Patek Philippe, Rolex and F.P. Journe drive Bonhams UK to a record commercial year


Bonhams has described 2020 as its most successful year ever for its UK operation following another auction where Rolex, Patek Philippe and F.P. Journe commanded stellar prices.

A 1979 Rolex Sea Dweller Ref. 1665 (pictured top), produced for and co-branded on the dial for French diving company COMEX, sold for £150,250, three times its pre-sale estimate.


The example sold was offered by the family of its late owner, a former Royal Navy diver and instructor who was attached to the elite SBS unit (Special Boat Service), before moving to COMEX, as its head of training in the North Sea.

This was nudged into second place in the December Fine Watches sale by a 1972 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’ ref. 6262/6265. which went under the hammer for £225,250 following a three-way bidding battle.

1972 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’ ref. 6262/6265 went under the hammer for £225,250.

Bonhams described a 1943 Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 as another diver’s watch making a splash when it sold for £87,750.

1943 Patek Philippe Ref. 1463.

The reference is certainly sought after, although its water resistance is not the same league as Rolex’s professional models. The 1943 example is an 18ct gold manual wind chronograph wristwatch with a water-resistant case by Taubert & Fils where a a hexagonal raised section helps to secure the two-piece case.

F.P. Journe is arguably this year’s auction darling, and Bonhams’ sale of a 2001 Octa Réserve de Marche, No. 072-01A, for £97,750 proved the brand’s rocketing popularity.

2001 F.P. Journe Octa Réserve de Marche.

“This has been a fitting end to the most successful year ever for our UK operation. This fantastic result is all the more welcome, considering the challenges of 2020.,” says Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams global head of watches.


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