Sotheby’s annual December watch sale in New York achieved a total of more than US $7.5m (£4.96m) last week with a previously unheard of Patek Philippe watch leading the charge.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 3448 was originally produced in 1966 with a white gold case. Then, 20 years after it was made, the owner contacted Patek Philippe requesting a yellow gold Ref. 3450 case with Ref. 3448 dial with yellow gold indices, hands and crown. The manufacturer granted official permission for the movement to ‘float freely’ between the two cases, in effect creating a convertible watch.
Until the New York sale, where the ‘Convertible 3448’ achieved $472,000 (£312,000), the watch was unknown to the public.
Other highlights of the sale included a 1949 ‘fine and rare yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph’ Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 with moon phases on a bracelet, one of 281 produced, which sold for $322,000 (£212,862). While an ‘extremely rare yellow gold world time’ Ref. 1416 from 1939, sold for $202,500 (£133,865).