Christie’s Rare Watch Auction result suggests bottomless demand for collectible pieces

PATEK PHILIPPE. A platinum minute repeating instantaneous perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, ref. 5208P-001, circa 2011, sold for $750,000.

This week’s Christie’s Rare Watches auction in Switzerland focused more on volume than rival sales over the weekend, and generated over $12 million from the 221 lots, mainly consigned items from private collectors from Europe.

Phillips, with its neighboring Daytona Ultimatum auction brought in over $22 million, from just 32 Rolexes.

Both were successes, underlining the continuing enthusiasm for classic timekeepers from investors and collectors across the world.


Sabine Kegel, head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Department commented: “Over the past three days of viewing we welcomed over 1200 visitors from around the world. Today’s room was dynamic and unique and privately consigned watches drew strong interest. The balanced offering of vintage and modern watches was well received by all, including bidding via Christie’s Live, which increased by one third compared to November 2017. Many lots doubled, tripled or quadrupled their pre-sale estimates, such as lot 42, a Jaeger-LeCoultre, made for the 1952 Roland Garros tennis tournament, selling for CHF42,000 (one Swiss franc is roughly equal to one US dollar) against a pre-sale estimate of CHF10,000, or lot 46 a pocket-watch by Patek Philippe, manufactured in 1910, selling for CHF 175,000 against a low pre-sale estimate of CHF50,000. We are now looking forward to our next sale of Rare Watches in Hong Kong on 28 May.”

The sale included important private collections, the first, Rare Patek Philippe Timepieces from an Important Private Collection (lots 93-103), representing the most important single owner collection of modern Patek Philippe timepieces to come up for auction in recent years was fiercely contested with 10 out of the 11 watches finding buyers from five different countries and resulting in a total of CHF2,239,500.

The top lot of the section and the entire sale was Patek Philippe’s “Grand Complication” reference 5208P selling for CHF750,500. It is one of Patek Philippe’s most complicated wristwatches ever made, offered exclusively to the firm’s top clients. Preserved like new, the present platinum reference 5208P is only the second example to come to auction.

The Property of an Important Swiss Private Collector, lots 136-182, includes 47 mostly contemporary wristwatches compiled by the Swiss collector over the last decade and was highlighted by the two Richard Mille watches – first, RM011 R. Grosjean Lotus F1 Team selling for CHF187,500 and secondly, the RM030 Argentina Especial Limitata No. 26/30, which achieved CHF118,750. The entire collection totaled just under CHF1.2 million.


PATEK PHILIPPE. A 18k white gold and diamond-set chronograph wristwatch, ref. 5980/1400G-010, circa 2017 went for $612,500.


PATEK PHILIPPE. A 18K pink gold wristwatch with natural pearls, ref. 2573, manufactured in 1958 sold for $250,000.
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