Philippe continues to break world records at auction - reinforcing collectibility
of Patek Philippe timepieces
achieved by Antiquorum in Geneva on April 24-25 exceeded all expectations.
The most complicated timepiece ever made, Patek Philippe's Caliber 89,
unveiled in 1989 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Geneva watch
company, surpassed its own record and is now the second highest price
ever realized for a watch at auction. The all-time world record is still
held by the Henry Graves super-complicated pocket watch, a 1933 Patek
Philippe creation which was sold in December 1999 for over $11 million.
89 - over $5 million
The white gold version of this astronomical pocket watch was sold in Geneva
on April 24 for $5,002,652 - the second highest price ever paid at auction
for any watch. The yellow gold version of this exceptional timepiece was
sold at auction in 1989 for $3.2 million, the highest price ever paid
for a watch at that time.
Caliber 89 features a record 33 complications, including the date of Easter,
the age and phases of the moon, sunrise and sunset, as well as leap years.
Its movement is composed of 1,728 parts, including 24 hands. The pocket
watch also features a celestial chart, as well as small and grand strikes
with chimes. The Caliber 89 took a team of nine Patek Philippe engineers,
watchmakers and other specialists over nine years to complete, five of
which were devoted to research and development.
Only four versions of the Caliber 89 were made, one in yellow, rose and
white gold and one in platinum. The yellow gold version was sold at auction
in 1989 to a royal family, who also purchased the three other variations.
The collection has since been dispersed and the white gold version was
the last Caliber 89 available for sale. The prototype, in yellow gold,
is on display at the PATEK PHILIPPE MUSEUM in Geneva.
record for a steel wristwatch - over $1.6 million
Another highlight of the April 24 auction was a men's wristwatch in Staybrite
stainless steel (Ref. 530), which sold for $1,669,318. Made by Patek Philippe
in 1939, this chronometer with 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock and a tachometer
now holds the world record for a steel watch.
Between 1937 and the early 1950s, about 100 of these timepieces were manufactured,
predominantly in yellow and rose gold, with very few pieces in steel.
Today, this very fine over-sized chronograph in the Art Deco style is
the world's most expensive steel watch. Its clear and legible "sector"
dial design, typical of the late 1930s, makes it an extremely rare and
sought-after timepiece for collectors. The previous record for a Ref.
530 steel chronograph had been just over $600,000 in 2003 (hammer price).
platinum tourbillon pocket watch - $1.8 million
Christie's auction held in Geneva on May 18 also demonstrated exceptional
auction bids. A rare 1930s platinum open-faced pocket watch (Ref. 811),
made especially for the famous New York watch collector Henry Graves,
Jr., sold for $1,779,080. This stunning one-minute tourbillon watch with
Guillaume balance features a platinum dial with applied Breguet numerals
fitted in a circular heavy-hinged case engraved with the Graves coat of
arms and motto Esse Quam Videri or "To Be Rather Than To Seem. "
platinum chronograph wristwatch - over $800,000
Another remarkable result of the May 18th auction is a superb chronograph
wristwatch which sold for $894,280. Only three versions of Ref. 1579 in
platinum are known to exist, making this 1946 timepiece extremely rare
and a highly desirable collector's item. The watch features a 30-minute
counter at 3 o'clock, a subsidiary dial for the seconds at 9 o'clock,
and a tachometer. Its large, silvered matte dial with black enamelled
baton numerals gives it an elegant, smooth and masculine appearance, a
superb piece for watch collectors.
watches of increasing value
Among the world's 20 most expensive wristwatches sold at auction, 20 are
by Patek Philippe.
Among the world's 20 most expensive timepieces sold at auction,15 are
Patek Philippe, notably the first four:
1. The "Graves" sold in 1999 for over $11 million;
2. The "Calibre 89" in white gold, sold this year for over $5 million;
3. The "World Time" platinum wristwatch, sold in 2002 for over $4 million;
4. The "Calibre 89" in yellow gold, sold in 1989 for $3.2 million.
These soaring auction bids
reinforce the confidence watch collectors place in the production of the
leading watchmaker. Patek Philippe timepieces not only maintain but often
increase in value to unprecedented levels - often far above the original
retail price - particularly in the case of rare, complicated or limited-edition
to the Editor:
The prices indicated include the final bid price plus the auctioneer's
commission, unless it is the hammer price (which is the final bid price,
not including commission). For auction sales which took place in Switzerland,
the official sales price was established in Swiss Francs. Prices in dollars
are based on the currency exchange rate indicated by the auction houses,
namely the average buying/selling rate of the sale date or the preceding
further information, please contact:
International Public Relations Director
Patek Philippe Geneva
P.O. Box 2654
1211 Geneva 2
Tel.: +41 22 884 20 20
Fax: +41 22 884 25 47
or consult Patek Philippe's website at www.patek.com