Successfully conducted on 22 May 2021, Christie’s Hong Kong Watches Spring Auction achieved several milestones in the watch auction arena.
Watches Department marked a milestone moment when it achieved the highest ever total for a various-owner sale for the category at Christie, realising HK$ 269,277,500 / US$ 34,850,855 / EUR 28,440,551, with a combined sell-through rate of 85%, and 139% hammer above low estimate.
The historic occasion was led by the inaugural evening sale “The Legends of Time”, which was 100% sold, totalling HK$ 144,435,000 / US$ 18,693,293 / EUR 15,254,936 and 152% hammer above low estimate.
The day sale “An Exceptional Season of Watches” realised HK$124,842,500 / US$16,157,562 / EUR 13,185,615 with sell-through rates of 83% by lot and 88% by value, and 126% hammer above low estimate. The sales attracted intense bidding from watch enthusiasts across 14 countries and 4 continents, driving exceptional prices for Patek Philippe, Rolex and F.P. Journe.
Leading the sales was Patek Philippe – a unique, exceptional and historically highly important 18k gold automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with English calendar, leap year indication and “no moon”, ref. 3448 “Alan Banbery”, specially modified by request of Henri and Philippe Stern in 1975, as a unique piece for presentation to Alan Banbery, manufactured in 1970, HK$29,050,000 / US$3,759,755 / EUR 3,068,203, setting a new auction record for the reference.
All 18 lots offered in the evening sale “The Legends of Time” found buyers. On top of the record-breaking star lot – Alan Banbery’s yellow gold Patek Philippe ref. 3448J – some exciting highlights in the evening include:
- PATEK PHILIPPE, A magnificent and important 18K pink gold World Time wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting the eastern hemisphere. Ref. 1415, manufactured in 1949. Price Realised: HK$17,650,000 / US$2,284,326 (auction world record for the reference, more than double its low estimate of HK$8,000,000 / US$1,035,389).
- PATEK PHILIPPE, An extremely fine, unique and important 18K gold two crown World Time wristwatch with 24 hours indication, guilloché silvered dial, luminous hands and gold bracelet. Ref. 2523/1, manufactured in 1965. Price Realised: HK$15,850,000 / US$2,051,364 (almost double its low estimate of HK$8,000,000 / US$1,035,389).
- PATEK PHILIPPE, An exceptional and highly important, historic and unique 18k pink gold openface minute repeating two train grande and petite sonnerie keyless lever clock watch with instantaneous perpetual calendar, indications for julian and gregorian calendars, moon phases and chronograph with central 60-minute recorder, made for Jean de Gradowski, manufactured in 1890. Price Realised: HK$14,050,000/ US$1,818,401 (3.5 times over low estimate of HK$4,000,000 / US$517,694).
- PATEK PHILIPPE, An exceptional 18k gold wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and cloisonné enamel dial, “The Lighthouse”, Ref. 2481, manufactured in 1954. Price Realised: HK$7,810,000 / US$1,010,798 (auction world record for the reference, almost 4 times over the low estimate of HK$2,000,000/ US$258,847).
- PATEK PHILIPPE, A unique and highly important 18k pink gold ‘spider lugs’ chronograph wristwatch with tachymeter and engraved bezel, Ref. 1579, retailed by Gobbi Milano, manufactured in 1955. Price Realised: HK$5,500,000 / US$711,830 (auction world record for the reference).
- PATEK PHILIPPE, A magnificent and very rare 18k gold automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases and leap year indication, Ref. 3450, retailed by Gübelin, manufactured in 1985. Price Realised: HK$4,375,000 / US$556,228 (auction world record for the reference).
- PATEK PHILIPPE, An extremely rare and impressive 18k pink gold automatic wristwatch with black enamel dial. Ref. 2526, manufactured in 1957. Price Realised: HK$5,250,000 / US$679,474 (auction world record for the reference, more than double its high estimate of HK$2,200,000/ US$284,732).
- PIGUET & MEYLAN, A magnificent and highly important quarter repeating 18k gold, painted enamel, pearl and turquoise set musical and automaton centre seconds watch, made for the Chinese market, signed Piguet et Meylan, the case by Frères Oltramare, no. 6173/5792, the enamel attributed Jean Abraham Lissignol or Jacques-Marc Henry, circa 1815. Price Realised: HK$4,250,000 / US$550,050 (more than 5 times over its low estimate of HK$800,000/ US$103,539)
The day sale “An Exceptional Season of Watches” offered extremely rare vintage and modern timepieces from legendary and emerging brands, with almost half of the lots sold above high estimates. Close to a third of the timepieces were hammered to online buyers via Christie’s LiveTM.
The top lot of this sale was an important Patek Philippe, the only known 18k gold split seconds chronograph wristwatch retailed by Gübelin, ref. 1436, manufactured in 1965, which was acquired for HK$ 5,500,000 / US$711,830, more than double its low estimate of HK$ 2,400,000 / US$310,617 and set a new auction record for the reference and a record for the reference was set by F.P. Journe – an important platinum wristwatch with power reserve, made and presented to pay tribute to George Daniel, Chronomètre Souverain model, circa 2010, realised HK$3,250,000 / US$420,627.
The selection of Rolex timepieces attracted passionate bidding, led by the extremely rare stainless steel chronograph triple calendar wristwatch, ref. 6036, “Jean Claude Killy” Model with “Red Depth”, circa 1953, which sold for HK$5,250,000 / US$679,474, more than double its high estimate of HK$2,400,000 / US$310,617.
An impressive and rare 18k pink gold, diamond and rainbow-coloured multi gem-set automatic chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, Daytona Rainbow Model, ref. 116595rbow, circa 2019, which realised HK$3,500,000 / US$452,982, topped the curation of modern timepieces.