Published: November 20, 2001
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg’s November 12 sale of Magnificent Watches and Wristwatches, totaling $6,938,727, featured the only known example of a yellow gold Patek Philippe wristwatch Reference 1591, which soared to a world record price of $1,911,770, tripling its presale high estimate.
The watch featured a perpetual calendar with moon phases combined with indirect center seconds and a screw back case. It was in beautiful and unrestored condition. This is a world record for any wristwatch ever sold at auction.
The watch, which sold in a long battle among six bidders, finally went to a Swiss private collector. Another world record was set when a Patek Philippe Reference 2497 fetched $991,070. This price put the unique platinum center seconds perpetual calendar wristwatch into the top ten list of watches ever sold at auction.
The sale, which took place in a packed saleroom in the historic Hotel des Bergues, was described by Aurel Bacs, director of Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg’s international watch department, as “one of the most exciting watch sales ever to take place. The market was very strong,” he continued, “and the bidding was as passionate from private collectors as it was from the trade.”
“The sale proved that the market for Patek Philippe has never been stronger. In addition, [the] audience was educated in the field and was fully aware of the distinctions of rarity and quality on offer. At all price levels we saw new buyers entering the market.”
A rare example of a Rolex wristwatch, a yellow gold chronograph with calendar, fetched $94,240, tripling its presale estimate. In addition, pocket watches of high quality found spirited bidders including a fine silver pocket chronometer with tour-billon by Jacques Frederic Hourlet that doubled its presale estimate, selling for $111,290.
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