On 13 November 2018, Sotheby’s Geneva sold the most expensive watch auctioned this year. One of the world’s most important vintage watches ever presented at auction, “The Asprey” soared to CHF 3,915,000 ($3,879,834). “The Asprey” - a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph reference 2499 manufactured in 1952 - was the star lot of an exceptional selection of world-class vintage wristwatches. The auction attracted over 900 bidders from 54 countries, with nearly a quarter of buyers choosing to buy online. Testament to the huge potential in this market and the depth of demand for the finest pieces, 30% of participants were new to Sotheby’s. Enthused by the quality and expertise they found in today’s sale, international collectors drove the final total of the “Important Watches” sale to CHF 12,208,000 ($ 12,098,372) – the second highest total in ten years for a Sotheby’s watch sale in Geneva1 (est: CHF 9.8m – 16.9m / $9.7m – 16.7m). 81% of lots sold, with almost half of them selling above the high estimate.

Patek Philippe Reference 2499 The Asprey
Patek Philippe Reference 2499 “The Asprey”

Speaking after the sale, Sam Hines, Global Head of Sotheby’s Watches, commented, “The enthusiasm we felt from international collectors before the sale has translated into strong bidding today, in recognition of the world- class quality pieces we offered, including of course the legendary “Asprey”. This watch is the ultimate 2499: enormously rare, absolutely pristine – a dream for watch lovers. In 2018, we have seen some of our best results in years, and we are delighted that our approach, seeking out the very highest quality and focusing on expertise, has resonated with collectors.”

Patek Philippe The Asprey
Patek Philippe Reference 2499 “The Asprey”

Patek Philippe Reference 2499 “The Asprey”

Four bidders on the phone and two in the room competed for this wristwatch, which is exceptional in every way. Known simply as “The Asprey”, this Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph reference 2499 was the star of today’s auction in Geneva, achieving a final price of CHF 3,915,000 / $ 3,879,843. Manufactured in 1952 and sold in 1956, this Patek Philippe 2499 1st series was retailed by Asprey of London in 1956. It is the most complicated Patek Philippe sold by the prestigious London jeweller. The dial is double signed by both the manufacture and Asprey, the case is stamped with London hallmarks and the date letter for 1955 and the inside case back too bears London import marks and the Asprey stamp. A legend amongst the market and collecting community, the watch has remained in the same private collection since first coming to auction in 2006 (lot 220 estimate CHF 2,000,000 – 4,000,000 / $ 2,020,000 – 4,040,000).

Patek Philippe Reference 2499
Patek Philippe Reference 2499 “The Asprey”

Vintage Watches Steal The Show

Fresh to the market and previously unknown, an extraordinary Rolex Daytona reference 6239 with a ‘Pulsometer’ dial - among the rarest chronographs ever made - was sold for CHF 831,000 / $823,538 (Lot 216, estimate CHF 500,000 – 1,000,000 / $505,000 – 1,010,000).

A stunning example of Patek Philippe’s reference 3448, made in white gold in 1977 and one of only around 50 known on the market exceeded pre-sale expectations to sell for CHF 519,000 / $514,339 (lot 224, estimate CHF 200,000 – 300,000 / $202,000 – 303,000).

An extraordinary example of Patek Philippe’s legendary reference 1518, a perpetual calendar chronograph in yellow gold from 1950 sold for CHF 495,000 / $490,555 (lot 225, estimate CHF 300,000 – 500,000 / $303,000 – 505,000).

For more information visit Sotheby’s Online.