Patek Philippe puts Rolex in the shade at latest Bonhams auction

107 Patek Philippe 1518

Patek Philippe proved its enduring popularity among collectors at this month’s Bonhams Fine Wristwatches sale in London when a 1947 ref 1518 in yellow gold – one of the rarest watches ever produced by the company – sold for £332,313.

The watch (pictured top), which has been owned by the same family since it was purchased new in 1948, was making its first appearance at auction.

The sale set a new record for Bonhams Watch Department, raising a total of £2.6m.

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“We are delighted with the sale which has returned the best ever result in the UK for Bonhams Europe. There was a real buzz about the auction created by enthusiastic bidding – not only in the room but also from telephone and online bidders from around the world,” says Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams global head of watches.

Also from Patek Philippe, a large size gold manual chronograph bracelet watch ref 530 (below), dating from 1952, was sold by a direct descendant of the original owner for £187,563.



Six Patek Philippe watches featuring in the top 10 lots, including a successor to the 1518 – a ‘box fresh’ never worn 5970P, circa 2008, which achieved £100,063.

The brand’s Nautilus watches continue to perform well, with two examples selling above estimate. A 2007 example (below) realised £75,063, doubling its estimate, while a Jumbo Nautilus version from 1983 sold for £68,813.



The sale also provided evidence that the Patek Philippe Aquanaut model is one to watch, being bought by collectors who have been priced out of the Nautilus market. A 1999 example sold for £22,563.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder