Christie’s Sells Patek at Record $5.7 Million in Geneva
Christie’s International said it sold a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe from 1944 for the equivalent of $5.7 million, the highest price paid for a yellow-gold wristwatch in auction.
The 18-karat gold chronograph, which has a calendar that adjusts for leap years and displays the phases of the moon, sold for 6.26 million francs, Cristiano De Lorenzo, a spokesman for the auctioneer, said by telephone.
The watch is the “Mona Lisa of 20th-century wrist watches in private hands,” said Aurel Bacs, the auctioneer, during the bidding, which involved six bidders on three continents. De Lorenzo said he couldn’t yet comment on the identity of the bidder.
Christie’s considers it the second-highest price for a wristwatch in auction, De Lorenzo said. Antiquorum, a Geneva- based auctioneer, has claimed the world record price for a wristwatch in auction in 2002 with a Patek Philippe sold for the equivalent of $4.03 million. The record price depends on currency fluctuations. In Swiss franc terms, Antiquorum has the record price, 6.6 million francs.
The Patek that Christie’s sold had an original estimate of 1.5 million francs to 2.5 million francs. Christie’s sold it today in Geneva, the first time in 20 years the watch has been offered for sale.
The record for the most expensive timepiece sold in an auction is held by a pocket watch rather than a wristwatch. The Patek Philippe Supercomplication fetched $11 million in a 1999 Sotheby’s auction.