Sotheby’s international watch auctions have had one of their most successful seasons in history with sales of $59 million in the first six months of 2019, a year on year increase of 54%.
Momentum is carrying into the second half, with sales worth $12 million in July, thanks to the sale of a George Daniels pocket watch for $4.6 million at its Masterworks of Time sale and a total of $1.2 million from last month’s Omega Speedmaster: To the Moon and Back auction.
“We are delighted to be market leaders at a time when the global watches market is thriving. Our talented international team has been relentless in their pursuit of exceptional property for our auctions, and we are deeply appreciative of the support and trust of our buyers and sellers which has now made Sotheby’s the number one auction house for watches so far this year. We look forward to an equally exciting second half to the year, along with many more opportunities to share our passion with collectors and continue to present them with world-class timepieces,” says Sam Hines, global head of Sotheby’s Watches.
In a run-through of the season highlights, Sotheby’s reveals that it sold 12 timepieces for over $500,000 this year and 108 for more than $100,000.
Online sales rose by 85% over the same period in 2018 and over half of all lots sold are now secured by online bidders.
Records broken in 2019 include a world record for a timepiece by an independent watchmaker, an English watch, and highest price achieved for a watch at auction this year with the George Daniels’ “Space Traveller I”, from the “Masterworks of Time” collection that sold for $4.6m in London in July. A Millennium wristwatch, also by George Daniels, sold for a record $289,822 in Hong Kong in April.
Vintage and modern Patek Philippe watch prices have been soaring. A Reference 2499, first series made in 1951 sold for $ 1.5m in Hong Kong in April; a Skymoon tourbillon, reference 5002p-001 from 2006 went for $1.1m at the same Hong Kong auction and a reference 5208P-001 platinum minute repeater from circa 2014 made a record $888,145.