Cambi’s Auction “Wrist and Pocket Watches”, 5 December 2019

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After Geneva, it’s Milan’s turn, and IWS guides you through “Pocket and Wrist Watches“.

Take your agenda and write down:

December 5th, at 3 p.m.

Cambi Auction House

San Marco Street 22


The history of Cambi

Before discovering the lots, let’s find out together how this auction house, now Italy’s leader, was born.

In 1998,  Matteo and Sebastian Cambi, based on the idea of Marcello Cambi, founded the Auction House in Genoa, near Salita della Tosse. The adventure begins with the sale of maritime art art and scientific instruments, which gave life to the House’s first department. In the following years, thanks to a wise and forward-looking plan, Cambi conquers several milestones and opens various departments, including  Modern and Contemporary Art, Jewelry and Precious and others, reaching today a total of 25.

In 2017, the House is witnessing a turning point: with a turnover of 35.000.000€, Cambi is the most important auction house in Italy.
Following this record, which it still intact, the House decides to open, in 2018, a second office. After Genoa, it’s now time for Milan, where the Cambi family settles in San Marco Street 22, exactly where the December 5th auction will be held.

It was in 2015, however, when the decision that led us to write about Cambi today was made. That’s, in fact, the year when the Wrist Watches Department was opened, now directed by the Verga Family, with Umberto as manager.

And this is the department that we are going to focus on today, discovering together next auction’s top 10 lots.

Top 10

Packed with high-end pieces, the Milan Auction “Wrist and Pocket Watches” boasts 175 lots, many of which are offered with an affordable estimate.

In short, if you will happen to be in the room on December 5th in San Marco Street 22 at 15:00, you will have the opportunity to win some great value sought-after pieces, for a more than honest price.
For those who have “wider pockets”, don’t worry, there is room for you too…

Let’s start with the 5 most important lots, collecting and monetary speaking, of the whole auction.

Lot 137

If you have studied our guide a little bit and seen our stories yesterday, you already know it.
We are talking about the Rolex GMT Master Ref.1675, but not just any one….

The estimate of 30,000 – 45,000€ is in fact due to its special configuration: MK1,“boccuccia storta” (italian for “crooked mouth”, due to the opening of the crown on the dial), in excellent condition and with box and papers, really rare to find today! 
(For technical terms we leave you to our guide on the Rolex GMT Masters, which you can find here.)

Lot 156

The Rolex Submariner “MilSub” par excellence, the  Ref.5517, is presented by Cambi in this Lot 156.
It is a reference produced by Rolex for military use only, especially for the British Army.

Features of this reference are the “sword” hands, the “T” on the dial and the fully graduated bezel.

The estimate for this piece, proposed as “in need of service”, takes in consideration its collectable value and is 90,000 – 130,000€.

Lot 169

Nautilus fever is affecing everyone in 2019… Imagine what would happen if a reference remained in production for only eight months?!

Here, with the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref.3712 that happened to precede the 5712. It is different to that last model in the index at 7, in a thinner and more “squared” case and many other details that a true collector and aficionado couldn’t miss.

No wonder, then, that the estimate is 90,000 to 120,000€ for this watch, which was at the time (2005) the most complicated Nautilus ever put into production.

Lots 168 and 171

The ref. 3970EP represents the third generation of Patek Philippe‘s Ref.3970, one of the most important chronographs with  perpetual calendar from the Maison.

This version, however, has two more letters that, for those who know Patek Philippe, mean something specific.
The “E“in fact stands for “Etanche“, that means “waterproof”  (thanks to the screw-down back, transparent or in platinum) while the”P“stands for the material,  platinum, as you learned in our video. In addition, compared to the “canonicals” 3970, this one has stick hands and pencil indices.

It is present in two lots of the auction:
In Lot 171 we see it in the diamond version, still sealed in plastic. Finding a piece in these conditions is almost impossible today, and this makes you understand the estimate of  80.000 – 120.000€.
In Lot 168 the estimate drops to  70.000 – 100.000€, due to the absence of the seals and diamonds indexes.

Whichever version you choose, know that you are taking home a milestone of watchmaking in one of its most refined and surprising versions.

Lot 174

What happens if we take a Patek Philippe chronograph and add a perpetual calendar and a rattrapante? We get the Ref.5004, one of the most interesting ever created by the maison, featuring the Geneva Seal.

The piece pictured below, which will be auctioned in a few days and estimated at 80.000 – 140.000€, is in excellent shape and complete with its kit.
If you like to “complicate your life” and wear a holy grail of watchmaking, put a bookmark on Lot 174.

Now we present 5 more particular lots and on which, in our opinion, it is good to keep an eye on.

Lot 19

Even Patek Philippe agrees: a perpetual calendar is in gold.
And what could be better than a perpetual calendar with yellow gold case and bracelet, with white dial?!

If you are looking for a watch to stand out with, suitable for any age and any wallet, you are on the right lot.
With 6.000 to 8.000€ you can bring home this IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar.
You can thank us later 🙂

Lot 38

If you prefer “simple” chronographs over perpetual calendars, with a Longines 13ZN like this it’s hard to go wrong.
Mentioned in our article on the “Tre Tacche“, this chronograph is among the new rising stars of watchmaking in terms of history and quality.

In our opinion, this could be a good long-term investment: we saw how last years’ market has begun to like and re-evaluate Longines “Tre Tacche” models, pushing their price higher every auction.

This exact piece, then, has a magnificent “stepped” case and a very enjoyable patina on the dial.

Estimated at 8.000 – 10.000€, remember to raise up your paddle on Lot 38!

Lot 81

Let’s go back to Patek Philippe, again with a chronograph, this time Ref.130.

Nothing special for many, yet it turns out to be a must have chrono for several collectors. Perhaps because it describes Patek’s typical canons: essentiality, elegance and sobriety.
A detail to notice? The “Spade/whip” hands. It isn’t easy, in fact, to find them on such a reference…

With an estimate between  20.000  and  45.000€, we recommend you try to make it your own, hoping that the strap will bring you luck winning this 130.

Lotto 99

Room to the independents!

As usual, there is always room for creativity and good things on IWS. And then: how often do you find a De Bethune for auction in Milan?! If that’s what you’re looking for, you found it.

With an estimate of 14.000 to 20.000€, this DB08R is a beautiful example of mono-pusher chronograph, in which all chronographic functions are accessed by the crown.
The funniest part is that, if you don’t know, it’s very easy to think that that’s just a simple time-only. In fact, chronometric scales and also the counters at 3 and 9 are completely missing.

Lot 126

When you say top it off, you mean just this.

Audemars Piguet. Skeletonized. Perpetual calendar. Diamond-set.
How many of you have already turned on, even in the first two words? Well, it’s not a dream, it’s reality.

Of course, it is not an easy piece, neither to wear nor to really appreciate, but the estimate leaves no time to think. You can’t even find a used Nautilus 5711 anymore at 28.000 to 40.000€, yet this is the figure to which this piece is estimated to be sold.

May the era of perpetual calendars be over?! Impossible.
Is it time to buy them?! Make your choices…wisely!

See you there!

We don’t have enough space to mention all the interesting lots, and then, what life would be without a bit of suspense?

We therefore recommend you to inspect the catalog, where you will find, among the others, some great annual and perpetual calendars (in particular Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin) at excellent prices, a pair of very refined Rolexes and even an  Atmos, recently discussed on our website, as Lot 170.

If you then come to the auction and you are lucky, who knows, maybe you will even have a coffee with ItalianWatchSpotter…

Translated by Lorenzo Spolaor

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