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1938 Rolex front-runner in Jasper52 watch sale Oct. 20

A rose gold Rolex Chronograph made in 1938 leads a collection of more than 40 luxury designer watches that will be offered by Jasper52 in an online auction on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The classic men’s watch boasts its original dial and is in working order.

Rolex Chronograph 2508, 1938, manual wind, 18K rose gold, 36mm case, original dial generic vintage leather strap with original buckle. Estimate: $35,000-$42,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Luxury watch auction June 9 in time for Father’s Day

A choice selection of more than three dozen men’s luxury watches are presented in a Jasper52 online auction that will be conducted on Tuesday, June 9. Bidders will discover fine watches by world-class manufacturers such as Omega, Rolex, Movado, Longines and Vacheron Constantin. Estimates range from $250 to $10,000.

Omega, Museum Collection 1951 Cosmic, triple date, 2000-2010, automatic movement, 18K rose gold generic leather strap with orginal Omega buckle. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Rolex Submariner kicks off Jasper52 watch sale Feb. 11

Just 25 lots are offered in an online auction of luxury watches that will be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Many major names are represented in the sale including Breitling, Gübelin, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Charles Nicolet Tramelan and IWC.

Rolex Submariner Oyster Perpetual with date, reference no. 16610, 1980s, automatic movement, 40mm steel case, original steel with deployment clasp. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Keeping Time with Cartier

A lot can happen in 170 years. In fact, quite a lot has since jeweler Louis-Francois Cartier took over at the Paris shop where he was an apprentice, following the death of master jeweler Adolphe Picard. While brands have come and gone as the global marketplace has evolved, the popularity of Cartier jewelry and watches has remained strong. Talk about staying power.

A significant reason for the company’s relevance, especially in its first century operation, was due to the visionaries within multiple generations of the Cartier family. This is most evident in the company’s masterful watchmaking.

This Cartier watch exemplified the influence of Cartier’s roots in fine-jewelry design. The platinum Art Deco ladies watch, circa 1915, features a “panther” design diamond and onyx on the setting and band, as well as graduated pearls on the band. The timepiece is a creation of Cartier and European Watch & Clock Co. It sold in a 2016 Heritage auction for $42,500. Heritage Auctions image.

Cartier’s History: By the time Henry Ford had introduced the Model T automobile, created in an assembly line and available at a price more Americans could afford, Cartier’s watchmaking operation was already in its 20th year. When men were starting to get behind the wheel of a Model T, in 1908, their driving attire might have included Cartier’s Tonneau wristwatch. And if they were particularly well connected, they might be able to acquire the Santos, which was not readily available to the public until 1911.

Cartier quickly became well known in European high society and abroad for creating lavish and unique items of jewelry. Applying the same approach the firm used in designing jewelry, Alfred Cartier (Louis- Francois’ son) expanded the company’s line to include timepieces. As explained in an introductory video on the Cartier website, the company’s foray into watches began with fob and chatelaine watches for women, followed in 1888 by the first ladies Cartier wristwatch. Alfred wasn’t alone in this timekeeping venture; by the turn of the 20th century, all three of his sons (Louis, Pierre and Jacques-Theodule) had joined the family business.

However, working side-by-side in the company’s Paris headquarters wasn’t the Cartier family’s vision for the future. By 1910, the three sons were overseeing Cartier’s overseas branches in London and New York. Cartier remained a family-run operation until 1964, following the passing of Pierre. Louis and Jacques both had predeceased their brother in 1942.

Classic Cartier: In the 21st century, Cartier is owned by Richemont, a conglomerate that owns other luxury brands including Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget. More than nine decades ago Cartier was partnering with each of those companies, producing “white-label” watches to be sold under their own brand names, according to Collectors Weekly. One of the earliest and most innovative partnerships in Cartier’s history was with Jaeger, the company behind the movements in Cartier watches.

There’s no mistaking the influence and appeal of Cartier watches. Let’s look at four of the company’s notable styles:

A square-shape 18K gold Cartier Tank, circa 1962, gifted to Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963 and worn regularly, was part of an affinity lot that sold for $379,500 at an auction presented by Christie’s in June 2017. Christie’s image.

1. Tank: This year marks the 100th anniversary of this iconic Cartier model. Various historical accounts attribute the name and styling of the watch to the military armament by the same name first used during World War I. The first examples of this watch were given by Cartier to members of the American Expeditionary Force, according to A Blog to Watch.

As is the case with many sought-after collectible items, the stories and provenance related to the antique and vintage watches undoubtedly add to their appeal at auction. This was evident recently, when a Cartier Tank wristwatch owned and regularly worn by Jacqueline Kennedy more than doubled its estimate at a summer 2017 auction at Christie’s.

According to Christie’s auction preview, Mrs. Kennedy’s watch was a gift from her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill, husband of her sister, Lee Radziwill. The watch’s engraving adds to its historic relevance. It bears the engraved inscription, Stas to Jackie, 23 Feb. 1963 2.05am to 9.35pm. The words correspond to the date and duration Radziwill and friends spent completing a 50-mile hike at Palm Beach, Florida. The hike was tied to President Kennedy’s aims to make America a fit nation by making health and wellness a priority. The first lady and her sister were driven to a section of the hike to meet up with the walkers, and at various points during the hike, President Kennedy was also said to have joined the endeavor.

Radziwill’s gift was not the only gift commemorating the event. The first lady created a painting depicting Radziwill and one of his friends on the hike and inscribed it similarly to what is seen on the watch: February 23, 1963 2.05am to 9.35pm /Jackie to Stas with love and admiration. The painting, paired with the watch, formed the lot that sold for $379,500 at Christie’s June 21, 2017 auction.

Limited edition 18K white gold Santos Triple 100 wristwatch, one of 20 made, features a full diamond-set case and three rotatable dials, circa 2008, sold in 2011 for $218,382 at Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s image

2. Santos: As Cartier history reveals, this famed watch model (the company’s first style for men) came about as a solution to a friend’s problem. The friend was noted aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The issue he relayed to Louis-Francois Cartier was the frustrating challenge of accessing his pocket watch while at the controls of a plane. Cartier went to work and in 1904 approached Santos-Dumont with a watch that had an easily visible face, sat flat on the wrist and was held in place by a strap and buckle. In no time, the watch – which Cartier named the Santos – also became known as a pilot’s watch, according to Monochrome. The watch was made available to the public in 1911.

3. Tonneau: One of the earliest readily available wristwatches created by Cartier, the Tonneau appeared on the market in 1906. Named for the shape of the case (tonneau is French for barrel), it was an incomparably sophisticated design for the time. This model of Cartier watch was introduced during the Belle Époque period, an age during which Cartier’s watchmaking business flourished.

Collecting Tip: Two sets of numbers are stamped on the backs of Cartier watches made from about the mid-20th century onward. The 4-digit number is the model number, while the 8-digit number is the serial number.

4. Crash: Steeped in urban lore, this model of Cartier timepiece was inspired by the result of an accident, or heat exposure, or possibly Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. According to an article by George Cramer for Revolution.watch, it was 1967 and Jean-Jacques Cartier, the head of Cartier’s London office at the time, designed the Crash style of watch after seeing a warped Cartier timepiece. Regardless of the source of inspiration, the radically uncommon watch captured the world’s attention. Three times in the years since its debut (1991, 1997 and 2013), Cartier has released limited-edition versions of the Crash watch. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cartier Crash and chatter on horological sites is rife with speculation (perhaps hopefulness) about a re-release of the Crash in 2017.

This 18K pink gold Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon watch, featuring blued steel sword-shaped hands and a brown alligator skin strap, was auctioned for $36,830 on June 12, 2017 at Morphy’s. Morphy Auctions image
This 18K pink gold Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon watch, featuring blued steel sword-shaped hands and a brown alligator skin strap, was auctioned for $36,830 on June 12, 2017 at Morphy’s. Morphy Auctions image

5. Ballon Bleu de Cartier: This Cartier model appeals to both men and women, making it modern choice. The shape of the case is circular, with both the top and bottom featuring a rounded design. Another uncommon design element of the Ballon Bleu is the inclusion of a guard over the traditional Cartier sapphire cabochon crown.As historical records demonstrate, the connection between Cartier and royalty dates to the company’s earliest years, when King Edward VII of England famously referred to the company as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” Today, that connection continues, as England’s Duchess Kate Middleton is often photographed wearing a Ballon Bleu Cartier watch.

7 Luxury Watches To Dazzle Your Wrist

This week’s collection of luxury watches and timepieces is absolutely stunning. From Patek Philippe to TAG Heuer to Rolex, the major watch brands are all featured in this auction. Here are seven of the standout stunners.

The auction begins with a rare Patek Philippe Calatrava stainless steel wristwatch. The Calatrava line, launched in 1932, is considered the flagship model of Patek Philippe.

Rare Patek Philippe Calatrava stainless steel watch, hand-wind mechanical movement. Estimate: $30,000-$40,000. Jasper52 image

 

The sale concludes with lot 120, a newly serviced Rolex men’s Submariner in excellent condition. This stunning watch features a Perpetual Date, self-winding movement and a brilliant blue insert bezel. Great news: this is only one of nearly two dozen Rolex watches included in the auction.

Rolex men’s Submariner, perpetual self-winding movement, excellent condition. Estimate: $14,000-$16,000. Jasper52 image

 

Equally as bold is a TAG Heuer Formula 1 automatic chronograph, Model CAU2011.BA0873, having a quartz movement. TAG Heuer watches were the first tailored for professional race car drivers.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Automatic Chronograph. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Jasper52 image

 

With elegant diamond markers, this Hamilton 14K yellow gold and diamond watch is one to be bookmarked.

Hamilton 14K Yellow Gold Diamond Watch. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000

 

A classic dress wristwatch is the vintage 14K yellow gold Movado watch. It features day, date and month and hand-wind mechanical movement.

Vintage Movado 14K gold Triple Date series, hand-wind mechanical movement, 34mm case size. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Jasper52 image

 

Not to be forgotten are the women’s watches! This 1930s Hamilton platinum model adorned with diamonds is absolutely beautiful.

Hamilton platinum and diamond women’s watch, 1930s, invisibly channel set baguette and round brilliant diamonds.4.25 ctw. Estimate: $7,500-$10,000. Jasper52 image

 

Less ostentations but no less stylish is the Corum Gr. 5 Ingot series gold watch. Montes Corum Sarl, commonly referred to as Corum, is a Swiss watchmaker based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchatel. Founded in 1955, it makes high-quality and high-price watches, many of which are limited editions.

Women’s Corum Gr. 5 Ingot series 18K gold watch with diamond crown. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

 

How to Care for Your Fine Watches and Timepieces

As Mick Jagger emoted in a 1964 Rolling Stones tune, “Time is on my side, yes it is.” Anyone with even a passing interest in fine watches can attest not only to the importance of time, but also the instruments that keep track of the minutes and hours with unfailing precision.

As with most things that are functional, especially scientific or technological items, careful use and proper maintenance are often at the center of longevity and quality of service.

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) offers these basic guidelines to follow in caring for timepieces, which Jordan shared with us:

  • Wind completely once a day, making sure the winding action does not result in the crown reaching the point of being taut.
  • Wear the watch regularly, not only because it gives you the opportunity to enjoy a timepiece in which you have invested, but also because a constant temperature is conducive to accurate timekeeping.

Consistency of temperature leads to one of the first things the AWCI warns watch owners about:

  • Avoid exposing watches to extreme temperatures. This kind of shift in temperatures can compromise the timekeeping device.
  • Make sure watches are not placed within close proximity to perfumes, powders, or chemicals.
  • Don’t let more than five years pass before taking watches to a certified watchmaker (many of whom can be found through the AWCI directory) for maintenance. Just like with an automobile, maintenance is a mainstay in preventing costly negative impact.

Men’s stainless steel, quick set, diamond dial with a diamond and sapphire bezel. Entered in Jasper 52 auction Feb. 12, 2017. Estimate: $9,000-$11,000. Jasper52 image

To learn more about the care of wristwatches, we reached out to Jordan Ficklin, who serves as executive director of the AWCI.

Jasper52: The AWCI recommends tune-ups for timepieces. What is involved in a tune-up of a watch and what is the cost someone could expect to pay for a tune-up?

Jordan Ficklin: Fine timepieces are machines. They have components that can wear out. They require a clean, dry environment with proper lubrication. In order to ensure proper functioning, they need periodic maintenance. For modern mechanical wristwatches, the recommended service interval varies by manufacturer; but typically ranges between three and seven years. During a routine service, the watch is completely disassembled. The case is refurbished, and the gaskets are replaced to ensure continued protection of the movement. The movement (works) of the watch is also disassembled. Each component is checked for damage, cleaned, and reinstalled with fresh lubrication. It is a very delicate and time-consuming process. Prices can vary greatly based on many factors. For a Rolex, you could expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 for a service.

What advice would you offer regarding replacement of batteries?

Replacing batteries is not difficult, but even inexpensive quartz watches are quite fragile. Simply touching the wrong part of the watch can cause permanent damage. It is best to have a trained professional replace the battery in your watch. At the same time they change the battery they should also check and/or replace gaskets and test the water resistance of the watch.

Vermeil ivory dial tank watch, Cartier, circa 1980s. Entered in Jasper52 auction Feb. 12, 2017. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Jasper52 image

Since there isn’t a regulatory body for watchmakers, what are some of the considerations when selecting a professional to service a fine timepiece?

You can ask your watchmaker where he learned the art. Thirty years ago there were many watchmaking schools, but today there are fewer than a dozen operating in the United States. Being self-taught or not having apprenticed under a master doesn’t disqualify a potential watchmaker, but you will certainly want to learn more about their skill set.

More important than training or certification is the attitude of your watchmaker toward the profession. If you are able, you should take the time to meet the watchmaker. Don’t take up too much of his/her time, because they are busy – if they aren’t, they’re probably not the best in town. Find out how the watchmaker feels about the job, their attitude toward spare parts, tools, and continuing education. If you want a good watchmaker, you need one who loves what they do.

Insider Tip: Specific brands of watches require special tools to adjust timing, test for water resistance, and open the case back.

Can any watch problem be fixed, such as not keeping time accurately?

Watchmakers aren’t miracle workers. Your grandmother’s Bulova watch that was unadjusted when it left the factory will not keep perfect time unless your watchmaker adjusts it. This requires a lot of work and the watch probably isn’t worth it. But if your watch is a chronometer, you should expect it to keep time within its set specifications. Ask your watchmaker what their expectations are for the timekeeping of your watch and make sure they match your expectations. If your expectations are in line with the factory specifications, there should be no problem. If your expectations are higher than the factory specifications, a good watchmaker might charge you more for the necessary time to make the watch meet your expectations. Or, they may tell you that your expectations are out of line.

Ladies 18K white gold watch, Elgin, 1921. Entered in Jasper52 auction Feb. 12, 2017. Estimate: $550-$800

Watch repair can get expensive. Why is that?

Watchmaking is very labor-intensive and detailed work. You should expect to pay a good price for it. Remember, a watchmaker probably can’t do more than two complete watch services in a day. In terms of a warranty, the major brand service centers are now offering a two-year warranty on their repair work. Your watchmaker should match that warranty. For other watches you should expect six months to a year.

If you were to explain what it is about horology that you find so appealing, what would you say?

From the time I first was exposed to mechanical timepieces I was in love with the artistry and engineering. Starting with the ticking of the timepiece and then the regular motion of the gears, they are beautiful to watch. Trying to figure out how they work and troubleshooting problems adds to my enjoyment. I have found watchmaking to be an extremely rewarding career. I can start my day with a cherished but broken timepiece on my bench, and by the end of the day I have restored it to its former glory. When I return it to the customer, they are overjoyed to have it back in their life.


Jordan Ficklin is the executive director of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. He began his watchmaking journey in 2001, working at an independently owned jewelry store in Tucson, Arizona. He attended the Lititz Watch Technicum from 2004-2006 where he graduated with a WOSTEP Diploma and AWCI CW21. From 2006-2013 he worked as a watchmaker in a retail jewelry store in Albuquerque, N.M., and served on various committees at the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. In 2013, he was hired as the executive director of AWCI, where he now works full time promoting the professions of watchmaking and clockmaking.