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Auction Report Christie's Brings The Loot At May's Geneva Rare Watches Auction

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Those keeping a watchful eye on my byline (and perhaps my Instagram) will know that I have become somewhat obsessed with the sheer fun and bravado of gold watches, especially those in yellow gold and of the vintage persuasion. While my chances of ownership could be represented by a number rapidly approaching zero (there are so many cameras I'm yet to own), when given the chance to preview some of the highlight lots for Christie's upcoming Geneva Rare Watches Auction, you know I couldn't help but put together a list of my favorite gold options. From pocket watches given new life to two-tone numbers with pop provenance and some solid gold from the Crown, these are just a few picks from an impressive offering slated to hit the block later this month. 

Rolex Oyster Chronograph Ref. 3525 – Once Part Of The Andy Warhol Collection

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Dating back to 1943, this lovely 35mm steel chronograph has a two-tone treatment in pink gold for the crown, bezel, center links, and the side elements of its riveted stretch bracelet. Originally owned by pop art icon Andy Warhol, this ref. 3525 is a gorgeous example of an incredibly collectible pre-Daytona chronograph with a lovely silver-tone dial and rose gold accents. Pre-auction estimates put this piece of chronographic art at a cool $195,000- $300,000. 

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Vacheron Constantin Five Minute Repeating Single Button Chronograph (That Used To Be A Pocket Watch!)

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Two lifetimes of history cased in 37.5mm of 18k yellow gold, this gorgeous Vacheron has a heart that dates back to 1899, when the movement was originally installed in a pocket watch. Fast forward to 1956 when Vacheron re-cased the same movement in a period dress watch with a lovely two-tone dial (with a salmon center, no less). Undeniably special, the movement in question is Vacheron Constantin's RA 14, making possible a repeater slide on the left case flank and a monopusher chronograph pusher fitted into the crown at three. With supporting paperwork from Vacheron, this subtle but very complex piece carries an estimate of $195,000 - $400,000.  

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Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

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One of my favorite Patek Philippe chronographs, this third series 2499 dates to 1977 and it's just head-shakingly good. At 37.6mm wide in 18k yellow gold, this hand-wound chronograph also boasts a full perpetual calendar and moon phase. Originally born in 1950, the 2499 matured across four series, with the third series being identifiable for its baton markers, pump pushers, and the lack of a tachymeter scale. With an estimate of $490,000 to $790,000, this 2499 may not be as rare as some of its siblings, but it's still a remarkably special watch. 

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Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Ref. 6241 In 14k Yellow Gold

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Did you think I'd do this list without a gold Paul Newman Daytona on a riveted expanding bracelet? Shame. While I'm not generally a chronograph guy, I do love an early Daytona and none more so than those in solid gold. This mega cool example is a reference 6241 that dates back to 1969 and has a 37.5mm case and a bracelet that ensures near endless smile-value. While this example had its bracelet un-pinned (likely to keep non-landowners like myself from trying it on), I have had the pleasure of wearing a vintage gold Daytona, and for me they are an absolute grail. I know it's little more than a cliche, but I love this watch and choose to ignore its $350,000 to $540,000 estimate. 

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Patek Philippe Pocket Watch Once Owned By Jean-Adrien Philippe (Co-founder Of The Brand)

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Talk about provenance, this pocket watch dates back to 1888 and was once owned by Jean-Adrien Philippe, aka the "Philippe" in Patek Philippe. At 50mm wide in 18k pink gold, this classic looking pocket watch sports a keyless lever and a complex two-train dead-beat center seconds complication. With an intricate "JAP" engraving on the outer case back, the initial hinged cover opens to show an inner case back signed "Jean Adrien Philippe, 5 Janvier 1894." If you ask nicely, someone might pop open the inner case back, offering a view of the Cal 19 hand-wound movement within. This piece of horological history has a pre-auction estimate of $50,000 to $100,000. 

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Rolex Perpetual 'Padellone' Ref. 8171

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It's hard to say with this auction, but I may have saved my favorite lot for last. Just look at it. This is a 1950 Rolex ref. 8171 triple calendar with moonphase. It's 38mm wide with a paper-like white dial and a sub-seconds register over a lovely moon phase display. Fitted to this period-correct high tan Rolex leather strap, it just calls to me. On wrist, this 8171 is a very special mix of casual, elegant, and entirely over-the-top. Beautifully proportioned and entirely low-key, this 8171 is the epitome of my idea of "grandpa charm." Nothing this cool is cheap, and this 8171 carries an estimate of $250,000 to $540,000. 

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