Luxury in Asia,  Timepieces

A First-Of-Its-Kind Horological Art Exhibition Contemporary Featuring Watch Portraits by Fabio Santinelli “Daytona Perpetual”


Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is honoured to host a first-of-its-kind horological exhibition in Geneva that pays tribute to one of the most revered collectors’ watches of the late 20th and early 21st centuries: The automatic Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

Illustrating its historical importance, noted collector, authority and scholar Pucci Papaleo – widely recognized as “Mr. Daytona” – is producing a highly anticipated tome to be released in the Fall of 2017 titled “Daytona Perpetual”. Dedicated to some of the rarest and most beautiful examples of the model, and with photography by the eminent Italian watch photographer, Fabio Santinelli, images from “Daytona Perpetual” will be on display during the Phillips international travelling exhibition along with a selection of 30 important and exceptional automatic Rolex Daytona watches. A prototype of “Daytona Perpetual”, to be officially launched in November 2017, will be prominently displayed. The opening of the international exhibition will take place in Geneva from 11 May to 14 May at Hôtel La Réserve, showcased alongside the timepieces of Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE.

Phillips, the international auction market leader for vintage and contemporary collectors’ watches, doesn’t limit its mission to bringing rare and original timepieces to auction, but sees its expanded role as a supporter and ambassador for the entire watch industry, and in doing so will exhibit this unprecedented “Horological Art” exhibition throughout 2017 across the globe.

blankFabio Santinelli looks back on a distinguished career as the man who is recognized for having the sharpest eye when it comes to capturing the beauty, depth, minute details, and precision of the world’s most precious timekeepers in front of his lens. It comes as no surprise that Papaleo and Santinelli have previously partnered on several book projects including, most notably “Ultimate Rolex Daytona” – the landmark tome that is, in terms of quality, scholarship, text and photography, considered the ultimate book dedicated to this iconic model. Santinelli is also known for having been responsible for the photography of several highly successful thematic auctions, including Phillips’ START-STOP-RESET and Rolex Milestones in 2016.

The 30 privately owned, rare and exceptional automatic Rolex Daytona watches on exhibit will range from sporty stainless steel versions to elegant gold versions, and will also include extremely rare examples set with precious stones. Amongst the rarest variants, included will be examples fitted with porcelain dials from the earliest years of production as well as extremely rare retailer-signed examples, including models signed by Tiffany & Co., the prestigious American retailer.

A hint of history…

In 1988 a horological earthquake shook the industry when Rolex broke with its tradition and launched their very first automatic Cosmograph Daytona – a chronograph model that had already attained legendary status in its manual winding versions. The first automatic Daytona models were powered by the Rolex caliber 4030, based on the Zenith El Primero – the most accurate self-winding chronograph movements of its era. Today, the first generation of automatic Daytona is considered an icon – produced for 13 years before being replaced by a new generation of Daytona models powered by Rolex’s own in-house movement.

blankThe opening and first leg of the international exhibition will be held in Geneva from 11 May to 14 May at Hôtel La Réserve, followed by Hong-Kong from May 25 to 29, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel during Hong-Kong watch auction: FOUR. The exhibition will then fly to London in Phillips’ HQ at Berkeley Square from July 10 to 28 – and finally New York from October 20 to 26, at the Phillips NY Gallery at 450 Park Avenue.

Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant, states, “Through this first of its kind exhibition, we are very proud bring to light the significance of Rolex’s first ever self-winding chronograph model, the automatic Cosmograph Daytona, working together with the noted Daytona scholar, Pucci Papaleo. Launched in 1988 on the 25th anniversary of the first Cosmograph Daytona, the automatic Daytona was a courageous undertaking by Rolex. Sourcing what was the world’s most robust and accurate self-winding chronograph caliber, Rolex extensively modified Zenith’s El Primero to create what became a smashing success by all measures. The watch sold out immediately around the world after its introduction, with clients forced to wait as long as 7 years to acquire one. Decades later, it’s clear the introduction of the automatic Daytona catapulted Rolex’s most desired chronograph model to a mythical status. We’re thrilled to showcase some of the world’s finest examples with Pucci Papaleo and the esteemed photographer, Fabio Santinelli through our horological art exhibition, Contemporary Watch Portraits.”

The team of specialists at Phillips Watches is dedicated to an uncompromised approach to quality, transparency, and client service, and as a result, in just two years since launching, achieved market leadership with sales of over $107 million in 2016. With multiple world records including the highest result ever achieved for a wristwatch sold at auction, Phillips became the undisputed worldwide market leader with just two selling locations – Geneva and Hong Kong – in 2016.

blankA selection of their recent record-breaking prices:

•        Patek Philippe reference 1518 in stainless steel – Geneva Watch Auction FOUR – 12 November 2016 (11,002,000 CHF / US $11,000,000) – Highest result ever achieved for a wristwatch at auction

•        Patek Philippe 2499 (19,720,000 HKD / US $2,538,000) – Hong Kong Watch Auction: TWO – 31 May 2016 – Highest result ever achieved for any wristwatch sold at auction in Asia

•        Rolex reference 4113 (2,405,000 CHF / US $2,453,000) – START-STOP-RESET – 14 May 2016 – Highest result ever achieved for any Rolex sold at auction

Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world. Visit for further information.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

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