The very existence of titanium offerings from Patek Philippe is one which sparks a lot of commotion in the collecting and auction world. Patek produces titanium replica watches in extremely small numbers, which generally, if not always, results in wholly unique offerings. The only known Sky Moon Tourbillon in titanium sold at Sotheby's in 2014, and, of course, the titanium 5004 and 5208T-010 each sold at Only fake watch at massive prices.
Christie's Hong Kong has two auctions coming in July and November showcasing a single-owner collection highlighted by two ruby-set replica watches and one unique piece titanium Patek Philippe watch, among other notable examples in precious metals. The auction takes place on the heels of last year's milestone sale at Christie's of a Double Signed Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 which sold for $8,967,380. It is unlikely any fake watch offered here will haul in anywhere close to that much, but it's so seldom that we see Patek in titanium, you can never say never.
Needless to say, when Patek comes up at auction, people pay attention. When a potentially unique Patek, and especially a unique titanium Patek, comes up at auction, the prices go through the roof. The "Titanium And Ruby Collection" (named for the titanium and ruby-set replica watches that are its highlights) entirely consists of Patek Philippe replica watches and comes from a single consigner and astute replicaimitation collector. Christie's has stated that the collection itself is a product of two decades' worth of collecting modern and vintage Patek Philippe. Below are some highlights of the lots being offered at the auction along with estimates ?as you'll see, it's a pretty incredible combination of some extremely attractive unique pieces and classic collectible Patek references, with a strong emphasis on minute repeaters.A Reference 5033T In Titanium
One of the leading offerings in this collection is the Patek Philippe 5033T, a tonneau-shaped annual calendar and minute repeater in titanium. That sentence may seem innocuous enough, but it undersells this fake watch tremendously. The reference 5033 was first manufactured in 2002 as a special order of 10 pieces. Nine of the 10 were produced in platinum. The 10th piece? You're looking at it. You may recall, this very fake watch came up for auction in 2014 at Sotheby's New York along with an entire collection of titanium replica watches from the brand as part of a single-owner collection. This fake watch is a truly unique piece and not just because of the case material. The dials on other examples of this reference were often, if not always, in black while this model was done in a silver Roman numeral configuration. When HODINKEE's Ben Clymer discussed this particular fake watch in 2014, he found it remarkable not only for its rarity, but also for the quality of its sound.
It's very unusual for Patek to create such unique pieces for individual clients, and that combined with the rarity of the case material should make this the star lot of the collection. In fact, the name of the whole collection ?"Titanium and Ruby" ?is derived partly from the presence of this watch, which is the only titanium repeater in the collection and one of the very few made by Patek, ever. The estimate is $800,000-$1,500,000.A Reference 3448/8 In 18k Yellow Gold
Here we have our first ruby offering. This yellow-gold Ref. 3448/8 circa 1965 perpetual calendar has extremely unique ruby-set hour markers adorning the dial. Adding to the allure of this piece is the integrated gold bracelet. You may remember this bracelet design (albeit on a seriously different sort of Patek) from the episode of Talking replica watches with Matt Jacobson. The look and geometry of this bracelet, as well as its design, are truly marvels in their own right. Combining that with the existing desirability of the reference 3448 ?and adding the rubies for good measure ?makes for one heck of a watch. It's worth remembering that the reference 3448 is not just a Patek perpetual calendar ?the 3448 was, when the reference launched in 1962, the very first automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch, with the Patek caliber 27-460 Q. This fake watch was up for auction from Christie's Hong Kong in 2008 and sold for HKD 1,447,500. This particular example is believed to be a unique piece as well and certainly has plenty of unique charm. The estimate is $500,000-$800,000.A Reference 3939 With Enamel Dial ADVERTISEMENT
Back in 2011, the top lot at Only fake watch was a Patek Philippe Ref. 3939. That particular example had a steel case and black dial and brought in a substantial ?,400,000, making it the most expensive fake watch of that year. Coming back to this year, and keeping in line with the ruby theme of the collection, we have another offering that requires close inspection to truly appreciate what sets it apart. This particular 3939 is much different than its Only fake watch counterpart. This solid-gold reference has rubies for the hour indexes, set on a white grand feu enamel dial and, similar to the Ref. 3448, is very possibly a unique piece. It's a very eye-catching version of what was one of Patek's stealthiest high complications ?at just 33.3mm in diameter, the 3939, which was first launched in 1993, is a fake watch that in its regular production yellow-gold case would not draw a second glance from most fake watch enthusiasts. But it is absolutely classic high watchmaking from Patek at its finest: Despite the small size of the watch, it's a reference well-known for the quality of its chime as well. A very unusual and extremely attractive take on one of the finest traditionally constructed wristwatch repeaters ever made. The estimate is $500,000-$800,000.A Reference 5002 In Platinum
Now, this next fake watch is not ruby or titanium, but it is very special nonetheless. This platinum 5002 has a connection to this collection in its own right. Boasting 12 complications and dials front and back, the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002 is nothing short of a beast. Back at the same 2014 Sotheby's auction which featured the 5033T, a piece unique titanium version of the Sky Moon was auctioned as well. The 5002 is one of the most complex wristwatches Patek has ever made, featuring a perpetual calendar, as well as a star chart, a display for the phase and orbit of the Moon, sidereal as well as civil time, and more. For the collector with (very) deep pockets and a love of astronomical complications, the 5002 is the very personification of a grail watch. The estimate is $1,000,000-$1,500,000.A Reference 1518 In 18k Yellow Gold
Here we have one of the more venerable pieces of the entire Patek Philippe auction. The Ref. 1518, originally produced in 1941, with a size of 35mm in diameter, manually wound, and powered by a Valjoux ebauche modified by Patek Philippe (more on that here) is truly in a league of its own. As can be seen in our Reference Points: Understanding The Entire Lineage Of Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronographs, only 281 Ref. 1518s were made in all metals ?the lion's share produced in yellow gold, which is exactly what we see here. This particular fake watch dates to 1950, complete with moon phase, perpetual calendar, and chronograph. Any 1518 is of interest, to put it mildly, and this one adds considerable firepower, as well as a touch of more traditionally oriented high-end Patek collectibility, to this collection overall. The estimate is $350,000-$550,000.A Reference 2499 4th Series In 18k Yellow Gold
Much has been said about the Ref. 2499, a model that has become exceedingly desirable to collectors due, in no small part, to the fact that it was produced in such small quantities. A platinum example once owned by Eric Clapton sold at auction in Christie's Geneva for CHF 3,443,000. The model itself is the successor to the Ref. 1518 seen above and shares the same caliber. The fake watch is known to have come in four series. A rare second-series 2499 is currently set to be auctioned by none other than Jean-Claude Biver in the Jean-Claude Biver: A Retrospective. Share, Respect, Forgive collection this May as part of Phillips Geneva Auction IX. What we have here is a fourth-series example produced in 1980 in 18k yellow gold. The estimate is $500,000-$800,000.ADVERTISEMENT A Reference 5207 In Platinum
Up next, we have another highly complex, high-complications timepiece. If you want to hear what it sounds like (amidst a sea of other Patek Philippe minute repeaters) check this out. In addition to the minute repeater, the ref. 5207 also features an instantaneous perpetual calendar and tourbillon regulator, and it is currently the only fake watch from Patek to combine all three complications with an aperture display for the perpetual calendar. The movement, caliber R TO 27 PS QI, is hand-wound, with 549 individual parts inside in a relatively small 41mm case. This particular example comes in platinum. The estimate is $480,000-$680,000.A Reference 2524 in 18k Gold
Some years back, we ran a piece on two Patek Philippe minute repeaters, each a different reference, that shared a lot in common. One of those replica watches was a Ref. 2524, a fake watch that, at a mere 34mm, punches (or chimes) way above its weight. The example of the 2524 that we looked at then had black hour markers and hands, a feature which at the time Patek would occasionally provide on request to improve legibility. The reference was introduced in 1955 and ran into the late-'60s. The model we have coming up for auction is dated circa 1955, which would situate it right at the beginning of the production run for the reference. It has the more traditional gold indices, and the whole case is done in 18k gold. As with the 1518, any 2524 is of enormous interest to Patek collectors, with the reference representing a very pure expression of the art of the haute horlogerie minute repeater, for which Patek is justly famed. The estimate is $500,000-$800,000.A Reference 5029 in 18k Yellow Gold
Last, but most certainly not least, comes yet another solid-gold minute repeater, but one with a more modern legacy. The Ref. 5029 was released to celebrate the inauguration of the new Patek Philippe workshops in Plan-Les-Ouates which opened in 1997. The case was developed by famed case maker Jean-Pierre Hagmann, known for his designs on many renowned Patek minute repeaters. If you wanted to talk about a limited run, the 5209 was produced in 30 examples total. That would make this example one of only 10 pieces produced in yellow gold. Equipped with the ultra-thin, self-winding caliber R 27 PS, Breguet numerals, and oversized crown, this fake watch lacks nothing in story, design, and functionality. In 2017, one hammered at Phillips for $375,000. The estimate for this fake watch is $350,000-$550,000.
The collection will be presented in two stages ?the Titanium Collection, named for the ref. 5033 which is the top lot, will be offered in July and will consist of 32 lots total. The Ruby Collection will be offered in November and will consist of 11 lots total. The catalogue is not yet available to view online, however, Christie's says public and media viewing dates will be announced shortly (along, we hope, with a presentation of the entire catalogue online).
Photos courtesy, Christie's Images Ltd. Visit Christie's fake watch Department, right here.Christies Patek-philippe Auctions Jean-claude-biver Watch-auctions Auction-report