Bonhams December Watch Sale shows momentum still strong for rarest pieces


An 18k white gold Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phase (pictured above) smashed its pre-sale estimate of £60-80,000 at the Bonhams December Fine Watch sale; going under the hammer for £96,250, the highest price achieved in the sale.

Overall demand for luxury vintage watches showed little sign of slowing, with 84% of lots selling above their reserve price for a total value of £1,463,750.

Jonathan Darracott, global head of watches commented: “This sale was filled with interesting pieces, and followed the current trend of exceeding expectations. It is a highly positive reflection of the current watch market, and we are thrilled to be ending the year with a successful sale.”


A number of Patek Philippe watches performed well throughout the sale, including a rare Patek Philippe ‘tool watch,’ (Ref:3417), the first anti-magnetic watch to be produced in series which sold for £56,250.

From Rolex, the stainless steel military issue Submariner (ref:5513) was the top performer. Originally designed for Special Forces under strict guidelines issues by the Ministry of Defence, the watch benefitted from Tritium luminous paint and oversized hands for clear legibility in time-sensitive combat situations. The watch’s rarity pushed its price up to £47,500 in the sale room.


The watch given to Special Forces before the Submariner was the Omega Seamaster 300 Ref:154.024. Bonhams says they rarely come to market because many were lost or destroyed by military men eager to get their hands on the newer watch on offer. The story and the rarity was reflected in the final price achieved today of £38,125.


It was not just the always eye-catching Pateks and Rolexes that did well at the auction. An unexpected highlight of the sale was an 18ct rose gold manual wind handmade wristwatch from the independent Finnish watchmaker Voutilaninen.

It was the last lot of the sale and eventually realised £63,750, over double its initial estimate of £25,000-30,000.


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