Achieving numerous new records during an exceptional Spring 2021 Watch Season, in just 4 months (March- June 2021), Christie’s watch sales in Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong and New York totalled US$ 93.7 million, giving Christie’s the leadership position in the watches auction market.
This record performance during the first half of 2021 exceeds Christie’s watch figures for the whole of 2020 and 2019, further strengthening the premier auction house’s position as a global leader in horological sales on live and digital platforms.
The enduring fascination with iconic, rare and beautiful timepieces, together with the vast diversity of offerings, is attracting new bidders from around the globe. More than a trend, it signifies a shift towards a faster-paced, more segmented market.
Some important facts and figures
- In the 1st half of 2021, 1681 lots were offered at 10 Christie’s watch auctions, with a combined 92% of lots sold.
- 40% of the lots sold above estimate, indicating desirable curation and strong appetite from the market.
- Christie’s watch sales recorded participation from 79 countries, (+15 vs 1H20)
- More than 35% of auction registrants were new to Christie’s.
- The market is also opening up to a younger and more diverse profile: 39% of buyers at the watch sales were new to Christie’s, of which 40% are under 40, and 41% are based in APAC, 28% in Americas and 31% in EMEA.
- A fresh balance between ‘live’ and ‘online’ showed that more than one in two bidders in traditional sales (53%) also bid online.
- Hong Kong is the second-largest country by number of new buyers, after the US (followed by the UK, Switzerland and Singapore).
- Spectacular rise of the Middle East, where the number of registrants has tripled. Christie’s, attentive to the local clientele of great collectors, is the only house with an active Watches department based in Dubai. The region has unquestionably become also an essential hub in the watch market.
The live and online auctions held between March and June this year across four markets – Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong and New York – combined the advantages of global expertise with the regional knowledge Christie’s watch specialists are known for.
Highlights across Christie’s markets
Christie’s auctions in Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong and New York presented true standout timekeepers this Spring season, notably several historically important pieces:
In Hong Kong, a unique 18k gold Patek Philippe automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch with English calendar, leap year indication and “no moon” Ref. 3448 “Alan Banbery” (manufactured in 1970, modified in 1975) which reached US$ 3,759,755 and set a new auction record for the reference.
A Patek Philippe Ref. 2523/1 two crown world time wristwatch achieved US$ 2,051,364 (almost double its low estimate of US$ 1,035,389).
A Patek Philippe wristwatch Ref. 1415 with enamel dial achieved auction record for the reference with US$ 2,284,326 (more than double its low estimate).
A Patek Philippe Ref. 2481, also with enamel dial, achieved US$ 1,010,798 setting a new auction record as well as for the reference (4 times above the low estimate $258,847).
An important F.P. Journe platinum Chronomètre Souverain, made for and presented to George Daniels, that went for US$ 420,657 (against a low estimate of US$ 184,564; an auction record for the model).
In Dubai, a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002P-001 (manufactured in 2004) sold for an online record US$ 1,590,000, setting two new records simultaneously, for the most expensive watch sold at auction in the Middle East and for any watch sold online at Christie’s.
Also, La Grande Sonnerie No.1, in platinum Ref. G0025.7 by Gérald Genta, estimated at US$ 30,000-40,000, sold for US$ 500,000, whilst a yellow gold Grande Sonnerie No. 3 by Genta achieved 10 times its low estimate, selling for US$ 300,000.
A rare 1952 steel Rolex, triple calendar chronograph Snow Compax, Ref. 6036, tripled its pre- sale estimate and found a new owner at US$ 350,000.
In Geneva, a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 1518 in rose gold (manufactured in 1951) retailed by Serpico Y Laino, achieved US$1,502,971 against the low estimate of US$488,740.
Also a Patek Philippe World Time pocket watch Ref. 605 with a cloisonné enamel dial which sold more than double the low estimate, achieving US$1,271,861.
A rare and early platinum F.P.Journe Tourbillon Souverain wristwatch achieved US$ 434,000 against a low estimate of US$ 184,000.
In New York, a Cartier Art Deco Pendule Mystérieuse clock Modèle A (manufactured in circa 1925) which sold for US$ 562,500, a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph Ref. 2499/100 sold US$ 475,000, more recently the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 570 owned by pop art icon Andy Warhol, which sold three times its low estimate achieving, US$ 150,000, a perpetual calendar chronograph Patek Philippe Ref. 3990EP in platinum set with diamonds that realized US$ 200,000, and a Rolex Ref. 6036 “Jean-Claude Killy” triple calendar chronograph that sold for US$ 187,500.