Christie’s Concludes 2013 Watch Auction Season With $12.9 Million Sale

The 2013 watch auction season came to a close Dec. 17 at Christie’s New York with a $12.9 million sale led by a record-breaking Rolex.

Known as Reference 8171 “Padellone,” the 1953 model—a stainless steel and diamond-set automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases and two-tone silver dial—sold for $1,145,000, setting a new world auction record for the reference and quadrupling its pre-sale estimate of $250,000–$350,000.

The 365-lot auction of Important Watches was sold 91 percent by lot and 95 percent by value. A 1960 Patek Philippe, Ref. 2499, that fetched $725,000 and a 2012 Richard Mille skeletonized wristwatch with tourbillon that earned $605,000 rounded out the top three lots.

Combined with results of the June 11 auction, Christie’s 2013 New York watch sales totaled more than $20.8 million.

“Today’s auction was a most memorable grand finale to the most successful year of watch auctions ever orchestrated by any auction house in history,” said Aurel Bacs, Christie’s international head of watches, in a statement. 

“The six-hour auction went from one high to the next, showing the unlimited and international appeal of important watches,” Bacs continued. “The global character of the watch market was further demonstrated by the ten collectors from four continents that were represented in the top ten lots of the sale.”