Christie’s New York saw a successful finale to the 2013 Watches auction season on December 17, with a 365-lot auction of Important Watches, which achieved a total of $12,926,175 and selling 91% by lot and 95% by value. The top lot of the sale was an exceptional Rolex, Stainless Steel Reference 8171 “Padellone,” which sold for $1,145,000, quadrupling its pre-sale estimate of $250,000 – 350,000 after a fierce bidding war that spanned across four countries and establishing a new world auction record for a Rolex Reference 8171. This result combined with the June 11 auction, brings the 2013 New York total to over US$20.8 million. After a year that saw record-breaking figures across Geneva, Hong Kong, and New York salerooms, 2013 marks Christie’s eighth consecutive year as leader of the watch auction market.
Aurel Bacs, International Head of Watches, commented: “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. Savvy bidders, from around the world gathered to compete fiercely for a beautifully curated, intelligently estimated, and well researched selection of high-quality collectors watches. The six-hour auction went from one high to the next, showing the unlimited and international appeal of important watches. 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.” Regarding his departure from Christie’s, Mr. Bacs remarked, “It has been a privilege to lead this extraordinary team over the last decade. Living with this team one record-breaking year after the next and closing the year with such a remarkable sale is the most wonderful farewell any auctioneer could have hoped for. With John Reardon and Sam Hines taking over in January 2014, this department is in the most capable hands in the auction industry, and I whole-heartedly wish the Christie’s Watches department soaring success in the future.”