Monaco’s jewellery and watch sale has 007 cool

James Bond and Lanvin’s Elie Top provide star sparkle

French auction house Artcurial’s annual summer sale in Monaco never disappoints in its curation of French Riviera-worthy bold and beautiful collectables. And while this year’s sales once more cover luxury watches, jewellery, Hermès handbags and fashion, set over four days from July 18 to 21 (with viewings from July 16), they have also been given a special sprinkling of stardust courtesy of James Bond and Parisian designer Elie Top.

rolex
rolex

The most anticipated watch lot is the Rolex Pre-Daytona Ref 6238 chronograph (bids from €200,000, second picture) that graced the wrist of George Lazenby in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The “watch for James Bond” – as the handwritten note says on the original invoice, for SFr790 (about £600) – was specifically adapted for the movie, and the one-of-a-kind showstopper comes in stainless steel with a brushed silver dial, tachymeter scale, baton numerals and red chronograph second hand. In addition to the aforementioned invoice, the winning bidder will also take home a black-and-white photograph (first picture) of Catherina von Schell and Lazenby entwined in a typical 007 embrace, the Rolex pictured front and centre.

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It will be the last lot to hammer down on Monday July 18, following some 270 other superb timepieces from the likes of Patek Philippe, Breguet and Heuer – whose square-dialled 1970 Monaco is estimated at €8,000-€10,000, and an example of which had a stylish cameo of its own in the film Le Mans with Steve McQueen. Women’s watches also make a strong showing, courtesy of a beautiful gold and lapis lazuli art-deco Boucheron creation (€5,000-€7,000), and a diamond-set Cartier cuff watch (€15,000-€20,000) that is through and through Monégasque.

illustration mentioned in text
illustration mentioned in text

Elie Top also adds celebrity glamour to the four-day sale; the artistic director of Lanvin jewellery has lent his eye and pen to some of the most outstanding lots across all the four categories by personally illustrating this year’s catalogue. The collaboration is a first for Artcurial, and among the best drawings are, unsurprisingly, a jewellery one (third picture) that features (all in same picture) a fabulous c1902 Georges Fouquet gold and enamelled Ailes pendant (€200,000-€250,000) fashioned from aquamarines, pearls, emeralds, opals and diamonds; a gorgeous diamond-set Lalique butterfly brooch (€70,000-€80,000) and a standout c1970s David Webb pendant brooch (€12,000-€15,000) exploding with lapis lazuli, turquoise and diamonds. Top is an avid collector of auction catalogues, and this one makes for an exceptional keepsake.

suzanne belperron, paire de clips de revers spire -©Artcurial
suzanne belperron, paire de clips de revers spire -©Artcurial | Image: © Artcurial

The jewellery lots span three centuries and other highlights include a pair of c1938 diamond, platinum and white and yellow-gold ear clips (€40,000-€50,000, fourth picture) that are signature Suzanne Belperron – an especially coveted name right now – while an eye-catching Van Cleef & Arpels brooch and necklace (€20,000-€30,000, fifth picture) with articulated onyx and pink-coral rings ooze 1970s cool.

5 lot 802 van cleef & arpels, rare collier et broche pendentif 
5 lot 802 van cleef & arpels, rare collier et broche pendentif  | Image: © Artcurial

Thursday July 21 also sees the 25th anniversary of the annual sale that raises funds for child-education charity Mission Enfance. Stellar lots among the bags, champagne and fine wines include Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags – 14 of which have been coolly reinterpreted by artists including Frenchman Gérard Traquandi, LA-based Brian Calvin and Flemish sculptor Johan Creten.

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