical use. The way that Journe serves it up in its Octa Automatique Lune makes for a very tempting proposition. Large date, sub-seconds, automatic winding and a very generous power reserve of 120-hours add to the equation as well. The movement itself is crafted from 18 karat gold, its osscilating weigh is made out of 22 karat gold, which makes this watch precious, inside and out. It is very well proportioned, with a case measuring 40mm in diameter. It wears slightly smaller on the wrist, due to the size of the bezel and the complications displayed on the dial. The asymmetrical layout is also well-executed, and looks balanced, despite its complications being a bit heavy on the left side.

Lot 191; Cartier
This Baignoire Allongée is part of a limited edition of 400 pieces from 1991. Antiquorum names it an ‘oversized ladies watch,’ yet Troisanneaux readers know that we consider it a superb gentleman’s watch. The Baignoire Allongée has an incredible presence, which follows the curve of the wrist. It might be slightly more conventional than the Crash, yet that makes it perhaps also much more wearable. The Baignoire Allongée is still not as recognized by collectors as some of its siblings, making the prices a bit more pleasant. With this limited edition from 1991 the future owner benefits from the best of both worlds: a historic design of more modern make.

Lot 192; Cartier
Does the Crash need an introduction anymore on Troisannaux? Probably not. The one that Antiquorum has up for auction here is also from 1991 and part of a limited edition of 400 watches. It is crafted from yellow gold, and Antiquorum calls it a ladies watch. While the watch is indeed not that large, I would call it unisex. For men with a larger wrist is the Crash indeed not the best choice. They are probably better off with lot 343, a Tank Automatique. Those of us blessed with smaller ones will find that this Cartier compensates for its size by an extra dose of charisma. That, and the fact that it is an instant conversation starter, is what made the Crash such a unique watch, even within the collection of Cartier.

Lot 277; Patek Philippe
The auction offers many stunning Patek Philippe’s that are the perfect choice for a gentleman, yet lot 277 is something special. Reference 5975 J-001 is a chronograph without a minute and hour counter, and has this complication solely dedicated to the three scales; tachymeter, telemeter, and pulsometer. This makes it wonderfully purposeful, and despite that it results in a very busy dial, does it also have a sense of order. It is 40mm in diameter and has charming details, such as the double-stepped lugs, which gives it a touch of Art Deco. It was launched for Patek’s 175th anniversary in 2014 and available in four varieties for men and one for women. Our favorite is this one, in yellow gold, with the white gold edition as a close second. The much warmer toned pink gold version has a sense of flashiness over it, which makes us prefer the other two, while the platinum version features a black dial, which takes away part of the vintage charm that this watch is supposed to have.

Lot 295; Daniel Roth
There are many tourbillons on the market, but this Daniel Roth is a personal favorite. The way that he incorporated the complication into its design, and indicates the seconds by three dials of different sizes, is just stunning. The fact that it shows the date and power reserve on the back of the watch can I only consider as the cherry on top. I am also surprised that this brand has not been more widely embraced by collectors and connoisseurs, as the style of Roth is especially with models like the ‘Regulateur Tourbillon’ very pure, powerful, and elegant. The shape of the case has also proved its timeless qualities and sits so nicely on the wrist. I can only hope that Bvlgari, the current owner of Daniel Roth, sees this potential as well and revives this sleeping beauty, as they are doing with Gerald Genta. However, given the current economic downturn as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I presume that the time is not right for this yet.

Lot 343; Cartier
A ‘Tank Automatique’ is one of the delights mostly only appreciated by true Cartier connoisseurs. It offers the classic style of a Louis Cartier Tank in a slightly larger package with an automatic movement. In order to facilitate the caliber, the watch has been given a slight ‘bubble back.’ Perhaps not the most elegant looking solution in a rectangular watch, but it beats making the case as a whole thicker. Nowadays, it is a quirky part of the charm of this model, which has, by the way, no impact on the wearing comfort, which is superb. This particular version is fitted with a black calfskin strap, for which we like to make a case; it really amplifies the historic look of the watch, making it look even cleaner, and therefore also surprisingly contemporary, or should I say timeless?

Session 1: Lots 1 – 155 at May 10th :
5:00 p.m. Hong Kong
11:00 a.m. Geneva
5:00 a.m. New York

Session 1: Lots 156 – 453 at May 10th :
8:00 p.m. Hong Kong
2:00 p.m. Geneva
8:00 a.m. New York

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