Back in late October, we gave a brief preview of the then-upcoming fall auction season. We briefly summarized what Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Antiquorum, and Phillips were going to be up to in November and December. November was Geneva month (December will be New York month), with the big four all holding auctions the same weekend of Nov. 7 – 10. Of course, we disastrously forgot to include Only Watch (the charitable auction of unique timepieces with proceeds going to research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy) in said summary. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s where some early season fireworks went off unexpectedly. Tudor’s initial foray into Only Watch made minor horological auction history (I’ll be writing about it in a few days), but not before a new record sales price for a wrist watch was set.
And speaking of the record set at Only Watch, if you guessed the record-breaker was a white metal Patek Philippe, you’re right. If you guessed platinum, you’re wrong. A stainless steel ref. 5016A-010 finally gaveled at CHF7,300,000 ($7,310,000), handily beating a pre-auction estimate of CHF700,000 - 900,000 ($701,400 - $901,800). Fireworks. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at what else happened that weekend. In October, we talked about the Paul Newman Daytonas selling at Christie’s on November 9th. The steel ref. 6265 we mentioned went for $269,357, the yellow gold 6263 gaveled at $191,254, and the steel 6262 sold for $112,649. Each sold for 10-20% above their high pre-auction estimates. Across town at Antiquorum, one Paul Newman ref. 6241 went for a comparatively little $70,000 while another tipped the banker’s scale at nearly $152,750. The difference there seemed to be the tropical sub-dials on the more expensive piece. Two other pieces names for the famed race driver and sometime actor also tipped the scale north of $100,000.
It’s worth noting, the Paul Newmans continue to do well in the marketplace. There is no popping of the “bubble” in sight. A word to the wise, if you want to satisfy your panda jones, plan – and save – accordingly.
And over at Phillips, Submariner with the saw-blade bezel worn by Sir Roger Moore in Live and Let Die sold for $365,000 at their Geneva Watch Auction: Two. The 1967 Paul Newman ref. 6239 we mentioned in October reached $158,100, while the COMEX Sub gaveled at $52,605. It was a bargain compared to the various Newmans selling that weekend.
The next round of the fall season is set to take place between December 10th and 16th. We’re not expecting anything like the Tudor fireworks of Only Watch, but Antiquorum, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s will do their best to impress. Keep an eye out and your stockbroker on call. And here’s an interesting footnote to our Great Escape post from a few weeks ago. Coming up tomorrow (Wednesday, December 2nd), a watch used in the affair will go on the block as Lot 67 at the British Bourne End Auctions Rooms (B.E.A.R.). The pre-auction estimate is $45,000 to $75,000. Read the backstory of the watch on Hodinkee and on the B.E.A.R. site.