Patek Philippe's The Lighthouse to star in Christie's Important Watches
Unpopular at first, Patek Philippe's The Lighthouse now appears as an auction highlight
A unique timepiece from Patek Philippe, dubbed The Lighthouse, is set to star in Christie's Important Watches auction on May 30.
Despite providing one of the many highlights in the Hong Kong sale, the watch was not alwaysa popular choicewith collectors. It comprises part of a collection of cloisonn enamel watches from the luxury brand which has since become known as the Ugly Duckling Series. The cloisonn dials were widely snubbed during the 1940-1960 production run, with customers favouring more traditional dial treatments. The vivid scenes of jungles, maps and polo players rendered with bright, often garish colours were considered too wild for Patek Philippe's customers, resulting in few of the watches being produced.However, the watches are expecting a resurgence with modern collectors, who value them not only for their unique designs, but the tremendous effort that goes into producing each of the miniscule scenes. The smallest speck of dust or dirt can ruin an enamelled dial completely and the firingprocess is equally sensitive. The example at auction, Patek Philippe ref. 2481, is an exceptional 18k pink gold wristwatch with sweep centre seconds. Featuring a cloisonn enamel lighthouse scene,it is estimated to sell for $200,000-300,000.Patek Philippe will also provide the top lot of the Christie's sale, with an extremely rare tourbillion wristwatch. Ref. 5016 was first introduced in very small numbers in 1994, with only five of the silvered dial examples appearing at auction since. As the second most complicated watch ever produced by the firm, it is expected to bring $450,000-650,000. Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb Longines Olympic Series watch currently in stock, offering a brilliant entry-level addition to any collection.