Sotheby’s Important Watches Auction Sets Records with $14.5 Million Sales

Sotheby’s recent auction of Important Watches has concluded, leaving horology enthusiasts and collectors buzzing with excitement.

The event, which realized an impressive $14.5 million, marked a significant achievement with a remarkable 91% of lots finding new owners.

Drawing attention from bidders spanning 60 countries, the auction showcased the increasing influence of online transactions, with more than a third of buyers opting for digital participation.

Geoff Hess Reflects on Success

Geoff Hess, the Head of Watches for the Americas (@manhattanrollie), expressed his pride in the team’s accomplishments during this season’s Important Watches sale.

Sotheby's Important Watches Auction Sets Records with $14.5 Million Sales
From Left to Right: A F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance ‘Ruthenium’ And A MB&F Reference HM9 ‘Sapphire Vision’ Flow

Hess remarked, “Today, the enduring strength of trophy vintage pieces was unmistakably evident, accompanied by a noteworthy demand for newly discovered treasures.” Reflecting on the sale, Hess underscored the human element of watch collecting, stating, “Watch collecting rests far more in the human element of the owner than the actual watch itself.”

Exploring Vintage Marvels: Patek Philippe Takes the Spotlight

The auction showcased remarkable achievements from both Modern and Vintage pieces, with a notable highlight being the sale of a Patek Philippe Reference 1463 ‘Tasti Tondi.’

Sotheby's Important Watches Auction Sets Records with $14.5 Million Sales
A Patek Philippe Reference 1463 ‘Tasti Tondi’ 

This vintage timepiece, cased in 18k yellow gold and featuring a rare ‘Breguet’ dial, fetched a substantial $596,900, exceeding its estimated value of $200,000 – $400,000.

An unexpected revelation came in the form of a 14k Yellow Gold Rolex Reference 6241 Daytona Paul Newman ‘John Player Special.’ This timepiece, hidden for nearly 50 years in a bank’s safety deposit box, soared to an astonishing $1.5 million, setting a new record for its reference. The watch’s unique history and its surprise discovery contributed to its remarkable success in the auction.

The Legacy of ‘Hammer’ Bloore: Panerai Collection Shines

The auction reached new heights with the sale of the extraordinary Collection of Alan ‘Hammer’ Bloore, a distinguished Panerai enthusiast.

Comprising Panerai’s rarest watches, the 37-piece collection earned an impressive $1.6 million, with 95% of lots finding buyers. Highlighting the collection was a Rolex Reference 6263 Daytona, which fetched $171,450, surpassing its estimated value of $100,000 – $200,000.

Alan “Hammer” Bloore At His Home In Brisbane, Australia
Image: Alexander Sharkey

The auction spotlight on ‘Hammer’ Bloore continues, with an additional 20 watches from his collection available in Sotheby’s Fine Watches auction.

Independent Watchmakers Shine Bright

Independent watchmakers left an indelible mark on the auction, with five out of the top ten highest-performing timepieces bearing their signatures. The F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance ‘Ruthenium’ and the MB&F Reference HM9 ‘Sapphire Vision’ Flow achieved remarkable success, fetching $342,900 and $317,500, respectively.

The Important Watches auction witnessed another highlight with the sale of a yellow gold Cartier Reference 7672 Baignoire. This vintage piece, gifted by Charlie Chaplin to his wife Oona Chaplin, surpassed expectations by realizing $34,290, doubling its pre-sale high estimate of $8,000 – $16,000.

Sotheby's Important Watches Auction Sets Records with $14.5 Million Sales
From Left to Right: A Cartier Reference 7672 Baignoire And the 70th Timepiece Of The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 Limited-Edition Series

Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 limited-edition timepiece, dedicated to ocean conservation, secured a winning bid of $33,020. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Oceana, supporting initiatives for marine habitat protection and fisheries improvement in North America.

In conclusion, Sotheby’s Important Watches auction not only set financial records but also showcased the enduring allure of timepieces, with vintage, modern, and independent pieces capturing the hearts of discerning collectors worldwide.

The human stories behind each watch added a layer of richness, emphasizing that the true value of these timepieces extends beyond their mechanical precision to the personal narratives they carry.

Images: Sotheby’s

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