Ineichen Auction ‘La Vie en Rose’ On March 12, 2022: 6 Unusual Picks From 40 Pink Gold Timepieces
Ineichen Auctioneers’ first auction of 2022, aptly entitled “La Vie en Rose,” takes place in Zurich and online on March 12, 2022. As the name of this auction professes, all 40 of the watches offered are encased in pink – “rose” – gold. The auction features timepieces by watchmakers as prestigious and diverse as Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis, F.P. Journe, Daniel Roth, Cartier, IWC, De Bethune, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet, Panerai, Girard-Perregaux, A. Lange & Söhne, Konstantin Chaykin, and Audemars Piguet.
“After the last two years of upheaval thanks to the pandemic, we are ready to view 2022 through rose-colored spectacles. We are optimistic about the future, which is why we decided to name our March auction ‘La Vie en Rose’,” says Ineichen Auctions’ CEO Artemy Lechbinskiy.
Edith Piaf’s famous chanson of the same name explores themes of love, romance, and resilience. Seen as an anthem of hope when it was released soon after World War II, Lechbinskiy looks to recreate such emotions with this grouping. I know that worked for me.
Ineichen’s current mission is to focus on independent watchmakers, thereby differentiating itself from other auctioneers in the watch market. And there are many interesting timepieces sure to incite extreme interest at this auction, including the F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Sincere Limited-Edition No. 202-RN (estimate CHF 200,000-300,000) and F.P. Journe Octa Calendrier Sincere Limited-Edition No. 239-Q (estimate CHF 150,000-200,000).
However, in this post I’d like to highlight five of the less “mainstream” independent offerings and one rarity from an established brand.
Konstantin Chaykin Levitas Luna Nascosta
Certainly a highlight of the auction for lovers of independent watchmaking, Ineichen is offering a unique, never-before-seen piece from Konstantin Chaykin: the Levitas Luna Nascosta. This watch has been owned by Konstantin Chaykin since its manufacture in 2013 and was never sold.
Chaykin’s Levitas Luna Nascosta unique piece combines a 40 mm pink gold case with a peripheral “dial” featuring Roman numerals characteristic of the Russian watchmaker’s first-generation Levitas watches of 2012.
Konstantin Chaykin’s Levitas watch collection is in essence an updated form of the so-called mystery watch, which features hands moving against an entirely transparent background as if by magic. Making them even more spectacular, Chaykin’s mystery watches constitute the watchmaking industry’s largest ratio of transparent dial to movement diameter. Hence the collection’s name, Levitas, which reminds us of the word “levitation.”
The estimate on the Konstantin Chaykin Levitas Luna Nascosta is CHF 20,000 to 30,000.
Harry Winston Opus 5
The 2005 edition of the Opus led Harry Winston back into the quasi-science fiction realm that began with Vianney Halter’s Opus 3. Two years after Halter, Harry Winston and Urwerk’s Felix Baumgartner presented a satellite hour watch reminiscent of the novel timepieces that Urwerk produces. Ineichen offers one of the pink gold examples here at an estimate of CHF 50,000-100,000 – though I predict it will go for much, much more than that.
The secret of this watch display lies in three small cubes arranged like satellites that turn and rotate to show the current hour. The numeral currently indicating the time at the long end of an arrow points to the minutes on a scale arcing along the left side of the case.
Two major elements can also be found on the back of the case: an integrated service indicator to let the wearer know when it is time send the watch in for maintenance and a fine adjustment screw that allows the wearer to adjust the rate by plus or minus thirty seconds.
The Harry Winston Opus series is extremely significant to lovers of independent watchmaking as it marked the first time post mechanical renaissance that a major brand identified the (external) watchmaker, even promoting him (there were no female watchmakers involved in the Opus project). The watchmakers Harry Winston Rare Timepieces partnered with all had reputations for unusual and high-quality timepieces. Upon the introduction of each Opus, however, the independent watchmakers involved (many of which were practically unknown outside collectors’ circles) became known to a broader range of people suddenly interested in their products and cognizant of their names and creations.
This was the last Opus creation under then CEO Maximilian Büsser, who left Harry Winston to found MB&F:
Harry Winston Excenter Tourbillon Limited Edition (Ref. 200-MMT40RL.T)
The other Harry Winston lot in this auction is perhaps even more special because so few collectors know about it: the Excenter Tourbillon Limited Edition (Reference 200-MMT40RL.T) created in cooperation with independent watchmaker Peter Speake (formerly Peter Speake-Marin) during Büsser’s time at Harry Winston.
Launched in 2005, this very attractive 40 x 12.85 mm tourbillon, which really looks like a product of its its time to me, was released in a limited edition of only 75 pieces. It probably should have been part of the Opus series, but unfortunately for the watchmaker it wasn’t. Speake was never one of the Opus watchmakers.
It is being offered in this auction with an estimate of CHF 20,000-30,000.
De Bethune DB25 Midnight Blue (Ref. DB25XPARV2)
One of two De Bethune pieces in this auction, this DB25 is super classical and therefore rather unusual for the brand. The DB25 case has the openworked lugs typical of De Bethune – though these aren’t the newer “floating lugs” typical of the later DB28 series – which makes the heavy 18-karat pink gold case look light and airy.
This warm case is paired with an exquisite dial consisting of the brand’s characteristic blued, mirror-polished titanium in the center and a white enamel chapter ring with painted Arabic numerals around it. An absolutely stunning combination.
Turn the watch over to find a typically modern movement of the automatic variety with an openworked rotor. Nonetheless, this is an atypical (for the brand) time-only watch in a largish 44 mm case. De Bethune reports only 27 pieces of this model made since it was introduced in 2014.
The De Bethune DB25 Midnight Blue is being offered in this auction with an estimate of CHF 20,000-30,000.
Andersen Genève Worldtime 1884
In 2003, A.H.C.I. co-founder Svend Andersen introduced a timepiece in homage to the standardized world time created by Sir Sandford Fleming in 1884. Appropriately, Andersen named his masterpiece 1884, dedicating the gold rotor to Fleming and including his name, years of birth and death, bust, and the words “inventor of world time.” The 40 mm watch was offered in a series of 50 pieces in pink/red gold, 50 in white gold, and 20 in platinum.
Lot 33 is one of those pieces. In fact, it’s number 41 of the total of 120 pieces.
This watch is a piece of history. And according to Ineichen, it’s in practically mint condition.
It’s an absolute steal at the auction house’s estimate of CHF 5,000-10,000. My guess is it will far exceed the high limit.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1
A total of four models by A. Lange & Söhne are present in this auction. Aside from this Grand Lange 1, there is a pink gold Lange 1 with slate-grey dial from 2005, a 2021 Saxonia Annual Calendar, and an original Lange 1 Time Zone.
A. Lange & Söhne revamped the Grand Lange 1 in 2008, and this is the boutique edition “Black & Grey,” Reference 115.031F. Production of this piece was rather limited as A. Lange & Söhne did not have many boutiques back in 2008.
Part of the Saxon manufacture’s collection since 2003, the Grand Lange 1 was created for aficionados of the classic Lange timepiece introduced in 1994 who prefer slightly larger cases. It comes in at 41.9 mm in diameter, while the original Lange 1 continues to be offered in the classic 38.5 mm size.
In 2008, this larger Lange 1 was updated with a lightly freshened dial design. The company credited the change to a desire to create a stronger visual tie to the original Lange 1 by implementing delicate snailed grooves around the two main display subdials.
This watch will be a steal if it remains within the auction house’s estimate of CHF 10,000-15,000, which I’m guessing it won’t.
For more information on the auction and to see all the lots, please visit ineichen.com.
Quick Facts Harry Winston Opus 5
Case: 50 mm, pink gold, platinum
Movement: manually wound movement with 122 hours power reserve
Functions: hours (satellite), minutes (retrograde) on front; power reserve indication, day/night indication, five-year service indication on back
Limitation: 45 pieces (pink gold), 45 pieces (platinum), 7 pieces in platinum set with diamonds, 3 pieces in platinum set with baguette-cut diamonds for 100 total pieces
Auction estimate: CHF 50,000-100,000