The Patek Philippe Chameleon has a similar vintage appeal as the AP. Who would’ve thought one of the most talked about lots of an auction season would be a time-only jewelry watch from 1949? That’s how rare this watch is. The only other example sits in the Patek Philippe Museum. A small (18mm small) Patek Philippe dial sits on a yellow-gold bracelet that’s been sculpted to look like a Chameleon, with the tale wrapping around the wrist. In the lead-up to seeing this watch, I heard all kinds of experts talking about the rarity and importance of the Chameleon (“perhaps the most important ladies Patek,” they’ll tell you). It’s a jarring look and I’d never claim it’s as elegant as its reptilian cousin, the Serpenti, but it kind of works in a “sure, let’s take the kids to the Rainforest Cafe” type of way. As another Hodinkee editor put it to me, the vibe is a little old lady. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that – my grandmother was super stylish in her own way, even if her house had that smell.
Antiquorum has an estimate of CHF 50,000 to 100,000 on the Chameleon, and given there’s only one other example and it sits in Patek’s museum, not to mention the amount of buzz around this watch, I’d be surprised if it didn’t scurry past the high estimate.