RELEASE: A RECORD-BREAKING WATCH AUCTION AT CHRISTIE’S GENEVA, 12 November 2012

Christie's Geneva auction sale of Important Watches including A Gentleman’s Pursuit for Excellence, Part I fetched a total result of SFr.27,042,825 / $28,557,223 / €22,445,545, selling 96% by lot and 97% by value.

Geneva

Christie's Geneva auction sale of Important Watches including A Gentleman’s Pursuit for Excellence, Part I fetched a total result of SFr.27,042,825/$28,557,223/€22,445,545, selling 96% by lot and 97% by value.

The exceptionally rare platinum perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, ref. 2499/100, manufactured by Patek Philippe in 1987 and offered from the collection of Eric Clapton, sold for SFr. 3,443,000 / $3,635,808 / €2,857,690, setting a world record price for this reference at auction.

The top price of the sale was paid for the ‘J.B. Champion Platinum Observatory Chronometer’, a unique platinum chronometer wristwatch, ref. 2458, which was specially manufactured by Patek Philippe for J.B. Champion, the legendary American watch collector, in 1952. This historically important timepiece realized SFr.3,779,000 / $3,990,624 / €3,136,570, setting a world auction record for a watch without complications.

World record prices were also set for numerous references and models in the following categories: Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, antique and 20th century enamels, decorative watches and contemporary watches.

Aurel Bacs, International Head of Christie's Watch Department, commented: “Christie's auction of Important Watches in Geneva performed extremely well, demonstrating great consistency at all levels in terms of watches, prices and clients. In a broad, healthy and ever growing market, where buyers demand expertise and scholarship, we offered once again the finest selection of watches and wristwatches. A packed saleroom, today’s seven-hour marathon auction welcomed some 500 registrants from five continents, generating stellar sell-through rates as well as breaking numerous records. Collectors, public and private museums, the trade and also an investment watch fund, battled out the bidding for the best watches seen at auction this season, reconfirming Christie's market leadership in every horological category. This is our recipe: sourcing top quality properties, pricing them accurately, presenting them to the right audience, in the right place, at the right time”.

TOP LOT: J.B. CHAMPION PLATINUM OBSERVATORY CHRONOMETER

The most valuable lot of the sale, an historically important and unique platinum chromometer wristwatch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d'Observatoire, additional diamond-set dial and platinum bracelet, ref. 2458, made especially for J.B Champion by Patek Philippe in 1952, sold for SFr.3,779,000 / $3,990,624 / €3,136,570 (lot 88).

 ERIC CLAPTON’S PATEK PHILIPPE REF. 2499/100 IN PLATINUM

Offered from the Collection of Eric Clapton, an exceptionally rare platinum perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, ref. 2499/100, manufactured by Patek Philippe in 1987, sold for SFr. 3,443,000 / $3,635,808 / €2,857,690 (lot 151). Only once previously sold at auction in 1989, it then changed hands for $250,999.

 A COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE POCKET WATCHES MADE FOR CHINESE MARKET

100% sold by lot and by value, the sensational collection of antique watches, comprising the different styles made for the export to China, fetched a total result of SFr.2,303,500 / US$2,432,496 / €1,911,905, exceeding its pre-sale estimate by five times. The top lot of the collection was an exceptional gold and enamel openface centre seconds duplex watch with enamel by Jean-François-Victor Dupont, made for the Chinese market by William Ilbery, London, circa 1815 (lot 194), which sold for SFr.651,000 / US$687,456 / €540,330.

The majority of the pieces offered for sale were acquired by the present owner and her late husband during their repeated journeys to the Orient between the late 1950s and the 1970s.

 A GENTLEMAN’S PURSUIT FOR EXCELLENCE, PART I

Part I of A Gentleman’s Pursuit For Excellence, a superb private collection of complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches and pocket watches, totalled SFr.1,332,000 / US$1,406,592 / €1,105,560. The top lot of the collection was a white gold automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases, ref. 3448, manufactured by Patek Philippe in 1974 (lot 316), which sold for SFr.387,000 / US$408,672 / €321,210.

Part II will be offered at Christie's Geneva on 13 May 2013.

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. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), 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 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.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.