Christie’s Watches Online: Top of the Time auction ended March 20 featured the sale of one of the most complicated watches on earth: Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002G-001. The watch fetched a price of HKD 45,450,000 or around PHP315,000,000 (+/-USD 5.79M). The complications of the 6002G include an acoustically superb minute repeater with two ‘cathedral’ gongs, and a tourbillon. The front dial indicates the hours and minutes of standard time (mean solar time) and displays the perpetual calendar with a retrograde date, months at 3 o’clock, days of the week at 9 o’clock, leap-year indication at 12 o’clock and moon phases at 6 o’clock. The second dial displays the astronomical functions with star chart of the northern sky, hands indicating sidereal time, extremely precise moon phases showing the rising and setting orbit of the moon. The case features two crowns, the lower crown for winding and the setting of the hour and minute hands, the upper crown for setting the sidereal hands, starscape and moon’s orbit.
Another Patek Philippe Grande Complication (Ref. 5208P-001) was sold for HKD 7,812,000 or around PHP 54,000,000 (+/- USD 1M). The 5208P brings together some of the all-time great horological complications; a minute repeater; a monopusher chronograph, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar displayed in apertures along an arc ; a moon phase and day and night indication. This highly sophisticated combination of functions comprises 719 parts, hand-finished throughout in accordance with the great Genevan tradition. Most importantly, reference 5208P is one of very few ultra-complicated watches fitted with a self-winding mechanism.
Other than the Pateks, a Gerald Genta was sold at a price which is much higher than the estimates. The Gerald Genta Platinum Skeletonized Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar watch was sold for HKD 819,000 or over PHP 5,600,000 (+/- USD 100,000). As mentioned, the skeletonized watch features a minute repeater and a perpetual calendar.
For Rolex watches, there is an indication of the stabilization of prices after the big dip at the end of 2022. Two Submariners Ref. 16610LV (“Kermit”) sold for HKD 163,800 or PHP 1,135,000 (+/-USD 20,800) and HKD 189,000 or PHP 1,300,000 (+/-USD 24,000). Daytonas were also sold at healthy prices such as a Ref. 116509 at HKD 302,400 or around PHP 2,100,000 (+/- USD 38,500).
A respected leader in business, Alice Eduardo is the President and CEO of one of the largest construction companies Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation. She is also fondly called as the “Woman of Steel” in reference to her involvement in the construction industry.
What many people do not know is that one of the key pillars behind her success is her mastery of time. This mastery of time and her love for machines is manifested through her vast collection of timepieces. Alice was gracious enough to share with Watch Manila some of her favorite timepieces.
Before we take a peek at some of her watches, let us first understand how Alice has commanded time to be on her side.
Master of Time
Most of the people usually deal with the struggle of work-life balance. This, however, is not the case with Alice. Instead of drawing a fine line between work and life, Alice strives to harmonize both. This is how she manages to exceed both the strong demands of work and family life.
Aside from being a full-time boss at Sta. Elena, Alice is likewise a hands-on mother to her wonderful children. Furthermore, Alice makes sure to have breakfast daily with her parents. Weekends are usually reserved for bonding with her children, her parents, and her siblings with their families.
Her close relationship with her family fuels her with positive energy to hurdle her work throughout the week. This is why Alice is laser-focused when she’s working, resulting to success. Her business success, in turn, allows her to spend more quality time with her family. The cycle which Alice has created is one worth emulating as both work and family do not sacrifice for each other.
When the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, Alice gave an even greater emphasis on family bonding and quality time. Alice knows that time is something which you can never buy. And this is why she makes sure to give time and prioritize the people and the things that really matter in life.
To be constantly reminded of how precious time is, Alice has steadily collected a handful of fine timepieces.
Beginnings of her Collection
As with many watch collectors, Alice Eduardo’s first notable and expensive watch was a Rolex Datejust in two-tone. The Datejust was the standard go-to watch for business leaders from the 1980s up to the 2000s. Not long after, Alice purchased a gold Rolex Datejust in a President bracelet. Next, Alice moved deeper into the world of watches as she purchased a Patek Philippe Nautilus and a Patek Philippe Aquanaut.
By the late 2000s, Alice’s watch collection was already notable. This is the time when she stumbled upon a then little-known brand called Richard Mille. Alice recalls that when she first saw a Richard Mille watch in a boutique window in Singapore it was “love at first sight”. She describes the watch design with the brand’s tagline “a racing machine on the wrist”. Alice then entered the store to try on the RM-07 which she initially expected to be heavy. To her surprise, the watch was very light. Not long after she visited Singapore, Alice purchased her first Richard Mille, the RM-07, in the brand’s boutique in Beverly Hills.
The RM-07 would soon be joined by several other Richard Mille models, including the RM-037 and the RM-067. Her love for the Richard Mille watch brand has led her to become friends with Mr. Richard Mille himself and his family. In fact, during one event which Mr. Mille hosted in Paris, he confided to Alice that the RM-023 is so “you”. Eventually and unsurprisingly, Alice purchased the watch.
Alice also adores her other watches aside from Richard Mille. Among her other favorites are her Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Patek Philippe Aquanaut. She also has watches from other well-loved brands such as Cartier, Audemars Piguet, and Roger Dubuis, among others.
Lessons in Buying Watches
Considering her extensive experience in collecting watches, there are three lessons which everyone can learn from Alice when buying a watch: 1. You must like the watch; 2. Buy to commemorate; and 3. Always remember that the most important thing the watch represents is time itself.
When you buy a watch, you have to keep in mind that you will be the one using it. As such, you have to make sure that the watch is comfortable and is visually appealing to you. The watch you purchase will accompany you for a long time and it is important that you choose a watch which you like and not what others like.
Alice is one who believes in commemorating certain milestones with watches. She points out to several watches in her collection which represented some of the major projects which she closed. You may also purchase a watch to commemorate the birth of a child or an important anniversary milestone. At times, you do need to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved so far in life and a timepiece serves as a great reminder.
Lastly, Alice knows that all the watches she’s accumulated are merely reminders of God’s gift of time. While we can appreciate the beauty, the craftsmanship, and the complications of a timepiece, we always need to be reminded that the biggest value in watches is what it ultimately represents: time itself and how we spend it.
Alice Eduardo is a truly inspiring woman. With time on her side, Alice continues to work on her projects and dream even bigger. Alice lives by the quote “if you are willing to work hard, you can achieve anything. No structure is too grand, or task too difficult. No dream is out of reach.” Alice is living proof that hard work coupled with the understanding of time pays off.
Currently, it can be said that the most sought-after watches are the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Rolex Daytona. Some may have a longer list, but globally, the three watches are some of the hardest to get. The three watches have made their contentions on why the watch collecting world wants them. However, there is one watch which I believe many people are missing out on. I’m talking about the Vacheron Constantin Overseas.
The story of the Overseas started in 1977 with the launch of the sports watch Vacheron Constantin ref. 222. The reference is in relation to Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd anniversary. The watch was designed by then 24 year old Jorg Hysek. The 222 was produced in a limited run of 500 pieces in all metal and dial variations. One of the highlights of the 222 is that it features a small Maltese cross (the logo of Vacheron Constantin) near the 5 o’clock marker, outside of the bezel.
In 1996, Vacheron Constantin launched the Overseas. This watch was the successor to the 222. It was more refined and it was the first model which had hints of the Maltese cross on its bezel. Noticeable in this model is that the bracelet looks like an ordinary watch bracelet, without any unique design. Internally, it still did not feature an in-house movement.
In 2004, the Overseas was updated again. Aesthetic improvements include the newer bracelet and a stronger accent of the Maltese cross on the bezel. The 2004 update features for the first time the middle part of the bracelet having some design elements of the Vacheron Constantin logo integrated in it. At this point, mechanisms are still modified movements of other brands, including Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The current iteration of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas was launched in 2016. The model has perfected the integration of tradition with modernity. The current Overseas models range from the simple self-winding ones up to the complicated models with tourbillons, perpetual calendars, moon phases, and more. The Overseas now feature in-house movements. All the movements feature the Hallmark of Geneva, or the “Geneva Seal”. Watches given the Geneva Seal have been thoroughly tested for quality.
Commonalities of the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and Overseas
It is important to note that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas (previously 222) shared three notable things: decade of launch, base of movement, and unibody design.
All three watches were launched in the 1970s, during the time when quartz seriously threatened the Swiss watch industry.
All three watches used movements based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 920.
Lastly, the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and the Overseas all had a unibody design wherein the metal bracelet was integrated to the watch case.
Why should every serious watch collector have a Vacheron Constantin Overseas?
Made by Vacheron Constantin
Anything made by Vacheron Constantin is guaranteed to be of the highest standards. Vacheron Constantin leaves no aspect undone, both externally and internally. The materials used in the case and the bracelet are solid and are of quality. The movement, as mentioned earlier, features the coveted Geneva Seal.
When you purchase the Overseas, you get a metal band (steel or gold), a rubber strap, and a leather strap. Switching is made easy through a quick change mechanism. The best part of it all is that the Overseas looks good in all of the bands. With the inclusion of the three bands, you have a watch which can adapt to any situation.
Despite the long lines for the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Rolex Daytona, these watches can be seen all over the place. There’s just an irony that it is unavailable but then many people have it. Due to the increasing prices brought about by speculation, these watches have lost some intrinsic value as they have become commodities and trading items for some. The Overseas does not suffer from the problem of long lines and price speculation. You will be able to purchase and obtain an Overseas in a similar time as you would with any Vacheron Constantin piece. You will also be secured in knowing that there are not much people who purchase and flip the Overseas for a higher price. And lastly, you will be happy to know that you will likely be the only person wearing the Overseas in a room at any given time.
People are asking why the Overseas has not reached the same level of cult-like following as with the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and the Daytona.
The easiest answer would be that Vacheron Constantin is not as aggressive in marketing the watch. Another answer is that there are much fewer celebrities and known personalities wearing the watch.
But then again, does Vacheron Constantin really want that attention? I would say that the attention is not needed. Watchmaking perfection is not dependent on the attention a watch gets. Watchmaking perfection depends on the craftsmanship of the watch combined with the appreciation of a person. Given this, I can say that the Overseas is truly a masterpiece and it remains a watch reserved for those with greater discernment in watches. There is absolutely no need for a cult-like following to understand that the Overseas is an absolute treasure.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas is available through its boutique. Starting price of the quartz model (33mm) is at P770,000. Starting price of the self-winding models are at P1,050,000. (37mm) and P1,130,000 (41mm).