Adrian Hailwood, Dreweatts' Senior Watch Specialist, discusses highlights from the selection of watches in Fine Jewellery, Watches, Silver and Objects of Vertu, on 28 November
The sedate ‘tick-tock’ of passing seconds is usually associated with elegant long-case clocks and their slow-swinging pendulums. Watches, both pocket and wrist, tend to beat much faster, slicing their seconds into finer segments.
Before quartz watch movements made a ticking second hand ubiquitous and cheap, it took an additional complication in order to produce this effect. Such ‘dead-beat’ or ‘true-beat’ watches gave an impression of greater precision and made reading the time to the exact second easier, even if time-keeping was not actually improved.
In modern watchmaking, a true-beat movement is part of the theatre of watch ownership; like a tourbillon it is horological ‘showing off’ done just because you can. It provides the novelty of a ticking watch that is not a quartz. The Arnold & Son DSTB (Dial Side True Beat) takes this sense of theatre one stage further, locating the regulating mechanism on the dial in plain view. For students of watchmaking it is a master class in how this venerable complication functions, for others there is a mesmerising, hypnotic fascination as the levers click back and forth, releasing the seconds hand one step at a time.
What a difference a decade makes… Heuer’s Carrera 2447s from 1964 is the epitome of stripped-down, elegant legibility. At 36mm it was just the kind of watch that a gentleman racer might wear to the track and the keep on his wrist for dinner.
The Carrera 1153S is from the early 1970s an era when, style wise, more was more. Here we get more colours, bigger hands and indices, a tachymetric scale, a date function, auto winding and a bigger case. Possibly sportier, more eye-catching, the same name but a very different beast.
When it was introduced in 1997, the Aquanaut was a radical departure for Patek Philippe. Granted, the brand already had a sports watch in the Nautilus, but this still held onto design cues from its birth in the mid-70s. The Aquanaut was unashamedly modern and sported a moulded rubber strap, not as an afterthought, but designed to match the hobnail design of the dial.
20 years later the Aquanaut still feels modern, and for ladies, despite sitting alongside the Nautilus and the updated 24, it still feels like the sportiest watch in the collection.
AUCTION DATE & LOCATION
Wednesday 28 November | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2JE
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