On December 5, 1766, James Christie held his first auction in London. Two hundred and fifty years later, the house he founded is helping to celebrate that extraordinary milestone with a trio of watch sales that kicked off earlier this month in Geneva. “The common theme is fresh-to-market pieces we haven’t seen before,” says John Reardon, Christie’s international head of watches. In addition to a November 28 sale in Hong Kong and a December 6 sale in New York, Christie’s also features a robust series of online auctions, which “are bringing in an unprecedented amount of new clients,” Reardon says. Not that the live sales are going away anytime soon. “I still think the magic of traditional auction can’t be replaced,” he says. That’s one reason why the house chose to pay tribute to Patek Philippe’s sought-after Nautilus model, which turns 40 this year, in a unique way: Each of Christie’s four live auctions this fall—including its October 19 Dubai sale—features 10 lots devoted to the horological icon. “It’s a very appropriate way to honor the legacy of the Nautilus,” Reardon says. And considering the record-setting $11.1 million auction price realized by another Patek Philippe model last week, it could be a lucrative one as well.
Below, Robbreport.com highlights the most memorable timepieces from each sale—pay extra attention to the pocket watches, a category that Reardon describes as “unbelievably hot and completely underpriced.” Happy bidding!