The secondary watch market has nothing to fear when it comes to the coronavirus. Just look to the phenomenal results from this spring’s watch auctions.
More evidence that not even a pandemic can cool consumer demand for mint condition horological rarities came last week at Phillips’ Hong Kong Watch Auction X, which totaled $14 million, and capped a spring season that has so far earned $47 million for the house.
“This extraordinary result matches Phillips’ 2019 Spring total, yet with only two non-thematic various live auctions held this season,” senior consultant Aurel Bacs said in a statement. “Unrivalled sell-through rates were achieved across the three sales this season, with only three timepieces with a combined value of less than $100,000 going unsold. Collectors’ excitement and enthusiasm for seeking top-quality timepieces is stronger than ever, and proves that not even a global crisis can halt the rise and growth of the vintage watch market.”
Not surprisingly, the sale’s top four lots were all complicated Patek Philippe models: Ref. 2499/100, a 1982 perpetual calendar chronograph in 18-karat yellow gold, achieved $607,590; Ref. 3448/14, a 1975 perpetual calendar with moon phases in white gold, fetched $483,750; a Ref. 3979, a 1996 minute repeating wristwatch in platinum with enamel dial, brought $443,438; and Ref. 5275P-001, an unworn, factory-sealed limited edition chiming wristwatch in platinum made for the brand’s 175th anniversary in 2014, sold for $370,875.
In keeping with the Hong Kong market’s preferences for contemporary models, the top 10 lots included only two watches manufactured prior to 1980, both Rolex Daytonas: a rare 1966 Ref. 6240, in stainless steel with a “Paul Newman” dial, earned $258,000 and a 1968 Ref. 6241, also in stainless steel with a “Paul Newman” dial, brought $225,750.
The sale’s No. 4 lot, a 2018 RM11-03 J. Todt model by the avant-garde watchmaker Richard Mille, fetched $354,750.
Thomas Perazzi, Phillips’ head of watches in Asia, said the sale drew 1,200 online bidders, “the most in any live auction held by Phillips in Asia in company history.”