Geneva auction week smashes records in opening weekend

Patek 1938

Geneva auction week opened this weekend with two records smashed in as many days.

The first big surprise came at Sotheby’s Important Watches sale on Saturday when an 18ct gold Heuer Carrera chronograph, that was a gift from Jack Heuer to Swedish Formula One  driver Ronnie Peterson in 1972, went for 10 times its high estimate, achieving a record CHF 225,000 (£160,645). In 1972 the watch, which is engraved with the words “Success Ronnie Peterson from Jack W. Heuer.”,  was listed as costing CHF 950 new.

The watch comes with a gold ingot commemorating the Prix Rouge et Blanc Joseph Siffert award Ronnie Peterson won for his performance at the 1972 German Grand Prix at Nürburgring.

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Patek Philippe chronographs dominated Phillips Start-Stop-Reset 88 Epic Chronographs sale achieving fantastic sums such as Lot 30 – a Ref 130 from 1938 which sold for CHF 725,000 (£517,000) – and Lot 75 –  a ‘Anse a Ragno’ which achieved CHF 677,000 (£483,000).

But even these were overshadowed the headline act, a Rolex 4113 split seconds chronograph which took the record for a Rolex at auction, achieving CHF 2.4m (£1.7m).

Phillips new approach of introducing chronographs from brands with a wide range of estimates – not just the highest value Pateks and Rolexes – seemed to pay off. All of the Epic 88 sold, making this the auction house’s second 100% sold record in as many years.

Then on Sunday at Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction THREE, Aurel Bacs achieved CHF 1.45m (£1m) for Lot 135, a time-only stainless steel Patek Philippe with Breguet numerals.

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James Buttery

The author James Buttery

Editor of WatchPro, the WatchPro Hot 100 and The Luxury Report.