The British auction house Christie’s experienced record breaking sales at its Important Watches auction on Monday night, with a rare Patek Philippe selling for $499,500.
It became the most expensive watch ever sold at auction in the Middle East, whilst the event as a whole realised the highest ever total value for a watch auction in the Middle East at $5.35 million.
“Christie’s was delighted with the watches auction last night. The headline, of course, is that it was the most expensive watches auction in the history of our Dubai office, but more than that, it’s just incredibly encouraging,” Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christie’s in the Middle East told Gulf News in an interview.
He cited the number of bidders in the room, the competitive bidding online from locations such as Hong Kong, Dallas, and Qatar, and the depth of the collection of watches on sale as causes for optimism.
The record breaking watch was a 1981, 18-carat gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar chronograph design with moon phases.
“The sale of the Patek Philippe for almost half a million dollars at Monday night’s auction was not too surprising to me,” said Tarek Malek, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Momentum, a Dubai-based vintage watch shop.
“In today’s market,” he added, “sophisticated collectors buy only top quality and don’t rest until they can find it. The watch is in excellent condition and comes with box and papers. It doesn’t matter if you are in Geneva, Hong Kong or Dubai, the watch is a top lot.”
The reference 2499, as the watch is referred to, is the successor to the reference 1518, the world’s first Perpetual Calendar.
Patek Philippe manufactured four series of the watch over a span of 35 years, and the reference 2499 which sold at Christie’s on Monday was a fourth series model.
“The previous three series go for much more but half a million,” said Malek, but “the reference 2499 remains a very iconic and collectible reference which is coveted by many collectors”.
The auction at Emirates Towers featured a total of 187 lots, including rare models of brands such Rolex, Richard Mille, and Cartier.
“Collectors, especially in this region, are asking a lot more questions, they’re doing their research, they’re becoming a lot more informed,” said Jeha.
The auction was helped too by “the strongest offering” of watches that Christie’s has ever displayed, according to the managing director.
“There were pieces in there that we would have been proud to have in any watch auction globally,” Jeha added.