Analysis of the Important Watch Auctions – Geneva May 2016
In contrast to what’s happening on the market for new watches and the slight downturn most brands are facing since a few months, well everything is still booming like crazy in the auction world as the 4 main auction houses combined sales for almost 61.5 Mio USD over the last few days. The split between these houses is as follows: almost 33 Mio USD for Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, just confirming who’s the new hot kid on the block, then almost 19 Mio USD for Christies, 5.7 Mio USD for Antiquorum and slightly above 4 Mio USD for Sotheby’s, probably a bit of a disappointment there.
This is for sure a lot of money but one has to put things in perspective as Christie’s put on auction an outstanding blue diamond called the Oppenheimer diamond and this single stone equalled almost all the watches sold at these various auctions, as it reached a record 57.5 Million Dollars.
But these auctions confirmed that steel is an established point of interest, something we had evoked it in our last watch auctions report, and it is amazing to see how collectors show a furious interest for these models considered as cooler and understated. This bidding competition definitely developed alternative categories to the usual classical, traditional uber complex and prestigious models made by established manufactures.
So wristwatches definitely did trust the various sales and only one pocket watch surprised everybody by its result. It was the Urban Jurgensen “The Krusenstern” in rose gold sold by Antiquorum for 430’000 $ compared to an estimate of 80’000 USD.
Finally, the Abraham-Louis Breguet pocket watch with quarter repeater and equation of time was sold for 3.3 Mio USD. Considered as the most complicated Breguet watch after the Marie-Antoinette, this pocket watch never the less couldn’t overpass the 4’7 Mio $ achieved in 2012 by Christie’s for the Breguet N°2667 Montre plate à deux mouvements.
Apart from these exceptions, antique timepieces haven’t been so successful. The Rieussec chronograph, which was directly made by the man considered as one of the main pioneers in the development of this complication, was sold for 90’000 $ just in the estimate set between 85 to 124’000 $. But the saddest story came with the automaton clock introduced as the highlight of its sale by Sotheby’s. This masterpiece estimated between 410'000 and 825’000 $ simply didn’t find its buyer.