Patek Philippe proved its enduring popularity at this month’s Bonhams Fine Wristwatches sale in London when a 1947 ref 1518 in yellow gold – one of the rarest watches ever produced by the company – sold for £332,313 ($421,000).
The watch (pictured top), which has been owned by the same family since it was purchased new in 1948, was making its first appearance at auction.
The sale set a new record for Bonhams Watch Department, raising a total of £2.6m ($3.3m).
“We are delighted with the sale which has returned the best ever result in the UK for Bonhams Europe. There was a real buzz about the auction created by enthusiastic bidding – not only in the room but also from telephone and online bidders from around the world,” says Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams global head of watches.
Also from Patek Philippe, a large size gold manual chronograph bracelet watch ref 530 (below), dating from 1952, was sold by a direct descendant of the original owner for £187,563 ($237k).
Six Patek Philippe watches featuring in the top 10 lots, including a successor to the 1518 – a ‘box fresh’ never worn 5970P, circa 2008, which achieved £100,063 ($127k).
The brand’s Nautilus watches continue to perform well, with two examples selling above estimate. A 2007 example (below) realised £75,063 ($95k), doubling its estimate, while a Jumbo Nautilus version from 1983 sold for £68,813.
The sale also provided evidence that the Patek Philippe Aquanaut model is one to watch, being bought by collectors who have been priced out of the Nautilus market. A 1999 example sold for £22,563 ($28k).