Editor’s Note: While Sydney remains in a Covid-19 related lockdown, we highly welcome the new releases from the Geneva Watch Days 2021 and auctions like the ongoing Christie’s Watches Online: The Marvel(ous) Sale Auction like a breath of fresh air. Here’s a preview of some of the exceptional timepieces on offer.
To paraphrase one of the famous quotes from Disney’s Black Panther movie: “The AP Marvel Black Panther is a good watch with a good movement, and it is hard for a good watch to be king”.
From the time the notorious Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Marvel Black Panther’ Flying Tourbillon debuted in April 2021, it has been the talk of the town. No publicity is bad publicity they say, and whether you hate it or love it, this AP LE of 250-pieces only is definitely a head-turner.
It is now being offered as one of the 219 lots at the Christie’s Hong Kong auction for the first time. Today being the last day it is already the one with the highest bid, sitting at HKD 3’000’000 (~520000 AUD). This comes as no surprise given a one-off version of the same model, created to raise funds for two charities, First Book and Ashoka, sold recently for US$ 5.2 million.
What is it: Christie’s Hong Kong presents the famous Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Marvel Black Panther’ Flying Tourbillon as the Lot 46 at its Watches Online: The Marvel(ous) Sale auction. The auction boasts of 221 lots with a total estimate over HKD 23,800,000 or USD 3 million.
When and Where: From 24 Aug 12PM – 7 Sep 4PM (HKT) online at Christie’s Hong Kong site here.
Hold fast as we share some exceptional lots. Besides the AP Marvel Black Panther’, Christie’s is also presenting three further examples of Gérald Genta’s work. Not just that, there’s a lot for Patek & AP lovers to invest in. The first 33 lots are all Patek, with the Lot #1 Patek Philippe Ref.3939 — a possibly unique piece — with an estimate of HKD 1’000’000 – HKD 2’000’000 and the Lot #2 SS Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-001 particularly HKD 650’000 – HKD 950’000 particularly crowd pleasing.
The Patek Philippe Ref.3939 is a petite 33mm diameter platinum cased timepiece from circa 1999. The watch features a black enamel dial with Breguet numerals and features the complications of a minute repeater and tourbillon. The tourbillon here is not exposed like modern day watches, and this understated beauty is polar opposite of the big and flashy Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Marvel Black Panther’ Flying Tourbillon.
Lot 36 to lot 46 are all Audemars Piguet, with of course Lot #46 of special interest. It is a 42mm diameter titanium and black ceramic timepiece with a hand-painting white gold 3D black Panther dial. It features a manual movement and a flying tourbillon complication at 6. The watch comes on a complementary purple AP rubber strap and a titanium AP deployant clasp. The watch is listed with Audemars Piguet International Warranty Card, product literature, additional Audemars Piguet rubber strap, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.
Where there is an AP Royal Oak Concert, can the original Gérald Genta AP RO be behind? Lot #45 is AP Royal Oak REF. 5402 A-series. With an estimate of HKD 400’000 – HKD 800’000, this 39mm stainless steel timepiece is from 1977 and features a fan favourite ‘Tropical dial’.
Talking about Gérald Genta, there is also an eponymous Minute Repeater with Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minutes. 2021 has been the year of green watches and this should particularly delight watch collectors thanks to its green guilloché dial and platinum case with a distinctive ribbed profile. This circa 1990 Lot #96 comes with the same estimate as above of HKD 400’000 – 800’000 and features a 33mm platinum case and a mother-of-pearl minute display dial.
And on the subject of retrograde style mother-of-pearl dials, there is also Lot #152, the circa 2000 Roger Dubuis Double Tourbillon LE 09/28. It is a 46mm diameter 18k white gold timepiece with double tourbillon, retrograde minute and power reserve complications.
No auction catalogue seems complete these days without featuring the ‘crown wearer’ of Swiss watches, and the lots 177 to 222 all feature Rolex timepieces. The Lot#177 is a rare Rolex Ref.8171 in pink gold with an estimate of HKD 1’200’000 – HKD 2’000’000. This circa 1950 timepiece features and 38mm diameter 18k pink gold case with triple calendar and moon phase complication.
That’s All Folks!
‘Watches Forever’! There may be over 200 other lots at this auction, but the polarising and notorious Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Marvel Black Panther’ Flying Tourbillon is definitely one to follow to see how it performs.
Not that AP or Christie’s need help; the latter as a matter of fact has had an exceptional Spring 2021 Watch Season, that has seen in just 4 months — March-June 2021 — their watch sales in Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong and New York reach a total of whopping US$ 93.7 million. Riding high on this success, we can only predict that the ongoing Christie’s Watches Online: The Marvel(ous) Sale Auction will also write a new record or two.
As for our reaction as simply an observer, I find the success of these auctions quite affirming. Just like the now iconic movie quote “Wakanda Forever”, no matter how the real world outside the watch industry is — you know what with Covid, Afghanistan human crisis and US floods among others — it manages to pique people’s interest, and is thankfully always there to distract us watch enthusiasts and collectors.
To find out more about the Christie’s Watches Online: The Marvel(ous) Sale Auction, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are courtesy © Christie’s 2021. For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here