Phillips first live watch auction of the year totaled $31,720,869 million, proving that watch collecting is evidently immune to the coronavirus. The sale, held in Geneva last week, included several watches from the personal collection of industry legend Jean-Claude Biver, including the top lot a rare Patek Philippe Ref. 1518, which sold for $3,565,224. That is a world record for this model. The 1518 is one of Patek’s original series of perpetual calendar/chronograph watches, made in very small quantities. The model sold was one of only 13 known Ref. 1518 models with a salmon dial, and was seen only once before at auction in 2011, when it was sold by the family of the original owner who purchased it from Patek Philippe’s Geneva boutique in 1950. Its blued steel hour and minute hands constituted a customized order from the client for better legibility, which makes it a unique piece.
They included a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499, another rare series perpetual calendar chronograph, that sold for $2,742,480, a world record for a 2499 in yellow gold. And a Patek Philippe Ref. 1579 platinum chronograph with blue enamel markings for $2,046,312. Biver most recently headed the watch division of LVMH, and is now retired, no doubt happily.
Seven watches in the auction sold over $1 million, including a pair of F.P. Journe watches that sold for a combined total of more than $2.5-million. The F.P. Journe Souscription series Tourbillon Souverain, number 14 of only 20 pieces made sold for $1,470,711. The F.P. Journe Chronometre à Resonance, a unique pink gold model, sold for $1,096,516.
Iconic vintage sports watches also fared well, with Patek Philippe Nautilus and Royal Oak models fetching high prices. A white gold Nautilus ref 3700 sold for $780,552, representing a new world record for this model. It was one of only 11 known reference 3700s cased in white gold.
Rolexes toppled two world records in the sale, including a yellow gold Ref. 6241 Paul Newman John Player Special, selling for $1,096,992, and a Ref. 6232 in pink gold selling for $780,552. For more information about the results of the sale, please visit www.phillips.com/watches.
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