Results of the recent Antiquorum auction of "Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces" substantiate the fact that watches don't have to be vintage to fetch the highest prices. The top lot of the Hong Kong auction was a magnificent platinum-and-diamond timepiece with a lineage that goes back only four years. Collectors bid aggressively on fairly modern watches, proving that the right timepiece — no matter how old — can be a great investment.
More than $10 million was garnered at the two-day auction, with just about $1.5 million of it coming from three timepieces in particular — though at least seven top brands held their own. Patek Philippe continues to be a standout at auctions and this week was no exception as the online, in person and phone bidders went to war on the top lot — a 2011 Patek Philippe Ref. 5033P Minute Repeater Annual calendar wristwatch. The tonneau-shaped watch with black dial is crafted in platinum and features 98 baguette diamonds on the bezel. The watch sold for a remarkable $700,472.
Three other Patek Phlippe timepieces were in the top 10 lots. Among them was a 1969 yellow gold Chronograph, Ref. 2499, with perpetual calendar and moon phase indicator. This iconic collectible sold for $468,271.
Rolex — always a collector's king — fared well, too. The special Rolex watch was the auction's third-highest-price lot. So what made this particular Ref. 6241 watch garner $367,651? Its lineage, of course. The 14-karat gold watch is the Daytona “Paul Newman” watch — made in 1969.
There was even a titanium watch that fetched more than a quarter of a million dollars. That timepiece is the Audemars Piguet Grande Complication automatique titanium split-seconds chronograph. It was built in 2002 and produced in limited numbers — making it a rare and coveted timepiece. It sold for $274,771. Another beauty: a Vacheron Constantin Ref.30020, gold Patrimony minute repeater sold for $158,670.
So the next time you are in the market for a watch, and can't decide which one to go with, consider if it is an exclusive piece, if it has a connection to a celebrity who may one day prove a valuable pedigree, and — as we tell all our customers — only buy it if you love it.