Per­fect tim­ing

Clas­sic de­signs never go out of style, says Head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Depart­ment Thomas Per­azzi

Country Life Every Week - - Future Heirlooms -

WATCHES are typ­i­cally given for a grad­u­a­tion, wed­ding or other sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in life, so my sug­ges­tion would be for a buyer to veer to­wards some­thing with a likely sen­ti­men­tal mean­ing or value to the owner.

On the prac­ti­cal side, how­ever, there are some im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions to make when choos­ing a model. High-qual­ity move­ments have proven more than ca­pa­ble of last­ing for gen­er­a­tions: we reg­u­larly sell time­pieces in per­fect work­ing or­der dat­ing back even to the 1700s.

Next, opt for a sim­ple and time­less de­sign, which will be as ap­peal­ing in 100 years as it is to­day. Fi­nally, if one wants to keep an eye on col­lectabil­ity,

Si­mon Phillips, owner, Ron­ald Phillips An­tiques

‘My chil­dren are both young and haven’t shown a huge amount of in­ter­est in in­her­it­ing yet, but my son Ge­orge, who’s 14, has many times ex­pressed his wish to re­ceive my Patek Philippe watch. The com­pany’s say­ing ‘you never ac­tu­ally own a Patek Philippe, you merely look af­ter it for the next gen­er­a­tion’ is very true.’ look for a lim­ited edi­tion or a watch scarcely avail­able even if not prop­erly a lim­ited edi­tion.

Af­ter a cou­ple of decades of par­tic­u­larly bold stylis­tic trends —char­ac­terised by very elab­o­rate di­als and over­sized cases —the mar­ket to­day seems to be mov­ing to­ward a more re­strained phase. Di­als are get­ting sim­pler and cleaner and the av­er­age case di­am­e­ter is mov­ing down to 38mm–40mm from the pre­vi­ous 40mm–42mm. This is fur­ther con­firmed by the resur­gence in in­ter­est to­ward iconic, but very clean, his­tor­i­cal mod­els such as the orig­i­nal Patek Philippe Nau­tilus and Aude­mars Piguet Royal Oak.

Re­cent re­sults in Christie’s sale­rooms world­wide demon­strate that the brands cur­rently most in de­mand are those names we know: Patek Philippe, Rolex, Aude­mars Piguet and Vacheron Con­stantin. All of th­ese are his­tor­i­cal brands with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on qual­ity of their move­ments as well as el­e­gant, time­less de­signs, from the Cala­trava col­lec­tion of Patek Philippe to the more ‘sporty’, but equally iconic, Sub­mariner and Day­tona mod­els by Rolex.

£5,000 at auc­tion

At this price, you’ll be able to find an Omega Speed­mas­ter, an all-round, very ver­sa­tile time­piece at an ac­ces­si­ble price. An­other great clas­sic, ac­tu­ally cre­ated about 80 years ago and still con­sid­ered a mas­ter­piece of de­sign, is the time-only Rolex Oys­ter.

£5,000 to £20,000

Among the most iconic time­pieces ever de­signed, the Rolex Day­tona sits right in the mid­dle of this price bracket. The Cala­trava col­lec­tion by Patek Philippe is also avail­able at this price point and is con­sid­ered one of the most el­e­gant and ever­last­ing watch de­signs. Aude­mars Piguet also of­fers some ex­am­ples of the Royal Oak Col­lec­tion at this price and the his­tor­i­cal name of Breguet pro­poses the mod­ern ver­sion of its leg­endary Type XX wrist­watch as well.

£20,000 to £50,000

Patek Philippe, Aude­mars Piguet and Vacheron Con­stantin all have rep­re­sen­ta­tives in this cat­e­gory, with the Nau­tilus, Royal Oak—chrono­graphs and com­pli­cated pieces—and Over­seas col­lec­tions, con­sid­ered among the most el­e­gant sport watches ever de­signed.

£50,000 and above

In this price point, we en­ter the realms of renowned, highly com­pli­cated time­pieces such as the per­pet­ual-cal­en­dar chrono­graphs with moon phases ref­er­ence 5270 by Patek Philippe or the Pat­ri­mony Tra­di­tionelle ref­er­ence 47292 by Vacheron Con­stantin.

An­other view

The vin­tage Heuer wrist­watch, ref­er­ence 2446-3rd Ex, is a strik­ing piece, which Jack Heuer first brought out in 1966. Fa­mously, the For­mula 1 rac­ing driver Jochen Rindt wore this iconic model in the late 1960s; as a re­sult, ‘Heueris­tas’ now re­fer to this model as the Rindt. Per­haps only as few as 1,000 Rindts sur­vive to this day; five years ago, they could have been bought for £5,000, but, to­day, good ex­am­ples are be­ing traded for as much as £30,000.

Last year, Tag Heuer, which bought Heuer in 1985, launched an in­ter­net-watch-fo­rum com­pe­ti­tion to help de­cide which vin­tage Heuer it should re-cre­ate as its next ‘her­itage’ model. Some 20,000 col­lec­tors voted and the Rindt was the win­ner. Tag Heuer will launch this new ver­sion later this year at the Basel watch fair.

Per­son­ally, I would rec­om­mend the vin­tage 1960s Rindt as a fan­tas­tic heir­loom for the next gen­er­a­tion. It has a time­less de­sign, a won­der­ful rac­ing pedi­gree and, by com­par­i­son to Rolex, was only made in tiny num­bers.

Get it while you can, be­cause once the ‘her­itage copy’ comes out, the vin­tage Rindt will be hot to trot! Ben Wright (07814 757742; www.ben­wrightv­in­tage­

The sought-af­ter Rindt Vin­tage Heuer Au­tavia of about 1968

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