Mysterious Collector’s Patek Philippe “Titanium Collection” at Auction

Today in New York City, Sotheby’s is auctioning off one of the most unique haute horlogerie collections in the world. Known as The Titanium Collection, this group of specially commissioned Patek Philippe wristwatches is the result of an anonymous collector’s unique vision.

Comprised of 11 pieces, The Titanium Collection features five new titanium examples by Patek Philippe. Until now, only four Patek Philippe models in this high-tech material were known to exist. It also features bespoke watches, including three previously-unrecorded reference numbers, and an historically important vintage model.

Here’s an exclusive look at our favorites from The Titanium Collection:

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5001T (Lot 30)
The first titanium version of the Ref. 5001 ever seen at market, this perpetual calendar watch features 12 complications, including tourbillon, retrograde date, sky chart, moonphases, orbit display, sidereal time, day, month, and minute repeater on cathedral gongs. Produced in 2000, this piece is distinguished from its successor, the Ref. 5002, by its titanium case, the Roman numerals placed on the bezel, the basket weave on the dial and caseband, and the un-abbreviated cardinal points on the caseback’s celestial chart. It is expected to fetch between $1,000,000 – $1,500,000.

Patek Philippe Gondolo Ref. 5033T (Lot 80)
This piece is the only known titanium example of the 5033, which features a coussin-tortue case inspired by the Art Deco period. An automatic annual calendar minute repeating wristwatch, the Ref. 5033T features a two-tone grey dial with a guilloch√© center and stretched black numerals. According to Sotheby’s, the production of a special titanium case such as this would have required specific tooling, adding greatly to the cost of production and increasing the value of this piece. It was produced in 2003. It is expected to fetch between $400,000 – $600,000.

Patek Philippe Platinum Ref. 5103P (Lot 81)
Produced in 2004, this unique perpetual calendar bears the previously-unrecorded reference number 5103, and is thought to be the prototype of the 5104, which was unveiled in 2007 (and replaced this year by the 5304). The openworked dial showcases the Caliber R27 PS QR, a highly decorated automatic lever movement and the special transparent blue enamel feuille hands. Functions include retrograde date, moonphase, leap year, day and month indicators, as well as small seconds. The caseband is decorated with a modified lotus bud motif. It is expected to fetch between $500,000 – $700,000.

Patek Philippe Flawless Officer Ref. 3928T (Lot 141)
While this 33mm Officer-style titanium wristwatch may appear to be the epitome of discreet Patek Philippe luxury, the caseback reveals an extraordinary surprise. What at first glance appears to be a sapphire crystal is in fact a 9.44 carat D color emerald-cut diamond. Indeed, this square diamond is so flawless that the Caliber 177 manual winding nickel lever movement, stamped with the seal of Geneva, is clearly visible on this unique caseback. Meanwhile, the silvered dial features applied titanium Breguet numerals and hands. The Flawless Officer Ref. 3928T was produced in 2003. It is expected to fetch between $300,000 – $500,000.

Patek Philippe Hieroglyph Ref. 3998T (Lot 142)
This automatic titanium wristwatch is undoubtedly one of the most unique watches ever produced by Patek Philippe. Inside a 34mm case, the silvered dial features Egyptian hieroglyphs, complemented by feuille hands, center seconds and a date window at 3 o’clock. It was produced in 2002.

We also saw two more hieroglyph-style pieces, all of which were commissioned by The Titanium Collection’s mysterious owner. The Hieroglyph Ref. 3998J (Lot 143) and the Hieroglyph Ref. 3998J (Lot 144) are both in yellow gold. Each of the three pieces features a unique combination of hieroglyphs. Each piece is expected to fetch between $8,000 – $12,000.

Hieroglyph Ref. 3998J (Lot 143)
Hieroglyph Ref. 3998J (Lot 144)

Patek Philippe Aviator Ref. 5110P (Lot 164)
This platinum automatic world time wristwatch is thought to be a unique piece. Produced in 2000, it features a 24-hour indication customized for Doha, and unlike the standard platinum 5110, all locations are given in abbreviated format, with some appearing as international airport codes. The silvered dial features a guilloché center and a chapter ring calibrated for 24 hours (with daytime hours in light grey, and nighttime hours in black). It is expected to fetch between $40,000 Р$60,000.

Patek Philippe’s First Split-Seconds Chronograph Wristwatch
The sole vintage timepiece in The Titanium Collection, this historically important model is the smallest known of its kind, and is one of the three earliest Patek Philippe complication wristwatches known. Since it was exhibited at Patek Philippe’s museum in Geneva from 2001-2005 before entering the possession of the current owner, it is also considered to be a prototype for the Ref. 5959, which Patek Philippe introduced in 2005. It is expected to fetch between $800,000 – $1,200,000.

For more information about the Important Watches auction, please visit the Sotheby’s website. Photo credit: Haute Time.

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