In recent years, Phillips’ horological offering has gone from strength to strength. Following a record-breaking past year in which it sold 100 per cent of its lots offered, the auction house has added a new watch sale to its packed calendar. The New York Watch Auction: SIX, taking place on 11-12 June, already looks to continue in this successful tradition, with early highlights delivering both on rare technical watchmaking and star appeal.
Leading the sale is the very first George Daniels Anniversary Watch ever made, cased in platinum and bearing the unique serial number “00” (estimate $500,000-$1m). The late George Daniels was considered by many to be not only the greatest British watchmaker, but one of the most important figures in horological history full stop. He produced only a small amount of timepieces in his lifetime due to the incredible craftsmanship and time that went into each one.
The Anniversary watch was created in collaboration with his sole protegé, Roger W Smith, in 2010, and was limited to 35 pieces in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the co-axial escapement, one of Daniels’ most influential creations. Out of these, just four were made in platinum like the lot offered. In a fitting tribute to this legacy, a portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit The George Daniels Educational Trust, The Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers and the Horological Society of New York.
Fans of the watchmaker will also find interest in another lot, an FP Journe Chronomètre Souverain (estimate $250,000 to $500,000) gifted to George Daniels by Francois-Paul Journe, another independent artisan who has left an indelible mark on the industry. A truly personal memento of a great friendship united by a deep mutual respect, the movement is engraved “FP to George Daniels my Mentor 2010”, while the watch comes with a signed letter from Journe, noting in French, ‘Thanks to your publications such as The Art of Breguet or Watchmaking, I have patiently learned on my workbench to make my first watch, you know the rest.’
Celebrity connections continue to hold great power on the price of watches at auction: a selection of watches from the personal collection of American actor James Garner, consigned directly by his daughter Gigi Garner, is sure to draw attention. Particularly special is a Heuer Carrera reference 2447 (estimate $20,000-$40,000), worn in The Rockford Files and printed with Garner’s name on the dial. Showcasing the breadth of his collection is a quartet of Cartier watches, including a dressier Cartier Baignoire from the 1960s that was photographed on Garner’s wrist during the 2000 premiere of Space Cowboys.