Rare and unique Pateks are Sotheby’s star lots

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A private collection of unique titanium Patek Philippe wristwatches helped Sotheby’s New York achieve $11.7million (£6.95m) yesterday for its sale of important watches.

The auction total marks Sotheby’s New York’s highest ever result for a sale of watches from various owners.

The private ‘Titanium’ collection of ten Patek Philippe watches, nine of which were bespoke pieces commissioned from Patek between 2000 and 2004, achieved a total of £7.1million (£4.2m), well in excess of its $4.9million high estimate.

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The star piece in the collection was the world’s first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch, a Patek Philippe first sold in 1923. The watch sold yesterday to a ‘Swiss museum’ for £2.965m (£1.76m) which was more than double its $1.2million high estimate. The price matches the highest paid at Sotheby’s for a wristwatch.

Katharine Thomas, head of Sotheby’s Watch Department in New York, commented: “It was a privilege to offer The Titanium Collection, a visionary group of unique commissioned watches by Patek Philippe, whose exceptional results are a testament to the ultimate connoisseurship of its collector. Bidding throughout yesterday’s auction was truly global, demonstrating the continued strength of the watch market worldwide.”

The Titanium Collection was thus named as it included five pieces commissioned in titanium, led by a unique and previously unknown Ref. 5001T Sky Moon Tourbillon which achieved $1.325millon. The piece was presented to the original buyer a full year before the Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon was presented to the public at BaselWorld in 2001.

Also sold was a platinum Ref. 5103P ($773,000) and a Flawless Officer Ref. 3928 ($737,000) which featured a flawless 9.44 carat D colour diamond set in the caseback through and which the watch’s movement can be viewed.

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