In a small 5th floor New York office suite off Madison Avenue, millions of dollars worth of watches were auctioned off to bidders all across the globe. The bidders on the floor were quiet, but those on the phone lines were not. There were constant absentee bidding wars; the first was over the auction of a circa 1900, 18 karat yellow gold Vacheron Constantin quarter repeater pocket watch. From there, it only got better. The next war was over an iced Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grand Complication with an estimate of $400,000 USD-$700,000 USD. The complications included a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a split-second chronograph and a moonphase.
The second session: Rolex and Patek here we come. First up was a simple, but elegant, ’55 Patek Philippe 2526 calatrava-type yellow gold wristwatch. Then came a set (3 to be exact) of Paul Newman Daytonas. The first was a 6264 from 1968; the other, a 6263 made in ’69. Amazingly, the watches were both 100% original, were in mint condition, and even had everything from the original papers to the original tags and receipts. The last of the Paul Newmans had the highest estimate of any of the Rolexes that day: $70,000 USD-$100,000 USD. This beauty, reference 6239, was made in 1964 with a flawless, caliber 722-1 movement. The next piece was an eye catcher. This was a magnificent 1950 Rolex 8171cased, expectedly, in pink gold. The auction’s last session included a JL Gyrotourbillon II, a Patek 5102 celestial in yellow gold, two double red sea dwellers, a Patek 3970 and a 3971, and two astounding Patek Philippe minute repeaters: a perpetual calendar ref. 5033 and a tourbillon ref. 5207. The final lot of the day was a wristwatch I had only dreamed of until the auction’s preview on December 8. This majestic piece, a very fine Patek Philippe 3974 with a minute repeating function and perpetual calendar in platinum, opened with an online bid of $500,000 USD and immediately rose to $575,000 USD. Then the bid rose to $600,000 USD, then to $620,000 USD and, finally, ended at a sum of $660,000 USD (hammer price).
-L. Rottman (Executive Editor: thewatchadviser.com)