Patek Philippe Nautilus Sets New Sales Record for Watch Auctioned Online

Sotheby’s has only just begun hosting weekly online watch auctions—the auction house debuted its virtual sales program April 1. But it’s already produced a record sale. A 2014 Patek Philippe Nautilus fetched $484,000 this week, making it the most expensive watch ever sold in an online auction. The watch—ref. 5711, in platinum with a Blue Jeans dial—was one of 30 vintage and modern wristwatches by Patek Philippe in the sale. 

The first auction included 19 Rolex wristwatches and rare pieces by Audemars Piguet. Major moments from that auction included the sale of a 1968 Rolex Paul Newman Daytona, ref. 6241 in stainless steel, for $306,518 and a circa-1975 Rolex Daytona, ref. 6263 in stainless steel, made for Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that went for $258,000. (Read about the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, Paul Newman’s actual Daytona, here). 

The weekly watch auctions have lured a new and young clientele, Sotheby’s said in a prepared statement: 54% of participants for the first two sales were either new to Sotheby’s or the watch department, and 40% were under the age of 40.

The auction house announced March 30 that it would start the weekly auctions, with a new selection of watches being unveiled every seven days. The nimble model was designed to respond to watch trends rapidly and dynamically.

Sam Hines, worldwide head of Sotheby’s watch division, said in a statement announcing the sales, “This move is grounded in countless conversations with clients over the course of recent months and has only been reaffirmed by feedback received in recent weeks as a result of the current environment. Collectors are looking for more flexibility and a swifter turnaround between appraisal and sale. They are also increasingly confident to buy important pieces online…. These new weekly online sales perfectly complement the calendar of live sales and other online auctions already planned for the rest of the year and fit naturally with our desire to provide the very best conditions for sale within a passionate and dynamic market.”

Top: The circa-2014 Patek Philippe Nautilus that sold for  $484,000 (photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)

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