Antique & Estate Jewelry / Industry / Watches

Phillips Sets World Record For Watch Auction


Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has set a world record for a watch auction, with its Geneva Watch Auction: XIV raking in a staggering $74.5 million.

That final total far exceeded the presale estimate of $41.2 million. The auction was held Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 in Geneva. The full results can be seen here.

The two-day event drew collectors from more than 83 countries, with more than 2,300 registered online bidders, and over 400 people attending the auction in person. Notably, half the watches sold to online bidders.

The top 12 lots all garnered more than 1 million Swiss francs.

The leading lot, a Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch in yellow gold (pictured), set off what the auction house called an “extraordinary bidding war.”  When the hammer finally came down, the ultrarare watch had sold for 4.75 million Swiss francs (about $5.2 million)—setting not only a new world record price for any Philippe Dufour watch sold at auction but also for any watch by an independent watchmaker.

Also raising cheers was the final price for the 64-year-old Omega Speedmaster wristwatchnicknamed the Tropical Broad Arrow, which smashed the world record for any Omega watch, selling for an impressive CHF 3.15 million (about $3.45 million).

Overall, the auction saw world records set for various brands, including Roger W. Smith and Christian Klings.

Alexandre Ghotbi, Philips head of watches for continental Europe and Middle East, said in a  statement: “What [we] have always stated was today confirmed: Watches are collectibles at the same level as impressionist, modern, and contemporary art, fine motorcars, and jewels…. Today’s auction was a tipping point in the history of watch collecting, and in the coming years the world will refer to a before and after Geneva Watch Auction: XIV.”

In 2017, a Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona reference 6239 sold for $17.7 million at a Phillips auction in New York City. That’s the highest price for any vintage wristwatch at auction.

(Photo courtesy of Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo)

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By: Rob Bates

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