This week Christie’s set a new record with their Important Watches auction in Geneva, Switzerland. The three-session auction took in an unprecedented total of $43,985,467, the highest result for a series of watch sales ever held.
The highlight of the three days of auctions was undoubtedly the Rolex Daytona “Lesson One”. A unique single-themed evening auction, “Lesson One” featured 50 exceptional examples of the Rolex Daytona in honor of its 50th anniversary. Sales from this auction alone totalled $13,248,167. Indeed, each Daytona presented as part of “Lesson One” set a world record price for the model at auction.
The top lot from “Lesson One” was the stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, ref. 6263/6239, Paul Newman model, manufactured in 1969, which sold for $1,088,889, setting a world record price for any Rolex Daytona.
Amongst the nearly 400 watches that comprised the Important Watches auction, Patek Philippe timepieces also brought in exceptional bids. A rare 1957 Patek Philippe ref. 2499 second series in pink gold, which sold for $2,160,474. Only eight other examples of this iconic model in the hyper-rare pink gold second series are known to date.
Another highlight was the historically important yellow gold split seconds chronograph ref. 1563 manufactured by Patek Philippe in 1947, which sold for $1,572,738. Only three examples of this model are recorded to exist, all of which were made as special orders for the most prominent clients of the time. Originally created for jazz legend Duke Ellington, one of them is permanently exhibited in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
Aurel Bacs, International Head of Christie’s Watch Department, commented on the “rock concert” atmosphere and fiercer-than-ever competition. “Patek Philippe and Rolex were the stars, confirming that rare timepieces have to be considered as true works-of-art,” Bacs said. “Repeatedly interrupted by the applauding audience, the last exciting session of the week was crowned by a standing ovation.”
Photos courtesy Christie’s.