Christie’s in Dubai is claiming a new world record total of $14,120,250 for a watch auction held entirely online.
The result smashes Christie’s previous record for an online sale, which was set last December when its New York auction generated $7,743,37.
It is worth stopping to reflect on how far online transactions have changed over the past five years. It feels like a very recent conversation when the debate was over whether people would have sufficient confidence and trust to spend a few thousand dollars over the internet, or share sensitive financial information at all.
Now watch collectors are comfortable spending, in the case of the top lot at Christie’s Dubai Edit online sale, $1,590,000 for a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002, described as one of the most important watches ever made in modern history.
Two Gérald Genta watches sold for $500,000 and $300,000, ten times their pre-auction estimates.
Any auctioneer will tell you that the magic happens when two or more well-healed bidders want the same thing. The chances of this happening increase dramatically when, as was the case with Christie’s Dubai, they had 588 people participating in the auction from 37 countries.
It was possible to see the watches ahead of the auction, but travel restrictions into and out of Dubai made that impossible for most.
Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002 was inspired by the Star Caliber 2000, a double-sided pocket watch built to commemorate the new millennium, and has 12 complications including a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, moon age, leap year cycle, day of the week, month, date, fly back, minute repeater, sky chart, moon phases and orbit.
The reverse dial reveals the angular progression of the stars and moon from the Northern Hemisphere and allows the wearer to observe the waxing and waning of the Earth’s satellite.
Remy Julia, head of Dubai Watches Department and in charge of the Dubai Edit auction, says the record breaking result was made possible with sophisticated digital marketing to the public and state-of-the-art systems behind the scenes.
“These very strong results of the sale demonstrate the continued strength of Christie’s online platform and its ability to reach the broadest possible global audience, establishing the highest value online watches sale ever offered at Christie’s,” she suggests.
“This sale reinforces Christie’s online-first strategy and the strong appetite of our collectors from around the world. The sale opens the watch season 2021 on a very high level and will be remembered as one of the most exciting for Watches at Christie’s and the entire industry,” she adds.
Christie’s Dubai Edit results
Other noteworthy results included two Gérald Genta watches as well as a Patek Philippe ref 2499 3rd series.
La Grande Sonnerie No.1, in platinum ref G0025.7 by Gérald Genta was estimated at $30,000- 40,000 and sold for $500,000, while a yellow gold Grand Sonnerie No.3 by Genta achieved 10 times its low estimate, selling for $300,000.
The 1994 platinum Gérald Genta Ref G0025.7 has a mother of pearl dial with four subsidiary dials, tritium dot indexes, four auxiliary sectors with silent mode at 10 o’ clock, power reserve for chiming indication and going train, Grande et Petite Sonnerie indicator at 8, second 24-hour time zone, white gold tritium-coated hands. Its Cal. 31000, self-winding movement with Geneva Hallmark and tourbillon escapement drives alarm, calendar, minute repeater, power reserve indicator, tourbillon and dual time complications.
A Patek Philippe ref 2499, 3rd series sold also for $300,000.
Another Patek Philippe, this time ref. 5104P, a platinum and gold minute repeater with perpetual calendar, made in 2009, sold for $750,000.
A rare 1952 steel Rolex, triple calendar chronograph Snow Compax, ref 6036, tripled its pre- sale estimate and found a new owner at $350,000.