New Records at Geneva’s Fall Auctions 2015
Autumn in Geneva is filled with watch auctions. And in 2015 these were by no means quiet. Indeed, never before has the price for a Patek Philippe steel Grand complication wristwatch – Ref. 5016A-010 - reached the unbelievable amount of 7.3 million Swiss francs, nor a Tudor Heritage Black Bay One 375,000 CHF – hammering for an unbelievable amount of 100 times its estimated price. And a collection of more than 4,000 watches and horological objects from the beginning of Swatch also went for 1.3 million Swiss francs. While in Hong Kong 5,800 items sold for US $1.3 million.
In particular, Philipps in association with Bacs & Russo, seemed to hit the jackpot at its temporary headquarters on the grounds of Geneva’s La Réserve hotel. For its debut as the auctioneer behind Only Watch, the auction company managed to amass the sensational amount of 11,268,000 Swiss francs for 44 watches. For those who may not be familiar, the concept is as simple as it is clever. Initiated in 2005 by Luc Pettavino, former CEO of the Monaco yacht show, and supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco, the auction encourages brands to produce a unique piece to be sold at the special auction, which takes place every two years. The results of the sale are dedicated to researching a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that impacts the muscle mass.
A few days after the sale took place, the only comment still possible to product is, “WOW!” It is the first time that Only Watch has amassed such a large sum, including world records. This is the result of the efficient work of Aurel Bacs, Pettavino, and their respective teams. But it also shows also that Only Watch models are definitely considered with the same interest as the vintage models that are usually are the most sought-after during auctions. Of course, some pieces were sold under the estimated price. But most of them hammered for more, including the most accessible models. And even the most exotic pieces such as the Melchior table clock by MB&F, which sold for 75,000 Swiss francs. Outside of the Only Watch auction, Philipps in association with Bacs and Russo made 27.8 millions with its auction Two, Christie’s brought in 13.5 millions, and Sotheby’s 5 millions.
Let’s finish with the fact that mystic watches do not seem to be very bankable at auction. Indeed, the gold Rolex Day-Date set with diamonds and rubies once owned by legendary Indian guru Osho didn’t rock the house. Estimated at selling for between 30,000 and 50,000, it reached the average of these numbers at 40,000 Swiss francs. New-age addicts don’t seem to be in love with watches just yet.