Christie's May auctions of jewellery, watches and wine fetched a record total of US$145,754,092 / SFr.136,244,716, the highest result ever for a series of sales at Christie's Geneva.


Christie's May auctions of jewellery, watches and wine fetched a record total of US$145,754,092 / SFr.136,244,716, the highest result ever for a series of sales at Christie's Geneva.

On May 14, the sale of Important Watches totaled US$32,706,018 / SFr.30,283,350. Multiple record prices were established, including that for a watch by Breguet at auction.

Totalling US$2.8 million / SFr. 2.6 million, the sale of Fine and Rare Wines sold 91% of the offered lots.

The most important jewellery charity auction in history, Jewels for Hope : The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra,  realized more than US$37.9 million and together with the US$72.2 of the Magnificent Jewels sale combined to create a record total for Christie's in Geneva. New auction record prices were set for a ruby, an Indian sarpech and a jewel by JAR.

François Curiel, President of Christie's Switzerland: “Exceeding all expectations, this week of sales in Geneva realized record results with very strong prices achieved for the finest jewels, watches and wine. Christie's is particularly proud to have contributed to the success of ‘Jewels for Hope : The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra’, a unique philanthropic auction which sold for more than $37.9 million. A well-deserved standing ovation welcomed Mrs. Safra as she walked into the saleroom at the end of the auction to announce the 32 charitable institutions which will receive the proceeds of the sale in support of their work”.

Jewels for Hope : The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra / 14 May 2012
Geneva Magnificent Jewels / 16 May 2012
achieved a
Combined Total of US$110,189,044 / SFr.103,289,375
the highest result for a series of jewellery auctions at christie’s geneva 

The highly anticipated auction of Jewels For Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra, held on the evening of May 14, realised a total of US$37,924,551 / SFr.35,115,325. 100% sold by lot and by value, this superb collection far exceeded its total pre-sale estimate. As a result of its success, the Lily Safra Foundation has decided to donate the full proceeds of the sale not only to the 20 charitable institutions previously announced but also to 12 additional organisations.

The top lot of the sale was a 32.08 carats cushion-shaped Burmese ruby and diamond ring, by Chaumet, which sold for US$6,742,440 / SFr.6,243,000, setting a new world record price for any ruby sold at auction. Formerly in the collection of Luz Mila Patiño, Countess du Boisrouvray, it has been renamed ‘The Hope Ruby’.The extraordinary group of 18 jewels by JAR, the largest ever seen on the market from a single-owner collection, totaled US$11,473,920 / SFr.10,624,000 becoming the most important private-owner collection of JAR jewels ever sold at auction.

The Magnificent Jewels sale, held on May 16, totaled US$72,264,493 / SFr.68,174,050, selling 84% by lot and 86% by value. The top lot was an antique Indian emerald, diamond and enamel sarpech, which sold for US$4,718,060 / SFr.4,451,000, setting a world record price for an Indian sarpech at auction. Another auction record price per carat was established for an octagonal-cut Burmese sapphire brooch of 47.15 cts, by Mellerio (US$77,500 per carat).

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Christie's Geneva and New York Jewellery Departments, said: “World record prices were achieved all through the week as we completed the most valuable series of auctions at Christie’s Geneva. From the ‘Hope Ruby’ sold for a record $6.5m from the collection of Mrs. Lily Safra to an Indian emerald sarpech which achieved a sensational price after a 10 minute bidding-war in the saleroom between two determined bidders, jewellery buyers from all over the world showed great depth as they bid at the highest levels for every rare jewel and gem offered”.


Important Watches / 14 May 2012
Total: US$32,706,018 / SFr.30,283,350

On May 14, Christie's auction of Important Watches in Geneva fetched a total of US$32,706,018 / SFr. 30,283,350, selling 95% by value and 88% by lot, the second highest ever result for a watch sale at Christie's.

The top lot was a rare "Montre plate à deux mouvements, sur le principe des chronomètres", an 18K gold precision watch with two movements manufactured by Breguet & Fils, Paris, No. 2667, which sold to the Breguet Museum for US$4,686,120 / SFr.4,339,000, setting a world record price for watch by Breguet at auction (lot 230). 

Aurel Bacs, International Head of Christie's Watch Department, commented: “On May 14 we saw enthusiastic bidding for watches of the best quality which had been hand-selected for this auction by Christie’s international team of specialists. We welcomed an impressive depth of bidding with buyers from 42 countries, and eight different collectors represented in the top 10. The sale was a seven and a half hour marathon in front of a packed room, selling 95% by value and highlighting Christie’s role as the uncontested first choice for buyers and sellers with the most important auction this season. Breguet shone with two historical auction results paying testament to the genius of Abraham Louis Breguet, the most influential horological innovator of all time, and we are particularly pleased to have established the top 2 prices for his work at auction. Patek Philippe remains blue-chip for collectors while Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet and Rolex set new standards by establishing record results and reaffirming their importance in today’s collecting arena.


Fine and Rare Wines / 15 May 2012
Total: US$2,859,030 / SFr.2,671,991

Christie's May auction sale of Fine and Rare Wines in Geneva achieved a total of SFr. 2,671,991 / $2,859,030 / € 2,217,752, selling 91% of the offered lots.

12 bottles of Château Mouton-Rothschild--Vintage 1945, sold for US$172,270 / SFr.161,000, against an estimate of SFr. 65,000-85,000, becoming the most valuable lot of this spring sale .

David Elswood, International Head of Christie's Wine Department: “On May 15, in Geneva we witnessed enthusiastic bidding for a wide range of well-cellared wines – especially rarest Bordeaux, notably a case of Mouton-Rothschild 1945 at SFr.161,000 and 6 magnums of Latour 1959 which realized SFr.51,750. Elsewhere, rare Burgundies from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti performed well with the top price being for a dozen La Tâche 1959 at SFr.57,500. A very rare bottle of Vin Jaune 1774, the oldest ever offered at Christie's, and featured on the catalogue cover was sold to an online bidder for SFr.46,000”.



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 by reducing our carbon emissions by 50% and pledging to be net zero by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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