5 Lessons From The Geneva Auctions This Week

1) The passion for mechanical watches is real.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5002P
Patek Philippe Ref. 5002P

Geneva’s annual auction week just made one the strongest cases in favor of mechanical watches, only weeks after the Apple Watch went on sale, by proving that passion for mechanical timepieces is greater than ever. Several watches sold by Christie’s and Phillips went for double their estimate, as the auction houses raised more than $41 million combined during the geneva auctions and more than 95 per cent of the lots sold. Mechanical watches are alive and ticking!

2) Rolex And Patek Philippe are still king, but the Audemars Piguet revolution is well under way.

Rolex Ref 6263 Oyster Albino belonging to Sir Eric Clapton Watch Face
The Eric Clapton Rolex Ref 6263 Oyster Albino

The magical million-dollar mark. Both Rolex and Patek reached that milestone, without too much surprise, including the Eric Clapton Rolex Ref. 6263 “Albino” ($1.4 Million) and the Patek Philippe Ref. 5002P ($1,1 Million). Behind them, Audemars Piguet is becoming a very strong challenger, as vintage AP continues its revival under Michael Friedman. You can see why from our Audemars Piguet manufacture visit, during which we spent some time in the Swiss brand’s Museum collection with Friedman.

3) Aurel is back!

Aurel Bacs Phillips Auction One
Aurel Bacs leading the Phillips Inaugural Watch Auction in Geneva

Aurel Bacs is the kind of man who makes heads turn when he enters the room…especially an auction room. Bacs celebrated his return to the auction world, after a brief hiatus, by breaking several records, including the most expensive stainless steel wristwatch, move expensive Rolex, and most expensive Rolex Day-Date ever sold at auction. Not bad!

4) Day-Date Rolex are definitely cool, and collectable.

Phillips Watch Auction Geneva Rolex Day-Date green lacquer "Stella" dial for the Sultanate of Oman watch
Rolex Day-Date made for the Sultanate of Oman in 1978.

Once the “least” collectible Rolex, the Day-Date offered a strong defense as the 60-lot Phillips Day-Date sale netted a grand total of $6,634,800. That’s a Day-Date worth $110,580 on average! Earlier this week, we looked back at the history of the Day-Date, and were reminded of the number of unique Day-Date models out there, including the model made for the Sultanate of Oman in 1978, sold for CHF62,500 at this week’s auction.

5) Steel can…one in a while… be more valuable than gold.

Patek Philippe Ref 130 The Doctor's Single Button Chronograph Watch Phillips Auction One
Stainless Steel Patek Philippe Ref 130 Mono-Pusher Chronograph

In a plethora of rare and highly collectable gold watches sold in Geneva last week, the highest bid went to a stainless steel watch. Surprising? Not really. We had a good feeling the stainless steel Patek Philippe Ref. 130 Mono-Pusher Chronograph would break its $1,020,000 – $2,050,000 USD estimate. However, we could never have guessed the watch would net $ 5 Million. In one slam of the hammer, it became the most expensive steel watch and the third most expensive timepiece ever sold.

Photo Credit: Haute Time. Full Results here:
Glamorous Day-Date – May 9, 2015
The Geneva Watch Auction: ONE – May 10 2015
Christie’s Important Watches Geneva

Luxury Watch Trends 2016 - Baselworld SIHH Watch News

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