Bonhams has just kicked off Asia’s largest single-owner watch auction. The collection was put together by a single collector some 40 years, where he first caught the watch bug and developed his love for OMEGA in his teenage years. Having now amassed over 1,000 pieces, the ambitious collector’s assemblage highlights the last 100 years of horology — from the 1920s to present day — and spans from wristwatches, memorabilia (there’s even a large Patek Philippe AD door handle), clocks, collectibles and pens.
On top of the auction, Bonhams has selected a great number of timepieces for The Centennial Collection: 100 Years of Timepieces exhibition — showing the evolution and advancements in watchmaking. With such a large number of watches on display, and accessible to the public, we sat down with Bonhams’ Director of Watches (Asia), Sharon Chan, for a closer look at some of the special watches being offered in the auction. Looking over brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Heuer, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Zenith, A. Lange & Söhne, and more, we put together a few highlight lots as well as our personal favorites just to give a taste on what will be going under the hammer.
In keeping it accessible to the general public, there will be a number of watches offered without reserve with bidding starting as low as $3,000 HKD (approximately $380 USD). For those interested, the entire collection can be found at the auction’s web page. Have a read below to see some select watches that will be offered this June 12 at 10:30am.
Highlights of the Auction
Lot 1173 – OMEGA. An exceptionally rare limited-edition platinum and diamond-set chronograph skeletonized bracelet watch. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission and the successful moon landing in 1969 ($500,000 HKD – $1,000,000 HKD/$64,000 USD – $128,000 USD).
Lot 1176 – OMEGA. A very fine and rare limited-edition yellow-gold chronograph bracelet watch. Commemorating the Apollo 11 space mission and the successful moon landing in 1969 ($130,000 HKD – $260,000 HKD/$16,580 USD – $33,000 USD).
Lot 1199 – OMEGA. The “1894 Collection,” A limited edition set of three wristwatches as unveiled at Baselworld in 1994 and produced to commemorate the OMEGA brand’s 100th anniversary. Each fitted with 30mm calibres, one in platinum, one in yellow gold with Cloissoné enamel dial and one in pink gold. With box ($250,000 HKD – $500,000 HKD/$32,000 – $64,000 USD).
Lot 1228 – OMEGA. Korean Seamaster in stainless steel wristwatch with Day and Date in Korean ($15,000 HKD – $30,000 HKD/$1,900 USD – $3,800 USD).
Lot 1042 – Heuer. Monaco in stainless steel chronograph bracelet watch with date. Engraved “Tool No.033” at back. A classic racing watch with iconic square case now celebrating its 50th anniversary ($55,000 HKD – $110,000HKD/$7,000 USD – $14,000 USD).
Lot 1274 – Rolex. A 14K yellow gold rectangular wristwatch. Manual wind with two-toned case. Black hour markers forming “1/4 Century Club” on dial ($30,000 HKD – $60,000 HKD/$3,800 USD – $7,650 USD).
Lot 1218 – OMEGA. Stainless steel “Bullhead” with rotating bezel. Manual wind chronograph wriswtatch with asymmetric cushion form case ($30,000 HKD – $60,000HKD/$3,800 USD – $7,650 USD).
Lot 1222 – OMEGA. Rare Flightmaster De Luxe in yellow gold. Chronograph pilot’s bracelet watch with inner rotating bezel and second time zone. Engraved “BB” with Extract of the Archives ($120,000 HKD – $240,000 HKD/$15,300 USD – $30,600 USD).
Lot 1170 – OMEGA. Stainless steel “Giant” Seamaster bracelet watch with date. Oversized barrel form case ($15,000 HKD – $30,000 HKD/$1,900 USD – $3,800 USD).
Lot 1215 – OMEGA. Stainless steel “TV Case” Seamaster “Jedi.” Chronograph bracelet watch with date ($ 15,000 HKD – $30,000 HKD/$1,900 USD – $3,800 USD).
Lot 1220 – OMEGA. Stainless steel Speedmaster Mark III. Large domed tonneau form case. Bracelet watch with date ($12,000 HKD – $24,000 HKD/$1,500 USD – $3,100 USD).
HB Selects #1
Lot 1277 – Rolex. Stainless steel and yellow gold wristwatch with dual time zone, “Root Beer” bezel and date ($60,000 HKD – $120,000 HKD/$7,700 USD – $15,000 USD). — Either you love it or you hate it, this is a watch I was looking at for a long time and the “used car salesman” aesthetic is something very appealing to me. For me, I really enjoy having watches that allow you to see two timezones and this is one of the originals that could do that.
Lot 1304 – Patek Philippe. Fine pink gold wristwatch with power reserve and moonphase ($80,000 HKD – $160,000 HKD/$10,000 USD – $20,000 USD) — Although it’s slightly smaller to what watches are nowadays, the way the power reserve, date and moonphase are laid out makes it so peculiar. Similarly at first, the 5712 was something I didn’t take a second look at but it has grown on me after a while.
- Arby Li
HB Selects #2
Lot 1032 – Heuer. Stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with date ($10,000 HKD – 20,000 HKD/$1,300 USD – $2,600 USD). — Such a chunky watch. It’s enjoyable to look at these tool watches that had added functions like a slide rule. In today’s world of having apps for everything, this piece of “pre-TAG” history is such a joy to look at.
Lot 1242 – Gerald Genta. Limited-edition stainless steel jump hour retrograde centre seconds wristwatch with sun and stormy clouds indication with Mickey Mouse dial ($30,000 HKD – $60,000 HKD/$3,800 USD – $7,700 USD) — Years back I was bidding on this Donald Duck watch where the dial depicted Donald Duck golfing. His driver was the minute counter and he would raise it higher until it got to the “60” minute marker then “fly-back” to “0.” The idea that Gerald Genta, the creator of so many iconic watches, took the time to do a Disney collection is just so amusing. Mickey has always lingered in the world of watches (just like Snoopy), and I think this is just a fun piece.
Lot 1276 – Rolex. Stainless steel bracelet watch with dual time zone, “Pepsi Bezel” and date ($50,000 HKD – $100,000 HKD/$6,400 USD – $13,000 USD) — Love the history regarding the Pan-Am Airline and flight. I, however, hated the idea of having something so luxurious being named “Pepsi” as I thought it cheapened it, but after time it grew on me. The tie-breaker was when I first interviewed Hiroki Nakamura of visvim. He was wearing this super-tropical 1675 and I thought to myself, “Wow, these age nicely!” Been a fan for the combination ever since.
The Centennial Collection: 100 Years of Timepieces
Bonhams Hong Kong Gallery
Suite 2001, Pacific Place One
Admiralty, Hong Kong
31 May – 12 June