Top 10 Watches from Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: XIX totaling $40 million – Rolex, Patek Philippe and Akrivia/Rexhep Rexhepi Dominate

Amidst some trepidation about sales in both the primary and secondary watch markets for 2024 (and mild panic over the website crash at Christie’s), the auction market seems to be ticking along.

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIX held over the weekend by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, totaled 39,667,167, just a tad over its high estimate, and set five world records.

Five watches sold for over $1 million, and the top ten lots, featured here, totaled just over $10 million.

Leading the sale was a Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 2523/1, which hammered for just under $2 million after intense bidding. The next two highest lots were Rolexes, including a Ref. 6102 that sold for $1.4 million, a world record price for the model. All but two of the top 10 lots were made by either Patek Philippe or Rolex.

The exceptions were both made by Akrivia: a platinum Rexhep Rexhepi RRCC1 that raked in just under $1.3 million; and an Akrivia (Rexhepi’s brand name) that sold for $700,468.

That impressive performance, combined with the $2.3 million sale of Rexhepi’s steel Chronometre Antimagnétique at the Only watch held last Friday, clinches the superstar status of this independent watchmaker. 

Even if we see the auction market level off slightly this year, it would still be a good year. According to the Hammertrack report on 2023 watch auctions, sales were down 13% last year, but 2022 was a record year, so staying the course in 2024 would be no cause for panic.

As for the primary market, although exports of new watches from Switzerland have declined since the beginning of the year, that drop has occurred mostly in China and Hong Kong.

The U.S. market remains strong. And the biggest drop was in the under-$3,000 price category. Prices at auction rise well above that mark: the average lot price in the Phillips auction last weekend was CHF 133,700 – about $147,000.



Top Ten Watches (by value) Sold

Lot 55. Patek Philippe Ref. 2523/1: $1,934,840. The 24-city world timer is a rare bird that few watch companies make, but for Patek Philippe, it’s a signature complication.

Patek Philippe Ref. 2523/1 World Timer

It debuted in the 1930s, but wasn’t produced at all between 1965 and 2000, hence its rarity and status as a trophy watch.

This one, made in 1954, is a double-crowned yellow gold example, with a guilloché dial and a metallic city ring.

Lot 216. Rolex Ref. 6241 John Player Special: $1,467,680. When I decided a few years ago that this version of the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona was my grail watch, it was selling in the already unrealistic $800,000 range. Those days are gone.

Rolex Ref. 6241 John Player Special

Last year an 18k gold specimen sold at Sotheby’s for a record $2,491,655, an amount that makes this slightly patinated 14k gold version seem like a bargain.

Lot 219. Rolex Ref. 6102: $1,400,940. This is a world record price for the 6102, an  extremely rare reference made in 1953 (Phillips sold the same watch a decade ago, for CHF 1,235,000, approximately $1,360,000).

Rolex Ref. 6102 with cloisonné enamel dial

The cloisonné enamel dial, a rare metiers for Rolex, was designed as a caravel ship and crafted by one of Geneva’s most acclaimed enamelers, Margueritte Koch. It was retailed by Bucherer circa 1953.

Lot 106. Patek Philippe Ref. 3670A-001: $1,288,860. A steel, cushion-shaped chronograph by Patek Philippe is something you don’t see every day.

Patek Philippe Ref. 3670A-001

In 1996, Patek discovered a crate of 16 chronograph movements made in the 1950s and used them for a limited-edition run of steel watches with cushion-shaped cases inspired by 1920s chronographs. They were sold “by application” (to top customers) in 2011 for CHF 240,000 ($265,000). Not a bad investment.

Lot 58. Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain 1: $1,274,852. The original 2018/2019 RRCC1 watches – 25 each in pink gold and platinum – rarely come up for sale, but maybe this world record price will change that.

Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain 1

The price of this platinum model is not surprising considering how hot Rexhepi is right now. His steel Chronometre Antimagnétique just sold for $2.3 million at the Only auction, and last year Phillips sold a gold RRCC1 for just over $900,000.

Rexhepi’s star is now outshining F.P. Journe’s among the independents.



Lot 13. Rolex Daytona Ref. 6269: $1,050,700. Blinged-out Rolexes are a rare treat, especially on a yellow gold Daytona. This is one of 30 pieces made in the ’80s when fashions skewed toward big, flashy and over-the-top.

Rolex Daytona Ref. 6269

The bezel is set with 44 diamonds, and the dial with 240 diamonds, with blue sapphire hour markers. The watch is illustrated in a book about manual-wound Daytonas by Guido Mondani Editore, a copy of which was included in the lot.

Lot 145. Patek Philippe Ref. 1518: $812,543. It seems odd to see the legendary Ref. 1518 outpriced by three Rolexes and a Rexhepi. Only 281 of Patek’s first perpetual calendar chronograph were made, between 1941 and 1954. Most however, were made of yellow gold (215), including this model.

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518

It’s the steel models, of which only four were made, that score high at auction: Phillips sold one in 2016 for just over $11 million. Among the 58 made in pink gold, one was sold by Phillips in 2021 for $9.6 million.

Lot 188. Akrivia Ref. AK-05 Tourbillon: $700,468. Made in 2015, this is one of the early watches made by Rexhep Rexhepi under his Akrivia brand, which he founded in 2012 after working at Patek Philippe and F.P. Journe.

Akrivia Ref. AK-05 Tourbillon

Its distinctively shaped case design, hand-finished gold dial and symmetrical movement are hallmarks of the brand. The case is titanium. Notably, Rexhepi has offered to service the watch for free.

Lot 117. Rolex Ref. 6036 “Jean-Claude Killy:” $672,780. This is one of four triple-calendar chronograph series made by Rolex in the 1950s and early ’60s, nicknamed the “Jean-Claude Killy” because it was the style worn by the famous skier.

Rolex Ref. 6036 “Jean-Claude Killy”

The reference was typically cased in steel, but a handful of versions, like this one, were pink gold. The watch is illustrated in a book about manual-wound Rolexes by notable Rolex scholar Guido Mondani.

Lot 206. Rolex Ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller Khanjar: $644,430. This special Sea-Dweller bears the Khanjar symbol, part of the national emblem of Oman.

Rolex Ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller Khanjar

It was commissioned by the Sultan of Oman in the 1970s to be presented to members of Britain’s elite Special Forces branch, the SAS, as a token of gratitude for defeating the Dhofar Rebellion. The Sea-Dwellers were either fitted with a gold Khanjar, a red Qaboos signature, or a red Khanjar, like the one shown here.

For all of the auction results, see

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Why I Bought It: Rexhep Rexhepi/Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain

Akrivia Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain II (RRCC II): Despite Looking Similar to its Predecessor, Everything is New

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