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Simon De Burton is witnessing the global auction business burst back into life with world records likely to tumble at the autumn sales in New York, London, Dubai and Hong Kong. But all eyes will be inexorably drawn to Geneva for the blockbuster deals this season as unique lots go under the hammer from the likes of Patek Philippe, F. P. Journe and Philippe Dufour.
Autumn auction season kicks off this week with 211 lots going under the hammer at Christie's Watches Online: The Dubai Edit.
Christie’s hopes it has the ultimate grail edition of Rolex Deep Sea Special, watch No.1, which was attached to the hull of Auguste Piccard’s bathyscaphe Trieste for the inaugural deep-sea trial to a depth of 3,150 meters in the Mediterranean on 30 September 1953.
Christie's has given the watch an estimate of $380,000 to $650,000, a potential 400% profit for whoever is consigning the piece.
Christie’s worldwide watch sales for the first half of 2021 totalled $93.7m, a record performance which exceeded Christie’s watch figures for 2020 and 2019.
The sale concentrated more on volume than on headline-grabbing seven-figure timepieces, but there were some star lots including an 18ct gold Patek Philippe Calatrava, ref 570, owned by Andy Warhol, which sold for $150,000.
A fortnight of online auctions features vintage and contemporary timepieces from the world's most important makers.
Highest price paid was $3.8 million for an 18ct gold ref. 3448 "no moon" automatic perpetual calendar by Patek Philippe
Transparency of digital marketplaces like eBay is driving up trust and confidence in an increasingly sophisticated online auction industry for luxury watches.
Leading the sale was a superb Cartier Mystery clock known as “Model A” that sold for $562,500.