Sat, May 16, 2015

Luxury Goods, Jewellery & Watches
Inaugural watch auctions fetch $32m

The inaugural watch auctions held by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo held on May 9 and 10 in Geneva, Switzerland, realised a combined total of $31.83 million selling 97 per cent by lot. 

The auctions sold four watches for over $1 million and established multiple records including for any stainless steel wristwatch, for any Rolex sold at auction, and for any Rolex Day-Date.   

The top lot was an extremely rare Patek Philippe single button doctor’s chronograph in stainless steel with a superbly aged off-white silvered dial, highlighted by a pulsations scale and a sector design. 

At the auction on May 10, after 21 minutes of bidding between clients from four continents, it eventually sold to an anonymous bidder on the telephone $4.98 million, more than doubling its low estimate of CHF1-2 million and setting a new record price for any stainless steel wristwatch sold at auction. One of only two examples of this model, both of which were made for a retailer in South America, the other is a highlight of the Patek Philippe Museum.  

Aurel Bacs says: “It is a great honour to have been welcomed back to the rostrum with such warmth from the watch collecting community and we are thrilled to have been able to launch Phillips watches with such strong results. The market reacts with the greatest appetite to the rarest and most exceptional watches as seen by the magnificent single button chronograph by Patek Philippe which drew bids from collectors in four continents, eventually selling for CHF4.6 million and setting a record for any stainless steel wristwatch sold at auction. Now we look forward with great excitement to the auctions in Geneva in November, including the ‘Only Watch’ auction which we are honoured to hold for the first time, and our inaugural Hong Kong sale which will take place on 1 December 1.”  

Edward Dolman, CEO and Chairman of Phillips, says: “We are proud with the results for our inaugural auctions which already position Phillips as the house of choice for the very best collectors’ watches. To consider that the Phillips Watch department was only launched in November, it pays the greatest testament to the team at Phillips and, perhaps most of all, the stewardship and reputation of Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo, to have achieved so much in so little time. As we continue to invest in this area, we are thrilled to welcome Myriam Christinaz to Phillips as Managing Director in Geneva where she will lead the team going forwards and oversee exciting developments including the forthcoming opening of our dedicated space in central Geneva, and also to confirm the date of our inaugural watch auction in Hong Kong.”  


This auction was dedicated to Rolex’s most prestigious model and offered 60 of the rarest examples, including unique models and watches with royal provenance. In a packed saleroom of over 300 people, every lot sold for a total of CHF6.17 million) (pre-sale estimate: CHF1.7-3.4 million). 

The highest price was paid for the ‘Big Kahuna’, one of only two known 6612 references made in platinum. It smashed the world record price for any Rolex Day-Date sold at auction realising CHF473,000/$507,865, more than doubling its pre-sale estimate of CHF100,000-200,000. Multiple records were established for individual references and models.  


This auction was dedicated to watches of the highest quality, including exceptionally rare examples and timepieces with fascinating provenance. The auction realised a total of CHF23.46 million/$25.199 million (pre-sale estimate: CHF10.1-17.3 million), selling 96 per cent by lot. 

The highest price was paid for the exceptionally rare 1927 Patek Philippe single button chronograph which realised CHF4.64 million/$4.98 million, more than doubling its low estimate of CHF1-2 million and setting a new record price for a stainless steel wristwatch sold at auction. 

Further highlights included a highly important and very rare Patek Philippe pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph with pink dial, moon phases and heavy Gay Frères bracelet from 1948 which sold for CHF1.44 million/$1.55 million (estimate: CHF800,000 to 1,400,000); the most renowned of four existing examples of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ‘Albino’ which was formerly a highlight in the personal collection of pop star Eric Clapton, and which sold for CHF1.32 million/$1.42 million (estimate: CHF500,000-1 million) – a record for any Rolex sold at auction; and an exceptionally rare Rolex reference 6062 model featuring a triple calendar with phases of the moon which realized CHF1.001 million/$1.074 million (estimate: CHF250,000 to 450,000).

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