Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – This is a week where spending your spare millions will be very easy in Geneva, the week when auctions are offering rare watches, an extraordinary emerald tiara and a bottle of Château Lafite-Rothschild, vintage 1887, Pauillac, 1er cru classé that would make grandfather sit up in his grave and ask for a glass.
Christies and Sotheby’s are outdoing themselves during the usual mid-May Geneva sales week. Sotheby’s, not too long before the British royal wedding when minds were on crowns and other state jewels, sent around a photo of the rare tiara that will be offered for sale Tuesday evening 17 May.
Most expensive auction Rolex goes for CHF1.04 million
But the week of rarefied goods began with Sotheby’s and Christies’s Important Watches sales
When the gavel went down Sunday evening 15 May on the final item at Sotheby’s, the firm could claim CHF7.75 million in sales, with a Patek Philippe watch alone going for CHF722,500. The 1960 watch, sold in 1962, belonged to a “distinguished gentleman” and is described as: “an extremely rare 18K yellow gold perpetual calendar, chronograph wristwatch with registers moon-phases and tachometer scale.”
The second most costly watch was just over CHF300,000, a 2007 Greubel Forsay watch.
They were overshadowed by the sale nearby at the Christies auction of a Rolex watch that set a new world record price for any Rolex wristwatch ever sold at auction, a “legendary, ultra-rare, split-seconds chronograph reference 4113″, sold for CHF1.035 million ($1.16m).
Made by Rolex in 12 examples, only eight of them are known to have survived.
Minds turn to royal galas again with emerald and diamond tiara
Tuesday 17 May is the big day in Geneva, though, with Sotheby’s putting up for auction at hotel Beau-Rivage what it describes as the “most expensive emerald and diamond tiara” to go on sale in the world in the past 3o years, a “slice of history”. It has an illustrious history, not all of it known, with auctioneer David Bennett saying the 11 emeralds were probably mined in Columbia in the 15th century, then traded several times, possibly worn by a maharajah, and they are believed to have been in the personal collection of Empress Eugénie.
The “tiara was commissioned circa 1900, possibly from the renowned jewelers Chaumet, by Guido Count von Henckel, First Prince von Donnersmarck, for his second wife Princess Katharina. At the height of Belle Epoque, court custom and etiquette in Europe required brilliant displays of jewellery to signify rank and social distinction. The tiara was de rigueur whenever royalty was present – at galas, state visits, opera, diplomatic receptions – and most women reserved their best stones for it”, notes Sotheby’s in its pre-sale materials.
The jewels are on display until Tuesday, with early sale items removed from view at 11:00 and the last batch removed from public viewing at 16:00.
A fine bottle of 1887 Bordeaux for a fraction of the price of emeralds
Those who find that tiaras and top of the line watches are out of their budget will be rubbing their hands over the beautiful collection of fine wines on offer at 10:00 and 14:00 Tuesday at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The 1887 Château Lafite-Rothschild is expected to fetch CHF1,000-1,500 for a single bottle, and a Château Margaux 1909 is estimated at just CHF400-500 for one bottle, but several lots include more than one bottle, such as the Château l’Angélus, vintage 1961, with seven bottles estimated at CHF4080-600.