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Sotheby’s Important Watch Sale Achieves $14.5M

December 12, 2023  |  Anthony DeMarco
Sotheby's top two watches 1280x720 USED 121223

Timepieces from Patek Philippe and Rolex tied for the top spot at the Sotheby’s Important Watches auction in New York, each garnering $1.5 million.

The 10 leading lots also comprised high complicated watches by independent watchmakers F.P. Journe, MB&F, Richard Mille, and Audemars Piguet. Overall, the December 7 sale of 157 lots achieved $14.5 million, with 91% of the items sold, Sotheby’s said last week.

In addition, the auction included the first part of a 60-piece collection owned by Alan “Hammer” Bloore, an Australian sportsman and sailor. As a watch connoisseur, he is best known for being one of the most important collectors of Panerai timepieces. The top-selling piece in the group was the Ref. 6263 Daytona, circa 1978. The 18-karat yellow gold chronograph sold for $174,450, within estimates. The special sale of 37 lots earned $1.6 million with 95% sold.

The first of the two top items was a Patek Philippe 1518R pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, from 1950. It fetched $1.5 million, just topping its high estimate. The watch was a gift to Joseph A. Kaplan, a self-made entrepreneur, by his son Harold Kaplan in 1952. The watch was previously unknown, being in the possession of the family since its purchase.

The other watch to sell for $1.5 million was a 14-karat yellow gold Rolex reference 6241 Daytona Paul Newman “John Player Special.” It fetched more than twice its high estimate of $600,000. Offered from the family of the original owner, the piece was a surprise discovery when settling a family estate.

Meanwhile, a Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 Tasti Tondi, from 1949 and retailed by Tiffany & Co., sold for $596,900, well above its $400,000 high estimate. The 18-karat yellow gold case houses a dial adorned with applied Breguet numerals. Breguet dials were primarily created for the US market and are exceptionally scarce, with fewer than 100 known to exist, the auction house said.

Another notable lot was a Cartier yellow gold, enamel, rock crystal, onyx, coral and diamond-set Mystery Clock, circa 1925, which realized $596,900, well above its $400,000 top presale price.

“The enduring strength of trophy vintage pieces was unmistakably evident, accompanied by a noteworthy demand for newly discovered treasures, reflecting the enthusiasm of our discerning clientele for fresh-to-market watches, which was felt in the packed room today,” noted Geoff Hess, head of watches for the Americas at Sotheby’s.

Main image: The Rolex Daytona (left) and the Patek Philippe (right) which tied for first place. (Sotheby’s)

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Sotheby's top two watches 1280x720 USED 121223 Sotheby’s Important Watch Sale Achieves $14.5M

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