Prestige Hong Kong - Tic Talk

The Datejust arguably is the most recognisab­le member of a rich family of notable timepieces

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Ours is a society that often glorifies debuts, with the latest fad barely in the spotlight before the next big thing comes along. The situation is no different in the world of watches, which rides on the mint appeal of up- and- coming technologi­es, new designs and innovative movements. But watch collectors can get just as excited about rare vintage pieces, and in recent years many such items have made headlines after fetching outrageous prices at auction.

“At auctions, especially reputable ones, one can explore extremely fine and rare museum- quality timepieces that are often well preserved and in great condition,” says Thomas Perazzi, head of watches at Phillips Asia. ” The sale room also boasts an exciting atmosphere, with bids pouring in from all over the world, simultaneo­usly on the telephone, in the room and online.”

SPECTACULA­R STARS

In the past 12 months especially, a steady slew of watches, from vintage to brand new, has secured jaw- dropping auction prices. Among this year’s biggest auction stars is the A Lange & Söhne 1815 Homage to Walter Lange, created especially for charity ( see page 36). Cased in stainless steel, an accessible material almost never used by the high horology brand, the mythical creation sold for a spectacula­r 852,500 Swiss francs ( about HK$ 6.6 million).

Of course, no discussion of recent vintage watch auctions would be complete without mention of the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman wristwatch from 1969 that sold for a whopping US$ 17.8 million at Sotheby’s sale of Important Watches in Geneva in 2017.

A staple for many watch aficionado­s, the classic Rolex Daytona is offered in an attractive combinatio­n of precious materials or stainless steel with an elegant two- tone dial. It is also packed with history, with newer models fitted with a reliable, in- house automatic chronograp­h movement that has evolved from the highly successful Zenith El Primero.

Coupled with the celebrity mystique surroundin­g it – Eric Clapton, Ellen Degeneres and Adam Levine are among the better- known Daytona wearers – the watch is something of a marketing CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: CAA LANGE & SÖHNE HOMAGE TO WALTER LANGE; ROLEX DAYTONA PAUL NEWMAN; THOMAS PERAZZI OF PHILLIPS ASIA

to revolution­ise the entire watch industry. Later the company emphasised that fact by circling the date window with its famous Cyclops magnifier.

The model has become an icon for the brand, and an enduring mainstay; indeed, it’s arguably the most recognisab­le member of a rich family of notable timepieces. And, as this year’s beguiling new editions demonstrat­e, it’s still full of innovation­s.

This year the Datejust 31 is updated with the calibre 2236. This newgenerat­ion, self- winding mechanical movement is entirely manufactur­ed in- house at Rolex, and features the Syloxi hairspring that Rolex brought to market in 2014, after many years of research. Made from silicon, this innovation has been confirmed in testing to be 10 times more precise than traditiona­l ferromagne­tic hairspring­s. The perpetual rotor and oyster case of the original Datejust remain, and offer a 55- hour power reserve and waterproof­ing to 10 bar, as well as a scratch- proof sapphire Cyclops lens that beautifull­y showcases the wristwatch’s most distinctiv­e feature.

The Datejust has been released in many iterations, large and small. This time around, the 31mm models sit sleek on the wrist, meeting the modern desire for more diminutive sizing, and are crafted from blocks of yellow gold, the pink- hued Everose gold and beguiling white gold. Each is set with 46 brilliant- cut IF diamonds on the bezel, selected by specialist­s at the Rolex atelier for their authentici­ty and clarity. Then, with a meticulous deftness of touch, a dedicated gem- setting team places each stone into its allocated position, one by one.

There’s also no compromise in terms of performanc­e, and from superlativ­e gems we move swiftly to a superlativ­e chronomete­r. Since the 1950s, Rolex has tested and certified its timepieces to its own high standards. The process was revised in 2015 and named the

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