Patek Philippe watches from Jean-Claude Biver’s collection sell for $8.3 million


A pink gold Patek Philippe reference 1518 owned by Jean-Claude Biver  sold for a world record price of $3,565,224 on the first day of The Geneva Watch Auction: XI by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo.

By the end of the second day, four Patek Philippe pieces from the legendary Swiss watch industry leader had sold for a total of $8.3 million.


“These results show the huge and unwavering international hunger for rare timepieces of the highest quality and exceptional provenance. We are honored that Jean-Claude Biver entrusted Phillips with such historical timepieces from his personal collection, and to achieve a World Record for the Patek Philippe Ref.1518 in Pink Gold is a moment we will never forget,” said Aurel Bacs, the auctioneer of the sale, and Alex Ghotbi, head of watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East.

The live-streamed sale welcomed a record 1,800 online bidders from 67 countries on day one, alone.

The four Patek Philippe timepieces owned by Mr Biver and described by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, were:

Ref 96HU Worldtime From 1937


Each brand can bring forth at least one watch model which, either due to its stylistic language or to some specific and/or unusual complication, can be considered the embodiment of the philosophy of the company. When it comes to Patek Philippe, the worldtime complication is indisputably one of the “hallmarks” of the brand. This is not because Patek Philippe has some sort of monopoly on this complication; on the contrary, many contemporary and vintage timepieces sport the feature. However, no world time watch of any other brand has ever evoked such strong feelings in the collecting community. Patek Philippe presented its first world time wristwatch created in series in 1939 under reference 1415, but it had created a few pre series and prototype versions the years prior. The present reference 96 is in fact one of these ultra-rare pre-series prototypes of which only two are known, made in 1937 to most probably test the market, making it not only a historically significant timepiece but also one of the rarest world time models ever made by Patek Philippe. Unknown to the market, it first appeared in 2011 when it was purchased by Mr Biver. The other example is in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

Estimate CHF 300,000 – 600,000. Sold for CHF 387,500.

Reference 1518 In Pink Gold With Rare Pink Dial From 1948


A monumental model, reference 1518 was the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever produced in series when it was introduced in 1941. According to research, only 281 examples were manufactured until the reference ceased production with a majority made in yellow gold. Pink gold reference 1518s were most often fitted with a silvered dial. It was only on very rare occasions that they were fitted with pink dials. So rare is this variant that only 13 examples of reference 1518 are known with a pink dial, making it one of the most exclusive complicated Patek Philippe wristwatches for a collector to acquire. The present watch appears on the market only for the second time, Mr Biver being the second owner since new.

Estimate CHF 1,200,000 – 2,400,000. Sold for CHF 3,380,000.

Rare And Well Preserved Reference 2499 Second Series From 1957


Launched in 1951, the reference 2499 was the direct successor of the reference 1518 and came with more sporty round pushers and a larger 37.5mm case. The second series like the present watch, was offered either with Arabic numerals or applied batons as well as with a tachymeter scale. The second series reference 2499 is so rare that very few examples have graced the international auction market, and in fact only 20 examples in yellow gold with applied batons, like the present example, are known.

Estimate CHF 1,000,000 – 2,000,000. Sold for CHF 2,600,000.

One Of Only Three Known Platinum Reference 1579 From 1946


This incredibly attractive and well-preserved reference 1579 is one of only three vintage Patek Philippe chronographs cased in platinum. It is unknown why Patek Philippe decided to use platinum for this reference and only for three watches, but it is interesting to note that the three watches have consecutive serial numbers and different dials, making each piece unique. The present watch is the last of the three made and differentiates itself from the other two with its scale and markets in blue, giving the watch an incredibly vivid modernist appeal.

Estimate CHF 800,000 – 1,600,000. Sold for CHF 1,940,000.

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