Luxury watches took center stage in Geneva this past weekend as the three largest auction houses, Phillips, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s, brought their auctions to Switzerland. With a combined total of over $108 million USD in sales, the event proved to be a resounding success. Rolex, Patek Philippe, and F.P. Journe emerged as the standout brands, captivating the attention of collectors and enthusiasts alike.
One of the highlights of the auctions was the Phillips Auction, held in association with Bacs & Russo’s Geneva Watch Auction XVII, where every lot was sold, resulting in a staggering $52,488,707 USD in sales. A remarkable piece that stole the spotlight was a gem-set Rolex Daytona, Ref. 6270 “The End Game,” which fetched an astonishing $4,105,853 USD. Crafted in yellow gold and adorned with a pavé diamond dial, sapphire indexes, and a baguette diamond bezel, this timepiece was one of two watches that exceeded the $3 million USD mark. Additionally, two rare Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 perpetual calendar chronographs attained significant prices at the auction, with a second-series pink gold model selling for $3,261,784 USD and a first-series yellow gold variant fetching $2,624,859 USD. Another notable sale was the first Biver watch produced by the renowned father-son duo Pierre Biver and Jean-Claude Biver, which sold for $1,413,129 USD. A mint condition 1958 Rolex Milgauss also achieved a record-breaking sale price of $2.5 million USD.
Christie’s achieved sales of over $45 million USD, with the Rare Watches and Art of F.P. Journe sales contributed $29.7 million USD and $15.3 million USD, respectively. The highlight of the Rare Watches sale was the sale of a Patek Philippe Ref. 5711-1A-018, popularly known as the Tiffany Blue Nautilus, which fetched $2,498,876 USD. Another notable sale at Christie’s was a rare Daytona chronograph watch adorned with a diamond bezel, commissioned in 1985 for the Sultanate of Oman, which sold for $1,274,730 USD.
Sotheby’s Geneva sale achieved a total of just over $13 million USD, with the Important Watches sale generating $10,614,751 USD and the Centuries of Time: A Private Collection of decorative pocket watches concluding at $2,575,919 USD. Notably, the top lot in the Important Watches sale was the Rolex Paul Newman John Player Special, setting a new world record with a sale price of $2,491,655 USD.
Overall, the weekend auctions in Geneva showcased the extraordinary appeal and enduring value of luxury watches. With prestigious brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and F.P. Journe commanding record-breaking prices, the event further solidified the status of these timepieces as coveted collector’s items.
BY THE LLM AUTHORS JUNE 15, 2023