3 exceptional timepieces to keep an eye on at the upcoming Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches auction

Richard Mille RM56-02, Sotheby's watch auction

Hammer time

Independent watchmakers dominate the Autumn 2017 Sale by Sotheby’s Hong Kong and leading the auction is a rare Richard Mille RM56-02. It’s numbered 10/10 and was released in 2015 at the Hong Kong Watches & Wonders haute horlogerie convention. This tourbillon model is noted as one of the lightest and most transparent timepieces on the market, with a movement supported by the Richard Mille patented cable and pulley system.

Adding to the controversy surrounding this watch is the decision by Sotheby’s Hong Kong to reveal the pricing estimate to serious bidders only, which might make it the most wildly speculated piece in a long time. It might smash the estimates, it mightn’t; there’s only one way to find out – follow the auction.

Somehow, even the appearance of a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002R seems less exciting that the RM56-02. Still, eager bidders for this coveted Patek Philippe timepiece may look forward to an estimate of between US$1 million to US$1.3 million (S$1.35 million – S$1.75 million).

Other independent watchmakers making an appearance at this auction include Philippe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen, Ludovic Ballouard, and MB&F. But first, here are some keyhighlights.

A Philippe Dufour Simplicity represents the very best of traditional handcrafted haute horlogerie and this piece numbered 152 is cased in white gold and released in 2010. With a 37mm diameter, a solid silver dial, and a guilloche centrefield, this rare timepiece is exactly what collectors today seek.
Estimate: HK$1.2  million – HK$2 million (S$210,000 – S$340,000)

The Chronometre 27 by Kari Voutilainen has a mean accuracy of only tenths of a second per day under test conditions and is a testament of the Finnish watchmaker’s unparalleled watchmaking know-how. It is his second observatory watch, introduced in 2008, and thus displays the time with a regulator-type dial.
Estimate: HK$500,000 – HK$700,000 (S$86,000 – S$121,000)

Not many people have heard of Ludovic Ballouard, but those who have know that the Swiss watchmaker cut his teeth in the workshops headed by master watchmakers like FP Journe and Franck Muller. Launched in 2010, the Upside Down watch playfully displays the time with numbers that flip upside down and rightside up.
Estimate: HK$120,000 – HK$150,000 (S$20,700 – S$25,900)

Other Richard Mille timepieces up for grabs during the auction include early models like the RM005, RM010, RM016 with diamonds, and RM011 Midnight Fire.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches Autumn Sale 2017
Preview: 28 September – 1 October
Auction: 2 October
Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre