Phillips’ Inaugural One Auction: So How Did Watches By Patek Philippe, Blancpain, Rolex, And Longines Do?
by Simon Cudd
The very solid and spacious tent on the grounds of the La Reserve hotel in Geneva on May 10, 2015 turned out to be a very special time and place.
It saw the amazing array of watches from the world’s most prestigious watch brands go under the hammer for the inaugural Phillips Watches auction in association with Bacs & Russo.
I recently touched on a few important pieces featured in the auction that grabbed my attention and seemed worthy of discussing and – even more importantly for me – photographing and even trying on. Please see Phillips’ Inaugural One Auction Preview Featuring Rolex, Patek Philippe, Blancpain, Longines And More.
Let’s have a look at how a few of the pieces did at this premier event, which was presided over by auction guru Aurel Bacs.
The stainless steel Patek Philippe monopusher chronograph Reference 130 from 1927 estimated at 1-2 million Swiss francs ended up selling for double that at CHF 4,000,000 plus commissions in just 21 minutes.
It is also no surprise that the “Albino” Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6263 from 1971 once owned by Eric Clapton went way over its estimate and achieved a sale price of 1,325,000 Swiss francs.
In fact, both the Rolex and Patek Philippe watches described above broke existing world auction records: one as the most expensive Rolex ever sold, and the other as the most expensive stainless steel watch ever sold at auction. For more on that, see Steel Patek Philippe And Eric Clapton’s Rolex Daytona 6263 Oyster Albino Smash World Auction Records.
This beautiful Blancpain Aqua-Lung from 1954 sold for 40,000 Swiss francs. Its pre-auction estimate was 30,000 on the high end.
The rare and important Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle from 1931 sold for 143,000 Swiss francs, almost doubling its pre-auction estimate.
The Rolex Reference 5513 “T-Dial” Milsub Submariner with its brilliant patina topped out at 87,500 Swiss francs.
I spoke with Kate Lacey, watch specialist at Phillips, who was there to witness both this auction and the very successful Glamorous Day-Date auction over the same weekend, “Aurel [Bacs], Livia [Russo], and the team are literally amazing to watch. I don’t think they paused once, but didn’t stop smiling and supporting one another the whole time.”
Vintage Longines in steel may be something to watch out for in the future: lot 83, a 1969 steel Reference 5982 sold for twice its estimate of 15,000 Swiss francs, and a NO-MAG Reference 21391 from 1942 sold for 50,000 Swiss francs, also doubling its estimate. “These illustrate the strong collector demand for outstanding vintage Longines watches,” Lacey continued.
“Some of these little watches in immaculate shape even eclipsed the fairly steady Rolex sports watches. Buyers want things in near-perfect to perfect condition and were prepared to pay a lot of money for them. They are looking at other interesting pieces to add to their collections, rather than just going for the usually fairly dominant and ubiquitous Rolex or Patek Philippe.”
On reflection, it feels great knowing that I experienced some of these important timepieces before they went to their new homes as I’m sure it will be a while before I see such horological importance again.
To see the entire auction summary and resulting prices, please visit www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/CH080215.