This weekend’s Only Watch auction held in Geneva produced some truly extraordinary results including the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch.
The biennial charity auction sells off piece unique watches created by some of the world’s most prestigious brands in aid of research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which founder Luc Pettavino’s son Paul suffers from.
This weekend, the sixth edition of the auction raised CHF 11.2m (£7.4M) with sale of 45 unique pieces, with world renowned auctioneer Aurel Bacs taking up the gavel.
The steel Patek Philippe Ref.5016A-010 which features tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar with moon phase and was initially produced between 1993 and 2011. This version additionally features a retrograde date hand and was the only version ever to have been in steel.
Commentators had speculated that, given the right people being in the auction room, the watch had every attribute needed to become the most expensive wristwatch ever sold and sure enough, it went for CHF 7.3m (£4.8m) taking the record, with a phone bid taken in English by Phillips’ Paul Maudsley, director of the auction house’s London watch department.
But the sale’s biggest shock was predicted by no-one. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay One signalled the arrival of the recent serially produced Tudor Black Bay Black but differed in its hands, lettering and bezel to fairly dramatic effect. All estimates at the sale were based on the retail price of the serially produced equivalent (the Black Bay Black will sell in the UK for £2,300) and thus were bound to be low. Many expected the Tudor to far exceed its estimate given how well images of the watch were received on social media and that neither Tudor (not Rolex) have ever produced a piece unique before.
But no-one expected the Heritage Black Bay One to sell for nearly 108 times that estimate with the gavel finally dropping at CHF 375,000 (£247,776). Not bad for a watch that presumably uses the same ETA 2824 found in the rest of the Black Bay collection.