The Most Expensive, Historic Watches Ever Sold

The Most Expensive, Historic Watches Ever Sold

22.11.2021 Off By manager_1

gold and silver round analog watch

The world’s most passionate watch collectors met in Geneva this month. They called in or logged in to a series auctions. Phillips, Watch, Christie’s and Only Watch all had news-making auctions during the same time period. While the Only Watch auction was loaded with some of the most unusual creations, a Patek Philippe deskclock sold for $10 400 400! Nothing could match Phillips’s two-day event with almost 250 watches.

The auction offered many insights into the state and future of the watch industry. Independent brands thrived, a pair super-rare Rolex pieces went head to head, and the buzz around provenance, which has been the most talked about in watches for the past few years, seemed to slow down a bit, making way now for watches that are beautiful, historical aside. These are seven of the most renowned watches that Phillips will be selling this month.

  • A. Lange & Söhne chronograph – sold for about $386 265

This watch is amazing in a vacuum. The dial is transparent so that the wearer can have the best of both a regular and skeleton dial face. The watch’s many elements are also luminous so it looks even better with the lights off. This is one of many A. Lange & Sohne watches which did well at the auction this month. What does this mean?

Lange was not the only brand to win big at auction. An independent watchmaker Christian Klings sold a watch for $276 159, while a Roger Smith Series 2 was purchased for $717 837. Both sets a new record for their respective brands. It is not common to see big brands dominate auctions like these, but it was great to see smaller names enjoy some auction glory. This could be because watch collecting continues to grow as a serious hobby. The tastes of people are becoming more diverse and individual. A Patek Philippe Nautilus is able to do numbers, but a Lange chronograph can.

  • Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie – sold for $5 182 109

Independent watchmakers, the most expensive watch sold at Phillips’ Geneva auction was not from Rolex or Patek Philippe. It also wasn’t an Omega that sailed on the moon many decades ago. The Philippe Dufour watch won the award, selling for $5 182 109. This is Dufour’s greatest achievement.

This is Dufour’s first wristwatch and includes a petite and a grande sonnerie. The two mechanisms chime out the time. The wearer can switch between them using the slider to the side. It was quite a feat to fit both these mechanisms into a pocket watch when the watch was created by Dufour in 1993. This wasn’t just a bidder who was in a hurry to buy the watch at Phillips. The third-most expensive watch sold at Phillips came from Dufour.

  • Cartier Tank à Guichets – sold for approximately $110 500

It continues to be a year of bizarre Cartiers hammering it at auction. The Pebble has sold for $441 000 over the past twelve months and the Crash has nearly doubled its value at auction. The latest French luxury house to sell big is this Guichets with jumping hours. Although it’s difficult to compare the watches, they are made of different materials. However, in May this year, a Guichets platinum watch sold for $76 000. This piece was sold for $110 500 just a few months later. Recently, a celebrity collector told us that this watch was at the top of his wishlist. It turns out, he is not the only one.

  • Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow – sold for $3 399 633

This Omega watch is the most expensive ever sold at auction. Why is it so unique? It’s the first Speedmaster ever produced. The Omega trademark for the “broad-arrow” hand is that it was so popular they made it a trademark. This feature can be found on vintage-inspired Omega pieces, which they hope to infuse with some tradition and great looks. This watch has aged beautifully, good Lord! The dial was not originally that color but has become a beautiful chocolate brown that watch geeks refer to as “tropical”. It would make Hershey bars jealous.

  • Patek Philippe reference 2499 perpetual calendar – sold for $3 861 757

Stateside collectors lust for Tiffany & Co the same way, Latin American collectors have joined for prestige-stamped watches from Serpico y Laino. This boutique used to be based in Venezuela. This Patek Philippe perpetual clock is a true masterpiece. The dial is not the only thing that the jeweler has marked. The clasp of the bracelet is also inscribed with the initials “SYL”. The bracelet is from Gay Freres, a legendary bracelet maker. This phrase can only be written by a true watch lover. Phillips claims that the bracelet was probably a custom order from a client. Take all of this together and you will find the fourth-most valuable piece at the auction.

  • Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Le Régulateur II – sold for approximately $11 050

Although this watch was “only” $11 050, it is worth highlighting as it’s unusual. The Le Regulateur II was created in collaboration with watch brand Louis Erard, and designer Alain Silberstein. It uses a line that is squiggly to indicate seconds, and a large blue arrow to show minutes. Although it looks like a kid’s toy, the watch is powered by a very technical mechanical movement. Although it’s silly, we cannot think of any better way to pass the time.

  • The Rolex Deep Sea Special – sold for approximately $1 158 952

Rolex created a trio prototypes in the 1950s to prove its ability to take its watches further into the ocean. These prototypes were called the Deep Sea Specials and were created to support Rolex’s experiments. They look great for the job. The domed crystal was designed to withstand the extreme pressure of deep sea diving. The watch received more attention because of its provenance than any other piece in the catalogue. The watch came in at just $1 158 952, a little below its $1 310 000 low-end estimate.

However, the results were not helped by Christie’s across the street selling another Deep Sea Special this weekend–number one to the number three Phillips piece.

The pieces that were sold this month are intended to be worn. Auctioneers, collectors and brands will all insist on that fact. Watches are great collectibles because they can be taken with you anywhere. Philippe Dufour, the world’s most famous watchmaker, is beautiful and can be taken along to galas or on special date nights. The Rolex Deep Sea is a fascinating watch that tells a compelling story. However, it’s happier in the Rolex Museum’s glass case than trying to squeeze its bubble crystal under a suit.