In 2021, Christie’s Watches Department achieved just over US$ 205m (2020: US$ 80m, 2019 US$ 130m) from auctions: 7 live and 13 online sales in Hong Kong, Geneva, Dubai and New York.
“The Christie’s Watches dashboard as we close 2021 shows a solid progression on pre-covid levels. Who knows how we will look back at this year, but one thing is certain: Our ability to meet its many challenges and continue to achieve strong results, even set new records, comes down to our focus on making Christie’s synonymous with the most exciting and rewarding auction experience for buyers and sellers. Both have dreams, and making them come true is the one true measure for success for all of us at Christie’s” remarks François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Europe & Asia, and Chairman of the Luxury Division. “It explains how our network of Watch Specialists consistently attracts spectacular lots and achieves the highest prices, and how we as a team contribute to a positive dynamic through innovation and agility. It is at the core of our ability to shift gears between live and online – and deliver an exceptional 360-degree experience on parallel tracks. This is also true for Asia and the Middle-East where we are maintaining strong growth momentum.”
2021 in Key Figures
A 20%-plus increase vs. 2019 pre-covid points to a solid growth trajectory, supported by Christie’s 360-degrees strategy with online sales complementary to live auctions for the long term rather than a temporary substitute owing to current developments, combined with an unprecedented level of quality as well as breadth and depth of watches on offer on a global scale, in addition to the increasing and more inclusive buyer and seller demographics. The rise of online sales at the high-end segment for rare and exceptional watches saw a 5-fold increase vs 2019. Where total online sales were up just over 600 percent from 2019 to 2021, the number of online sales had (only) increased by just over 60%.
- Live sales in 2021 totalled US$ 145,261,956: +292.1% vs 2020 (US$ 49,730,277), +20.4% vs 2019 (US$ 120,659,208)
- Online sales in 2021 totalled US$ 59,806,073: +98.8% vs 2020 (US$ 30,091,700), +602.3% vs 2019 (US$ 9,928,410)
- Total (live + online) sales for 2021: US$ 205,068,029: +256.9% vs 2020 (US$ 79,821,977), +157% vs 2019 (US$ 130,587,618)
Over the course of 20 sales (live and online) in 2021, Christie’s Watches offered a total of 3,213 lots, with live sales accounting for 787 lots (including the 54 one-off pieces auctioned by Christie’s for the Only Watch charity sale) and online for 2,436 lots.
Throughout 2021, Christie’s has been entrusted with the sale of some of the most historically significant, eminently collectible and supremely desirable timepieces ever to come to market – a testament to the auction house’s hard-earned reputation over the centuries, meticulously burnished by Christie’s Watch Departments and the Specialists who lead them in Hong Kong, Dubai, Geneva and New York.
“Christie’s HK Watches is leading the market in Asia for the third consecutive year. 12 world records have been achieved, combined with a historic result of HK$ 559 million (US$ 72 million) for the year in Asia. This includes the day and evening sales recently held in November, which realised a combined total of HK$ 228,077,500 (US$ 29,388,699)” notes Alexandre Bigler, Vice President and Head of Watches, Christie’s Asia Pacific. “At these two events alone Christie’s set four world auction records for the Patek Philippe references 1436J, 2419J, 2497J and a Richard Mille RM 07-02 Pink Sapphire.”
“With the two online auctions held in spring (US$ 14,120,250) and autumn (US$ 10,507,000) in 2021, Christie’s Dubai achieved total sales of US$ 24,627,250 for the year, setting a new record for an online watch sale as well as firmly establishing online auctions in the 10 million +region. We have come a long way from the US$ 2.5m registered less than a decade ago. Not only is Dubai able to attract amazing lots, such as a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 or the fabled Ref. 5002P-001, a Sky Moon Tourbillon, but as an increasingly important hub for the collector community, Dubai gives sellers the assurance of achieving strong prices for exceptional pieces,” says Remy Julia, Head of Watches, Christie’s Middle East, India & Africa.
“Christie’s Geneva keeps raising the bar in terms of sheer range. At the Rare Watches sale held in early November, 100% watches were sold and we were able to offer the exceptional Rolex Deep Sea Special #1 which achieved the record of US$ 2,074,841. One other exceptional piece, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 achieved US$ 2,898,000. It has indeed been a remarkable year for the Geneva office, which closes 2021 with total sales for both live and online auctions at US$ 60,035,792.” says Rémi Guillemin, Head of Watches, Christie’s Geneva.
“We are extremely pleased with the New York sale results with a total of US$ 18,051,875 for 2021. The online auctions presented a selection geared to every type of client – from experienced collectors to those looking for their first timepiece. The solid performance demonstrates the continued strength of Christie’s online platform and its ability to reach the broadest possible global audience. Christie’s New York closed the year on a good note – Fine Watchmaking: Important Timepieces and the Independent Collection achieved a total of $5,518,250, with a strong international participation, bidders from 34 countries and over 30% new registrants.” says Keith Davis, Head of Watches, Christie’s Americas.
Global Top 5 lots by sale price in 2021*
*Excluding the 53 lots sold for Only watch charity auction.