Top 10 Biggest Watch Auction Sales of 2014
A list of the ten rarest, most valuable wristwatches sold at auction around the globe in 2014.
10) Rolex 18K gold, diamond and sapphire-set chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, 1985, Ref. 6270/6263.
This Rolex Cosmograph watch is one of the rare few set with precious stones, reserved for very exclusive clients. With just three examples known to the market, the watch is so rare barely any documentation or literature makes mention of it. This example appeared at auction for the first time in May, when it sold at Christie's for $1,024,654. - - - - - -
9) Patek Philippe 18K gold double-dial wristwatch with twelve complications including minute repeating, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, moon age, sidereal time, sky chart and moon orbit display, 2001, Ref. 5002.
Reference 5002, known as the Sky Moon Tourbillon, is the most complicated wristwatch ever produced by Patek Philippe since its founding in 1839. On average just two are made each year, with many regarding it as "the finest watch in existence". This example, made in 2001, sold at Christie's in May for $1,038,241. - - - - - -
8) Rolex 18K gold automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, star numerals and cloisonne enamel dial, 1949, Ref. 5029/5028
This example, manufactured in 1949, is the earliest known Rolex cloisonne enamel watch described as "one of the most important Rolex watches ever manufactured". Bearing a dial created by the famous artist Marguerite Koch, and unique star-set numerals, this "milestone in the history of watchmaking" sold at Christie's in May for $1,242,040. - - - - - -
7) Patek Philippe titanium double dialed wristwatch with twelve complications including tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, sky chart, moon-phases, orbit display, sidereal time and minute repeating on cathedral gongs, 2011, Ref. 5001T.
Described as "undoubtedly one of the most important contemporary wristwatches in existence", this watch was made for a collector using a specially commissioned Titanium case with bespoke ‘basket-weave’ dial. As the only one of its kind in the world, the watch sold at Sotheby's in June for $1,325,000. - - - - - -
6) Patek Philippe platinum cushion-shaped minute repeating wristwatch with Breguet numerals, 1927.
This watch was made in 1927 for the esteemed watch collector Henry Graves Jr., one of Patek Philippe's most important clients who also commissioned the record breaking Supercomplication pocket watch from them. Described as "arguably the most important pure minute repeating wristwatch ever made" by the company, the watch sold at Christie's in May for $1,364,319. - - - - - -
5) Patek Philippe 18K white gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, phases of the moon and bracelet. 1953, Ref. 2497.
This previously undiscovered watch is one of just three white gold Ref.2497 watches ever made. It was returned to Patek Philippe after it was sold in 1953, and the leather strap replaced by a white gold bracelet by legendary jeweller Gay Frères – a rare case of a modification by the company which makes the watch unique. It sold at Christie's in November for $2,111,743. - - - - - -
4) Patek Philippe 18K gold two crown world time wristwatch with 24 hours indication and blue enamel dial. 1953, Ref. 2523.
Just three examples of this 1953 Patek Philippe watch are known to exist, and have been described as "landmarks of horology...masterpieces, which are consequently as rare as they are sought after". One of the rare trio sold at Christie's in November for $2,297,618. - - - - - -
3) Patek Philippe 18K pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases, 1951, Ref. 2499 First Series.
This Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph watch is one of just four ever made, and is described as "one of the scarcest watches in history" and one of the "undisputed holy grails for any collector". It sold at Christie's in November for $2,714,803. - - - - - -
2) Patek Philippe yellow gold split seconds chronograph wristwatch with enamel dial, 1923, No. 124824.
This is the world's earliest split-seconds chronograph wristwatch, made as a prototype by Patek Philippe in 1923. It is also believed to be the earliest Patek Philippe complicated wristwatch in private hands, and regarded as one of the most important watches ever made. It sold at Sotheby's in June for $2,965,000. - - - - - -
1) The Henry Graves Jr. Patek Philippe Supercomplication pocket watch, 1932.
This incredible Patek Philippe gold, double dialled and double open-faced pocket watch was commissioned by collector Henry Graves Jr. in his quest to own the world's most complicated watch. Started in 1925 and completed in 1932, its functions included a minute repeating clockwatch with Westminster chimes, grande and petite sonnerie, split seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minutes and 12-hours, perpetual calendar accurate to the year 2100, moon-phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, central alarm, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky of New York City at 40 degrees 41.0 minutes North latitude. Long-known as the world's most famous and expensive watch ever made, the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication sold at Sotheby's in November for a world record $24 million. - - - - - -
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