No prizes for guessing that of the top 40 watches sold at Antiquorum, Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s in November, 19 were made by Patek Philippe and 15 by Rolex
Anyone who followed this month’s watch auctions could well be feeling a little punch-drunk – after all, even the most ardent horophile might baulk at the prospect of more than 1,500 lots crossing the blocks of four different auction houses in the space of just four days and all within the tight confines of Geneva.
The high likelihood of market saturation suggests holding so many high-end sales of so many similar watches simultaneously should be doomed to failure; but the final figures spoke otherwise: despite this 96 hours of frantic bidding kicking-off with a £29.6 million spend by generous benefactors at the Only Watch charity sale, aficionados still managed to find a further £44.1m to offload at the regular charity-begins-at-home sales held by Antiquorum, Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s.
And while Phillips re-asserted its position as market leader with a stellar combined total of £17.6m for its Watch Auction X and Double Signed events, it was Christie’s that nailed the most expensive lot of the lot by conjuring £3.5m for a 1927 Patek Phillipe minute repeating wristwatch (above) originally made for Henry Graves Jr, probably the greatest patron Patek has ever indulged.
Phillips did, however, sell the second priciest non-charity watch of the long (long) weekend when it hammered down a brace of ultra-rare Rolex models for a healthy £1.5m apiece. The first was a 1942 Reference 4113 split-seconds chronograph – a model made in tiny numbers, with every one being distributed among a small group of top racing drivers – and the second a “Stelline” triple calendar (above) that once belonged to Continental Airlines boss Gordon Bethune.
Back at Christie’s, meanwhile, a 2005 Patek Philippe Reference 5016P minute-repeating tourbillon (above) sold for £676,000, having been consigned by its original owner who specified its unique red dial detailing.
In recent months we’ve seen strong money paid for Omegas and suggestions that Vacheron Constantin values could finally be heading up to where many pundits feel they belong – but the autumn sales in Geneva are traditionally seen as an indicator of where the vintage market is going and this year’s clearly indicate that the Patek Philippe/Rolex domination is likely to take some shifting: of the top 40 watches sold, 19 were by Patek and 15 by Rolex.
The monotony was at least broken lower down the price scale by occasional insurgents such as a Philippe Dufour Simplicity (£250,000, Phillips); an IWC Il Destriero Scafusia grand complication (£80,000, Antiquorum); a superb Forties Audemars Piguet chronograph (above) retailed by Gobbi of Milan (£106,500, Phillips) and a Richard Mille RM 055 “Bubba Watson” golf watch (below) that drew £135,500 at Christie’s.
But if you think it’s all over until next year, you couldn’t be more wrong – the watch auction circus now moves east to Dubai (Sotheby’s, 24 November) and Hong Kong (Bonhams and Phillips, 25/26 November; Christie’s, 27 November) before a stop-off back in Europe (Monaco Legend, 7 December; Bonhams London, 11 December) in advance of a grand finale in New York (Phillips, 10 December; Sotheby’s, 11 December; Christie’s, 12 December).
Powered by Facebook Comments