Records in Two Auctions World records were set by Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe in two different year-end watch auctions, both held in Geneva, Switzerland.
A unique gold complications pocket watch sold on Nov. 14 for a record $1.98 million in an auction by Christie’s International watch department. The price is the highest for any watch ever sold by Christie’s, JCK was told by Adrienne Hines, vice president and head of the watch division of Christie’s New York. The price almost doubled presale estimates and capped an auction-room bidding battle. Christie’s officials wouldn’t release the name of the buyer, but industry sources say it was Patek Philippe’s own museum in Geneva.
The 18k timepiece has 12 complications or complex functions. Eight years in the making, it was created by Patek Philippe’s watchmakers for Henry Graves Jr., a New York financier and watch connoisseur. It was delivered to him in 1926 and is considered one of the most complicated and sophisticated watches ever made. (Another pocket watch made for Graves by Patek Philippe—the 1933 “Super Grand Complication”—sold for $11 million a few years ago, the most ever paid at auction for a watch.)
Other record setters included a single-button chronograph wristwatch, also by Patek Philippe, which sold for $1.36 million, the highest price ever for a wristwatch sold at Christies.
Patek Philippe’s platinum Monopoussoir wristwatch (1937), with a single-button chronograph and two-tone sector dial, sold for $1,220,937, the top price, and a record, at the Antiquorum watch auctioneers’ “Important Watches, Pocket Watches & Clocks” auction on Nov. 13.
Also noteworthy at Antiquorum’s auction:
A 1900 diamond-set pocket watch (1,150 diamonds, with the largest weighing 14.50 cts.) with seven complications, attributed to Henri Grandjean & Cie, Switzerland, and owned by the Sixth Nizam of Hyderabad in India, sold for $969,315, a world record for a watch made for the Indian market.
The prototype (2005) of TAG Heuer’s Calibre 360 concept chronograph sold for about $17,338, the highest price for a TAG Heuer timepiece in auction history. The watch is the first mechanical wrist chronograph to measure and display time to 1/100th of a second. Sale proceeds went to Geneva’s Musée de l’Horlogerie et de l’Emaillerie (watchmaking and enamelwork museum).
Rolex’s so-called Paul Newman Daytona 18k yellow gold model, (1970) sold for $81,478, while the Breguet Museum acquired an important piece of its history, the Regulateur Astronomique timepiece, for $170,553.