In 2011, Christie's international auction sales in Geneva, Hong Kong and New York of important watches surpassed the US$ 100 million barrier for the first time and achieved an unprecedented total of more than US$116.3 million, reconfirming the firm’s global supremacy for this category for the 5th year in a row. Underlined by consistent selling rates of over 90% achieved at each Christie's watch sale this year, such an outstanding result is a consequence of the fierce competition generated by a growing number of collectors coming from the Eastern and Western hemispheres. No less than 1,000 bidders from 40 or more different countries participated at every Christie's watch sale in 2011, demonstrating how this category knows no bounds.
Today’s watch market has never been so international, nor has it seen such high levels of scholarship and demand, and Christie's leads it at every level, especially when it comes to vintage collector’s wristwatches manufactured by the most renowned manufacturers. Throughout the year, Christie's Watch Specialists scouted and offered the finest and most important watches, mostly fresh to the market, perfectly presented and realistically estimated, and the reaction of the watch community was enthusiastic.
If you would like to receive a complimentary and confidential valuation of your watch or to discuss consignment to a forthcoming sale, please contact a specialist in your area as listed below or request an Auction Estimate online.
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Jessica Koers joined Christie’s in 2000. As head of Christie’s Jewelry Department in Amsterdam Jessica oversees three sales a year and travels throughout Europe to source collectors’ jewels and gemstones for the Dutch market, also gathering items of high quality for Geneva, London and Paris. Jessica holds the records for both the most expensive diamond (€241,600) and pearl (€144,000) sold at auction in Holland. Jessica attended Leiden University, specialising in Renaissance Jewellery and completed a masterclass on precious stones at the London Gemmological Association. Jessica is fluent in Dutch, English and Italian and gives lectures in all three languages.
An internationally renowned specialist and auctioneer, Aurel Bacs joined Christie's in 2003 as International Co-Head of the Watch Department, having been in the auction industry as a watch specialist since 1995. Mr. Bacs has held sole responsibility for the watch department worldwide since 2010. Widely acknowledged as the best auctioneer in in the field of horology, he is the only quadri-lingual auctioneer for watches in the world.
Throughout his career, Mr. Bacs has overseen numerous landmark sales, repeatedly totaling in excess of US$ 20 million each – unmatched by any other house for years. No other international watch auctioneer has sold as many watches over US$1 million, or achieved as many world records at auction as Mr. Bacs and his team have since his appointment at Christie’s.
In May 2010, Mr. Bacs sold a Patek Philippe wristwatch for US$ 5,708,833, the highest price ever paid for a watch in US dollars. In 2009 and 2010, Aurel Bacs and his team dispersed A Connoisseur’s Vision – by far the most valuable wristwatch collection ever sold at auction. The collection fetched an outstanding total result of more than US$ 19 million – for only some 40 Patek Philippe wristwatches.
In 2011 Christie's international auction sales of important watches, including in Geneva, Hong Kong and New York, achieved an unprecedented total of more than US$ 116.3 million, reconfirming the firm’s global supremacy for this category for the 5th year in a row.
In 2012, auction history was once again written when Mr. Bacs oversaw the sale of a "Private Collection of a European Noble Family", including the Breguet No. 2667, a "Montre plate à deux mouvements, sur le principe des chronomètres", for over US $ 4.6 million, a world record for any Breguet watch ever sold at auction. Later the same year, in November, records were once again broken with the sale of the only example of a Patek Philippe reference 2499/100 in platinum known in private hands, offered from the collection of Eric Clapton, achieving over US $ 3.6 million and the unique Patek Philippe platinum observatory chronometer wristwatch made for J.B. Champion reaching over US $ 3.9 million. This was only the second time in auction history when two wristwatches sold in the same auction for over US $ 3 million, so far only achieved at Christie’s Geneva in May 2008.
Mr. Bacs studied business and law in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Since 2008, he has been a member of the jury of Geneva's prestigious "Grand Prix d'Horlogerie". He is also a member of the Honorary Committee of the "Concours International de Chronométrie" organised by the “Musée d'Horlogerie” du Locle and is a member of the cultural council of the “Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie”.
Sabine Kegel joined Christie’s Geneva in 1995. With a keen interest in antique pocketwatches as well as wristwatches produced between 1930 and 1950, she regularly travels all over Europe maintaining excellent contacts with renowned collectors and appraising and evaluating wristwatches and pocketwatches of all periods. Sabine has contributed to a series of highly successful auctions including the largest watch sale ever in November 2007 in Geneva, which achieved a stunning total of $28 million and numerous world auction records, as well as to the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch at Christe’s auction in May 2010: $5.7 million for a unique Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph ref. 1527. In addition to her German mother tongue, she is also fluent in French and English.
Livia Russo started at Christie's as a Specialist in July 2003. Based in Geneva, she oversees the day to day operations of the Watch Department. Born in Milan, she has worked five years as a Generalist in the auction business before discovering her passion for watches. Thanks to her knowledge of the wristwatch market, she maintains excellent contacts with international buyers and sellers. Livia Russo's main interest and speciality are Patek Philippe and Rolex wristwatches from 1920 until today.
Sam Hines began his career in the auction world in 1997, while based in London. In 2005, after moving to New York, Sam joined Christie’s auction house as manager of the Interiors department, later joining the Trusts and Estates department as Assistant Vice President working on many important collections including the estate of Mark Moyens. His lifelong passion for watches contributed to his success with such highlights as the 2002 sales of two private collections including the auctioning of a highly important selection of Rolex sport watches. Sam’s love of watches led him to join the ranks of the famed watchmaker, Patek Philippe. With this experience, in addition to his breadth of both watch-related and overall auction knowledge, Sam rejoined Christie’s as Vice President and head of the Watches department in the United States. Now based in Hong Kong,Sam focuses on the ever-expanding Asian market for watches and maintaining superior client relations.
Mary Lee is Vice President and Senior Specialist at Christie’s Hong Kong Watch Department, working closely with the other senior business getters in the team, with a focus on developing the watch market in Hong Kong and Greater China. In 1996, Mary joined Christie’s Hong Kong as a cataloguer in the Hong Kong Jewellery department and became a Watch Specialist in 1999 where she contributed to the expansion of watch sales in Asia. At that time the auction of watches started as part of the Hong Kong Jewellery sales. but with an increasingly active and important watch market in Asia, Mary became a founding member of the separate Hong Kong Watch team which began holding Christie’s Hong Kong’s first Important Watches auctions in 2002. With Mary as the key cataloguer and contact for our Chinese speaking clients, Christie’s Hong Kong watch sales grew from strength to strength. After nearly 11 years’ tenure with Christie’s, Mary left in 2006 to explore opportunities externally in the watch industry until rejoining Christie’s Hong Kong in April 2011. Mary is fluent in English, Cantonese and Putonghua.
Alexandre Bigler joined Christie’s Hong Kong Watch Department as a Specialist and Associate Vice President in August 2010. Before joining Christie’s, he worked in the international watch auction business for over 5 years. Having worked at Christie’s Geneva, Alexandre relocated to Hong Kong to work on the fast-growing Chinese and South East-Asian watch market. He travels regularly in Asia to maintain excellent relationships with renowned collectors, in addition to appraising and evaluating timepieces for auctions. Alexandre was born in Switzerland and studied Economics at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He speaks French, English and German.
Joey Luk joined Christie's Hong Kong Watch Department as Trainee Specialist in May 2011 after she graduated from Graphic Design and Cultural Management at the University of the Arts, London. With her background in creatives and through her experience during Christie’s Hong Kong watch sales, Joey discovered her passion for watches and developed great enthusiasm in exploring the innovative designs and complicated mechanism of modern, vintage wristwatches and pocket watches. Joey travels regularly to Shanghai, Beijing and Taiwan to cultivate the fast growing watch market and is developing close relationships with watch collectors in the Greater China area. Joey is actively involved in the production of our catalogues and manages the logistics for our most important shipments. She also maintains departmental analysis of the international watch industry for Christie’s Asia. Joey is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.
A graduate of the University of Michigan and the Ecole du Louvre, Pansy Ku has a broad background in both Western and Eastern art. She joined Spink, part of the Christie's group, in 1994 and opened Spink Singapore one year later. Ms. Ku was promoted to Director and Board member of Spink Singapore in 1996. From 1994 to 2000, Ms. Ku established a lively programme of selling exhibitions and lectures, bringing new collecting areas to the attention of Singaporeans. When Spink launched their jewellery department in 1997, Ms. Ku was instrumental in promoting exhibitions of contemporary and antique jewellery in her Singapore gallery. Ms. Ku left Singapore in 2000 to join Christie’s Hong Kong as Business Manager for Jewellery and Watches in 2001. Since March 2007, Ms. Ku is Business Development Manager for Asia, based in Hong Kong, where she is actively involved in client cultivation programmes and events management. As of January 2009, Ms. Ku embraces her new roles as International Business Manager and Client Development Director for Watches and Business Manager for Wine in Asia. Ms. Ku has developed many close relationships with private collectors in Southeast Asia, advising them on their purchases and helping them in all their dealings with Spink and Christie's. Since 2001, in addition to overseeing all financial and administrative aspects of the Hong Kong jewellery and watch departments, Ms. Ku was responsible for all Hong Kong jewellery and watch press releases and contributed articles to the Christie’s International Magazine and various publications in the region. In her Business Development role, Ms. Ku gave talks on Jewellery, Watches and Contemporary Art and conducted charity auctions. Pansy Ku is fluent in Chinese, English and French.
With over 15 years of experience, Doug Escribano brings a wealth of horology knowledge to the New York Watches Department. He joined Christie’s in 1991 as a member of the New York Finance Group, and moved into the Jewelry Department in 1992. Doug soon discovered his passion for watches, and a few short years later, he was promoted to Department Head for the New York Watches Department. Possessing a talent in all areas, Doug is involved in every aspect of the business from client development in the Americas to sales organization, research and cataloguing. Doug’s enthusiasm for watches, and, in particular, pocket watches, is quite infectious. He rediscovered four historically important Packard pocket watches which sold in our saleroom in June 2011 for over $2.7million. Other career highlights include the sale of the Collection of Mel and Noel Blanc in 1997, and in 1996, the sale of a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch (reference 3449), one of just three ever made, which sold for $786,000 and established a new auction record for the time. Doug holds a Bachelors of Arts in Art History from Boston University and a Master of Arts in Art History from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio where he was a Cleveland Museum of Art Fellow.