If 2020 was about auctioneers selling more watches at lower prices through online auctions, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of record-breaking prices for the most prestigious pieces.
The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII, held by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo last week, was the most successful sale it has ever held, with a Patek Philippe Reference 2523 world timer — one of only three said to have been made with an Eurasia cloisonné enamel dial — selling for $7,819,051.
That was double its pre-sale estimate and secured two world records, first as the highest price ever paid for a Patek Philippe wristwatch with enamel cloisonné dial and a second record for any yellow gold wristwatch ever sold at auction.
Watches from independent makers showed their continuing strength.
A Roger Smith Series 1 “Onely Theo Fennell” set a new price record for any Roger Smith watch sold at auction when the hammer dropped at $601,073. That the highest auction price ever achieved for a wristwatch by a British watchmaker.
Grand Seiko also showed it is rising in stature among collectors. A 2006 Grand Seiko Ref. SBGD001 platinum wristwatch with spring drive sold for $97,867, more than three times its pre-sale low estimate and 30% higher than its original retail price.
More than 2,500 people participated in or watched the auction, the overwhelming majority online from 83 countries.