Exceptional Watches Bound for Phillips’ Splashy Dec. 10 Watch Sale

First there were the announcements that Phillips, in association with auctioneer Bacs & Russo, would sell the Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date at its Game Changers watch sale Dec. 10 in New York City. Then came the news that the sale would also include the Marlon Brando Apocalypse Now Rolex GMT-Master.

Now the auction houses—who conceived the sale as a showcase for watches formerly owned by “extraordinary people who are considered game changers in their fields”—have revealed several other important timepieces, all outliers in terms of provenance, aesthetics, condition, or rarity, bound for the auction block.

Two very special vintage Patek Philippe perpetual calendar wristwatches—a reference 1518 in 18k pink gold with a pink dial and a “possibly unique” reference 2499 in 18k yellow gold—will kick off the sale. 

Patek Philippe Reference 1518
The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 1518, estimated to sell for $1.2 million–$2.4 million, is the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph produced in series. Only 281 examples of the Ref. 1518 are believed to have been made, with the vast majority in yellow gold (this one’s pink gold), and only four known in stainless steel.
Patek Philippe Reference 2499
The Patek Philippe Ref. 2499, with a sales estimate of $1 million–$2 million, is the only known Vichet-cased 2499 to ever appear with round pushers originally delivered by Patek Philippe, making it one of the most important examples of the reference to surface.

Later in the lineup will be a unique Urwerk AMC composed of an atomic clock and paired titanium wristwatch. “This sale marks the first time that Phillips will offer an atomic clock, and we are thrilled to present this fascinating technological masterpiece by Urwerk to the public,” said Paul Boutros, Phillips’ head of watches, Americas, in a statement. Also in the sale is an Urwerk UR-105 CT worn by Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark (Iron Man) in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame.

Urwerk Atomic Clock
The Urwerk AMC (Atomic Mechanical Control), estimated to sell between $1 million–$2 million, is composed of an atomic master clock and a mechanical wristwatch. The master clock automatically winds, sets, and regulates the wristwatch to improve its timekeeping. 
Urwerk Avengers Iron Man watch
Urwerk’s UR-105C Avengers Endgame Ref. UR-105 CT Iron, estimated to sell for $30,000–$60,000, is a unique piece that was worn on the wrist of Tony Stark (Iron Man), played by Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame. Proceeds from the sale will go to Random Act Funding, a charitable organization founded by Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan.

The sale will also include exceptional vintage timepieces from Rolex, A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Omega, TAG Heuer, Jaeger LeCoultre, Breitling, Philippe Dufour, F.P. Journe, and Richard Mille. In advance of the auction, highlights from the sale will tour London, Singapore, Geneva, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and New York.

All or partial proceeds from several lots, including the Rolexes owned by Nicklaus and Brando, a TAG Heuer Monaco Piece d’Art, a unique Vacheron Constantin Overseas, and Downey Jr.’s Urwerk, are bound for charitable entities.

“I’ve always been a fan of Urwerk timepieces and was proud to have one on my wrist for Endgame,” Downey Jr. said in the same statement. “To have it wind up at a prestigious auction to be sold for charity is the icing on the cake.”

Top: A Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute Ref. 809, estimated to sell for $40,000–$80,000, that was manufactured in June 1962 and worn by an original Mercury Seven astronaut (all photos courtesy of Phillips)

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JCK Magazine Editor