This Is What a P373 Million Watch Looks Like

It's the most expensive yellow gold wristwatch ever sold at auction.

Despite the pandemic, it seems that watch collectors are still keen to acquire rare and sought-after timepieces in the formal auction market. With a record attendance of over 2,500 online bidders from 83 countries, a very rare 1953 Patek Philippe world time wristwatch broke two new sale records with a hammer price of $7.819 million (about P373.27 million).

This Patek Philippe Ref. 570 under Lot 160 sold for $3.657 million

Photo by Philipps.

Auction house Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo held the auction this week in an event dubbed The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII. This was the second non-thematic ‘white glove sale’ that yielded $42.3 million (P2.019 billion) The auction was also another record sale for achieving the highest result for a non-thematic or charity watch sale. The total auction value was over 2.5 times the pre-sale low estimate of about $16 million (P763.82 million).

A total of 233 collector’s watches were handpicked by Phillips’ team of specialists. The cover lot, or the star of the auction under Lot 33, was the 1953 Patek Philippe reference 2523 world time with “Eurasian” dial, which is one of only three examples known to date with a cloisonné enamel dial. The watch doubled its pre-sale estimate and broke two new world records-the highest price ever for a Patek Philippe wristwatch with enamel cloisonné dial, and for any yellow gold wristwatch ever sold at auction. This Patek Philippe wristwatch is inarguably one of the most important timepieces in existence, according to Philipps. 


“We are humbled by the trust that consignors, bidders and successful bidders placed into the Phillips Watch Division," said Aurel Bacs, senior consultant of Bacs & Russo, and Alexandre Ghotbi, head of watches, continental Europe and Middle East said. 

Throughout the combined 10 hour-long auction, each lot felt like the 90th minute of a World-Cup final with pulse-racing bidding. This is the result of many unprecedented record parameters in all relevant disciplines, including pre-sale enquiries, website visits, numbers of attendees during the international travelling exhibition and online auction attendance. 

"The auction mirrored the expectations and personality of the International Watch Community: quality, selection, content, rarity, provenance and, most importantly, the human interaction that can never be replaced. We are thrilled with the ever-growing interest around the globe, especially for the highest quality vintage watches but also the finest masterpieces made by Independent Artisans. The New World Record for the Roger Smith “Onely” series 1 may seem one small step for the global watch industry, but is one giant leap for independent watchmaking and collecting," the duo added.

“Season after season, the number of online bidders continues to reach new heights and with more than 2,500 bidders and 10,000 online viewers, The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII once again attracted a new record audience for a watch sale," said Arthur Touchot, specialist and head of digital strategy for watches." In addition to being viewed as opportunities to acquire incredible watches, auctions now represent an unmissable rendezvous for the growing community of collectors to come together and celebrate their common passion for horology.”

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This Patek Philippe Ref. 570 under Lot 160 sold for $3.657 million

Photo by Phillips.

Another Patek Philippe timepiece, the legendary Calatrava Ref. 570 under lot 160, which is considered one of the world’s most sought-after watches, sold for $3.657 million (about P174.6 million). The hammer price was 16 times its pre-sale low estimate. 

In 2016, the auction house sold a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in stainless steel for $11.112 million (P530.47 million) at the Geneva Watch Auction: Four event, which broke the record at that time for a vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch at auction.

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