RELEASE: Geneva Spring Sales 2011



Christie's, the world’s leading auctioneers, announce that their spring auctions in Geneva achieved a combined total of US$ 108,783,133.

François Curiel, President of Christie's Switzerland:

The week of May jewellery, watches and wine sales in Geneva was marked by strong bidding with moments of passionate enthusiasm. This was exemplified by a 1942 steel watch by Rolex fetching more than $1M and an antique Imperial Mughal spinel necklace realising more than $5M. While the ‘blue chip’ diamonds and coloured diamonds were in great demand, a 130 ct Burmese sapphire stole the show at $7.1M. Forty-two years after our first sale in Switzerland, Geneva remains a vital, specialised auction centre in today’s global market.”

Important Watches  including  A Connoisseur’s Vision Part IV
16 May 2011
Total: US$ 26,331,962 

Reaffirming Christie's absolute leadership in the international watch area, Geneva’s sale of Important Watches including A Connoisseur’s Vision Part IV achieved a blockbuster total of US$ 26,331,962 (SFr. 23,427,013 / € 18,647,902), an increase of 25% over last May’s auction total in Geneva.

This is one of the highest results ever realized in the history of Christie's watch sales and leads the auction series dedicated to the category in Geneva this spring.

Aurel Bacs, International Head of the Watch Department: The international community of watch collectors responded enthusiastically to a premium selection of rare wristwatches and pocket watches hand-selected by Christie's team of specialists for our spring Geneva sale. The results confirm once again that Christie's is the auction house of choice for both buyers and sellers of the rarest and most important watches. The sale was characterized by strong bidding from the international trade, but dominated by private collectors and museums around the world. Eight different buyers secured the top ten lots of the sale – a sign of the immense depth of interest in this category. The sale was notable for its spectacular moments – for the first time ever at auction, a Rolex watch surpassed the $1 million mark with the ultra-rare reference 4113 selling to a private collector for over $1.1 million.”

Top Lot:

Patek Philippe. An extremely fine, rare and possibly unique white gold cushion-shaped single button chronograph wristwatch with vertically positioned register and Breguet numerals, manufactured in 1928

Estimate: US$ 1,600,000-2,600,000
Sold for: US$ 3,636,140


Fine Wines
17 May 2011
Total:  US$ 3,416,677

Christie’s sale of fine wines in Geneva totaled US$ 3.4 million, +80% versus May 2010 results. Selling for more than $ 123,000, a bottle of Romanée-Conti 1945 set a new world record price for any 75cl. bottle of red Burgundy sold at auction.

Michael Ganne, Head of Christie’s Geneva Wine Sales: Christie's auction of Fine Wines in Geneva achieved a total of US$3.4 million, an 80% increase over last May results. 110 buyers from five continents purchased more than 900 lots, producing strong prices. We are especially proud to announce that a bottle of the legendary Romanée-Conti Vintage 1945 sold to an American private collector for US$123,889, a new world record price for a 75cl. red Burgundy at auction. This bottle will certainly remain mythical for many decades also because of its vintage - which marked the end of a terrible war; of its contents - the last of the great wines produced from the prephylloxera (ungrafted) vines which made up the 1,85 ha vineyard of Romanée-Conti; and of its very limited quantity - with only approximately 600 bottles produced”.


Top Lot:
A bottle of Romanée-Conti 1945
Estimate:  US$ 60,000-80,000
Sold for: US$ 123,889

Magnificent Jewels
18 May 2011
Total: US$ 78,693,041

Jean-Marc Lunel, Head of the Jewellery Department, Christie's Geneva: Quite exceptional prices were achieved at the May 18 auction in Geneva. An antique spinel necklace engraved with the names of the most prominent Mughal Emperors, created a world record price for any Indian jewel at auction selling for more than $5 million. A Burmese sapphire of 130 cts also made a world record price of $7M. The market is particularly keen to buy quality diamonds in all sizes and colours, exemplified by a 56 ct heart-shaped diamond which brought more than $10M in the most successful Christie’s jewellery sale ever held in Geneva. We now look forward to our jewellery auctions in Hong Kong, Paris, London and Milan over the next month”.


Top Lot:
A heart-shaped D colour, internally flawless, type IIa diamond of 56.15 cts
Estimate: US$ 9,000,000-12,000,000
Sold for: US$ 10,946,422

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2010 that totaled £3.3 billion/$5.0 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Zurich, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

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About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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