Time to be impressed... Patek Philippe watches lead Christie's near-$13m auction



2015-06-26 12:26:34

Time to be impressed... Patek Philippe watches lead Christie's near-$13m auction

Three timepieces from the greatest watchmakers made over $900,000 each, including a huge surprise

As we've reported, a recently rediscovered quartet of watches owned by one of the greatest ever timepiece collectors, James Ward Packard, went under the hammer this week, with the expected top lot exceeding even the most optimistic of expectations, bringing $1.8m against a $500,000 top estimate.

But that was by no means the only highlight in the sale.

The close second runner for top watch owned by Packard was a previously unrecorded and completely unique watch that he commissioned from Patek Philippe circa 1919.

Prior to the rediscovery of this collection, watch experts knew of 16 watches the firm made specifically for Packard, each incorporating his own specifications.

This beautifully-crafted openface dress watch is the only known minute-repeating watch by the firm to feature both a power reserve and an unusual Murat-style case - and only the third Packard Patek Philippe to appear at auction.

Bidders were entranced, and the $200,000-$400,000 estimate was quickly left behind as they sparred over the timepiece, and it finally left the stage for a highly impressive $986,500.

James Ward Packard Patek Philippe extremely fine gold watch James Ward Packard Patek Philippe extremely fine gold watch

Christie's Simon Hines commented: "Today's astounding results of $12,961,813 represent the top grossing various owners watch auction ever to take place in the U.S.

"The collection of James Ward Packard blew away serious watch collectors achieving $2,754,500, for the trove of four timepieces."

Two other Patek Philippes which weren't owned by James Ward Packard also did well. Justifying its high expectations was a rare and important 18k gold perpetual calendar chronograph Ref 2499 wristwatch with Moon phases and tachometer scale.

Cloisonne enamel Patek Philippe pocket watch Cloisonne enamel Patek Philippe pocket watch

Expected to achieve $600,000-$1,000,000, it swung closer to the top of the range, selling for $902,500.

However, the big surprise of the sale was a rare and unique 18k gold and enamel openface keyless lever dress watch from 1965. It features a polychrome cloisonn enamel dial depicting a traditional boat on Lake Geneva, with the back of the circular case depicting a boat on Lake Geneva with the town in the distance.

Entranced bidders immediately waved aside the $40,000-60,000 listing, with the piece eventually selling for an almost unbelievable $962,500. What a valuable alternative investment that proved to be for someone.

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