Christie's Watches Spring 2023 live auctions in Geneva have proved to be a grand success. Offering 199 lots over two days, these generated sales worth CHF 40,178,304 (US$ 45,027,826) in total. The auctions, which took place on May 12 and 13, featured two separate sections, namely The Art of F.P. Journe and Rare Watches.
The Art of F.P. Journe
This inaugural auction was dedicated solely to a living independent watchmaker. It achieved a 100% sales rate and a total revenue of CHF 13,665,300 (US$15,314,702). This particular section comprised 24 lots, the highest grossing among which was a rare platinum Tourbillon Souverain ‘Souscription 2/20’ wristwatch, crafted circa 1999. It was sold for CHF 2,707,000/(US$3,033,735). This event set a new standard for independent watchmakers in the auction industry.
The auction of ‘Rare Watches’ on May 13 presented 159 timepieces and achieved a sales rate of 98%, with proceeds totalling CHF 26,513,004 (US$29,713,124). The auction attracted bidders representing 47 nations, with 27% of them being new clients. Global buyers were active, with 52% hailing from Europe and the Middle East, 15% from the Americas and 33% from Asia. The event saw six watches selling for more than CHF 1 million each and four others selling for more than CHF 500,000 each.
The auction showcased iconic vintage watches, including a significant collection of Rolex timepieces, crafted for the Sultan of Oman, celebrated Patek Philippe wristwatches and watches from independent makers. Lot 84 was the standout piece — a limited-edition Patek Philippe in stainless steel for Tiffany & Co., which sold for CHF 2,233,000 (US$2,498,876). Lot 132, an extraordinary Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 first series, sold for CHF 1,618,000 (US$1,954,811) while Lot 138, Patek Philippe Ref. 3974 2497R, sold for CHF 1,918,00 (US$1,818,795).
In the Rolex section, Lot 31, an exceptionally rare Daytona chronograph watch, featuring a diamond-set bezel and a dial and a bracelet decked with diamonds and sapphires, was the cynosure of all eyes. It was created circa 1985 for the then Sultan of Oman and sold for CHF 1,134,000 (US$1,274,730). All six vintage and modern watches ordered by Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said of Oman from Rolex, featuring the Khanjar emblem or the Sultan's signature, were sold at 100% sales rate.
The Independent Watchmakers sectiononce again featured a masterpiece by F.P. Journe. Lot 96, a rare, platinum, limited-edition Tourbillon Souverain Ruthenium wristwatch, number 6/99, produced circa 2003, was sold for CHF 529,200 (US$594,874).
The bidding for Christie's forthcoming Watches Online: The Geneva Edit will begin on May 18 and end on May 30.