Back in 2014, Patek Philippe announced the Chronograph Annual Calendar 5960 watch would be newly available in steel, in a move which is reasonable to get a brand that wants to appeal to a younger customer base in an already self-selective buyer’s market. Not especially for pricing issues, but valuable metals make it pretty much impossible for a watch to sense “sporty” in any way, let alone such a complicated watch like the 5960. The outcome is that the natural progression of what the new meant with their urge to catch a younger market, and in my estimation it is an aesthetic enhancement and refinement.The first 5960, released in 2006 has been the first in-house chronograph produced by Patek so it’s not surprising that the manufacturer would want to be certain that they get these steel iterations just right in it pleases collectors, fans, and of course, aspirational watch fans. The opaline/silver dial with red and black touches was a victory but I don’t think I’m alone in preferring the newer black dial watch. Sporty, contemporary, and carrying an undoubtedly impressive motion, Patek has made a lust worthy piece for those folks who respect heritage without being burdened by the weight of dusty and unchanging style.The 40.5mm wide and 13.5mm thick polished stainless steel case houses the profound ebony black opaline dial that’s fortunately legible in addition to attractive. The applied white gold hour markers, red seconds and chronograph hands, and white aspects of the monocounter in 6 o’clock maintain the dial from being overwhelming considering how much is happening with the Patek Philippe 5960/1A.
The star of the first day of the spring Geneva watch auction season was undoubtedly the Rolex ref. 6062 “Bao Dai”, owned by the last Emperor of Vietnam and now worth a mega US$5m.
But the second day’s highlight is a far more monumental watch, the 33-complication, double-faced Patek Philippe Watch Exhibition Replica Calibre 89 in yellow gold, which just went unsold.
The saleroom in Geneva’s Mandarin Oriental was stacked with prominent personalities including collector Claude Sfeir, Antiquorum founder Osvaldo Patrizzi, Singapore retailer Michael Tay, as well as Christie’s watch department head John Reardon.
Opening the bidding at SFr5.9m, the auxtioneer nudged the price upwards in SFr50,000 increments. But after several pregnant and the auctioneer’s valiant efforts while raising the price to SFr6.45m – the low estimate was SFr6.5m – the Calibre 89 passed.
The lack of interest is an ignominious result for a historically important timepiece, one that was the most complicated ever when it made its debut in 1989 for Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary.
Sotheby’s placed an estimate of SFr6.5m to SFr10m, with the result confirming the pre-sale scepticism amongst insiders, since this Calibre 89 was shopped around for some time last year, with Christie’s offering it via private sale for over US$10m. The fact that it has gone through several hands, perhaps being the most sold Calibre 89, also had an impact on its allure.
Now there will undoubtedly be offers made privately, and perhaps the watch will still disappear into a collection somewhere.