Rare ‘Turtle’ Dives Into Bonhams Fine Watches Sale

Cartier Pebble 'turtle' wristwatch, estimate £150,000 – 200,000

An extremely rare Cartier Pebble ‘Turtle’ watch from the luxury house’s golden era, offered for the first time at auction, leads a host of exceptional timepieces in the Bonhams Fine Watches Sale in New Bond Street on 20 June.

A variant of the Cartier London Pebble, the Turtle earned its name from the unusual ‘turtle feet’ lugs surrounding its distinctive case, featuring a square with softened edges within a circle. Of the six exclusive large Pebbles produced – five in yellow gold, one in white gold with black dial – only one other is known to exist with the diminutive lugs and is currently in the Cartier Collection.  

This watch therefore presents a once in a generation opportunity to acquire this particular design, considered the final ‘oeuvre’ from Cartier, with the input of Jean-Jacques Cartier, the last family member to manage the firm. The 18K gold timepiece, with the Hallmark for 1975, has an estimate of £150,000 – 200,000

Cartier’s renowned London workshops were at their peak in the 1960s, producing some of the most sought-after vintage timepieces such as the Maxi Oval and the Crash. The Pebble was also designed during this period.

George Daniels Millennium wristwatch, estimate £250,000 – 300,000
George Daniels Millennium wristwatch, estimate £250,000 – 300,000

Like the proverbial buses, the Pebble is flanked in the sale by two other extraordinary treasures. The first a remarkable George Daniels Millennium wristwatch, estimate £250,000 – 300,000, and the other a Patek Philippe masterpiece – a Ref. 5074R -001, one of the most luxurious complications produced by the house, which has an estimate of £300,000 – 400,000

The late George Daniels is recognised as one of the 20th century’s greatest watchmakers, responsible for the revolutionary Co-Axial escapement. After two decades of persuasion, Omega adopted this design and introduced it into select models in 1999. As a celebration, Daniels and his apprentice Roger Smith spent three years creating the Millennium wristwatch series of only 48 yellow gold pieces, which they hand-finished together in the ‘English Style’. This example is the ninth watch produced in 1999.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5074R-001, estimate £300,000 – 400,000
Patek Philippe Ref. 5074R-001, estimate £300,000 – 400,000

Patek Philippe is a mainstay of the Bonhams Fine Watches Sale but the Ref. 5074-001 is one of the most exclusive to be offered at New Bond Street. Another watch making its auction debut, this 2009 timepiece is one of only 100 rose gold variants and is offered by its original owner. 

Behind its black dial is the celebrated calibre R 27 Q – at just a mere 6.9mm high, 8mm across and comprising 467 parts, this calibre features perpetual calendar, moon phase, 24-hour indication, plus a minute repeater with high tone and low tone ‘Cathedral’ gongs, Fitted to the company’s most exclusive models, this calibre was one of the most complicated of its day ever fitted to a wristwatch by the manufacturer and is still among the most sought-after. 

Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Global Head of Watches, said: “‘It has been very exciting putting this sale together. We feel that it has the variety to delight collectors across the board and already the interest received from across the globe is exceeding expectations.”

The first live sale at New Bond Street for Bonhams Watches this year is a boutique auction offering a curated selection of circa 50 timepieces, representing the finest horological marques. Other highlights include: 

Rolex. A fine and rare stainless steel manual wind chronograph bracelet watch with exotic ‘Paul Newman’ Panda dial. Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’, Ref: 6263, Circa 1970. Estimate: £ 220,000 – 280,000.

An example of the ever popular ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona, as worn by the American actor, reference 6263 was introduced in 1969 featuring a bezel with black bakelite insert and printed tachymetre. 

F. P. Journe. A fine aluminium manual wind bracelet watch Centigraphe Souverain Sport, Ref: No.072-CTS, circa 2012, estimate £ 60,000 – 80,000.

A lightweight aluminium variant of the celebrated Centigraph which has its chronograph system separate to its timekeeping function, which allows measurement from 10 minutes down to 1/100th of a second without draining the watch’s power. 

Patek Philippe. A fine and rare limited-edition Lady’s 18k rose gold and diamond set world time wristwatch with central moon phase.World Time Moonphase, Ref: 7175R-001, Purchased 10th March 2015, estimate £60,000 – 80,000.

The Reference 7175 was made in 2014 to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Patek Philippe, as part of a ‘his and hers’ set of World Time references. The other half of the pairing, the 5575, was limited to 1300 pieces, while the 7175 was produced on an even smaller scale of just 450 pieces and was available exclusively in rose gold.

The Bonhams Fine Watches Sale will be staged as a traditional live auction at New Bond Street at 1pm on Wednesday 16 June, with bids accepted from clients in the room (respecting social distancing and all local COVID-related guidelines), with limited public admission by prior appointment. 

Bids will also be accepted online, via the Bonhams App, on the telephone and as absentee bids. Contact: [email protected]to register.

All timepieces offered can be viewed at Bonhams New Bond Street in advance of the sale: 

Sunday 13 June, 11am – 3pm

Monday 14 June 9am – 4.30pm

Tuesday 15 June 9am – 4.30pm

Wednesday 16 June 9am – 12pm

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