Patek Philippe tonneau minute repeating wristwatch engraved with the Graves family coat-of-arms sold for nearly $3 million.
Sotheby’s said Friday that its global watch and clock auctions in 2012 saw a year-over-year growth rate of 43 percent to total $85 million in sales, the highest-ever annual total for this category at the international auction house.
The Hong Kong sales brought in $28.3 million, well above pre-sale total estimate of $20.6 million and a 20 percent, year-over-year increase. Europe sales in Geneva and London totaled $30.3 million, while New Yorkachieved $26.48 million—an 83 percent increase from 2011.
“With the reconstruction of the department we have seen tremendous and unprecedented growth in the company’s watch and clock auction and private sale business, with record-breaking results in Hong Kong, New York and London, and clients participating from nearly 70 countries around the world,” said Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches.
In the U.S., the New York June auctions of watches from the Collection of The Late Reginald H. Fullerton, Jr. and His Grandfather Henry Graves, Jr., offered in a dedicated sale, was 100 percent sold by lot and achieved $8.3 million, almost tripling its estimate, Sotheby’s said. The auction was led by The Henry Graves, Jr. Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch by Patek Philippe (pictured) that sold for nearly $3 million, soaring above its $800,000 high estimate to achieve the highest-ever price for a wristwatch at Sotheby’s.
In December, Sotheby’s set a new auction record for any clock and the second-highest price for any timepiece at auction when The Duc d’Orléans Breguet Sympathique sold for $6.8 million. In addition, a Patek Philippe Ref. 2512/1 wristwatch sold for $962,000, more than nine times its pre-sale low estimate.
In Hong Kong, the April auction saw world records achieved for a Patek Philippe Dufour wristwatch ($617,949), as well as Patek Philippe Ref. 5079 ($510,256). In October, a Patek Philippe Ref. 5104 wristwatch sold for $633,333, while a Patek Philippe Ref. 5002P Sky Moon Tourbillon fetched $1.35 million.
Sotheby’s watch sales in Europe were highlighted by the landmark London auction of The George Daniels Horological Collection in November which achieved a total of $13.2 million with a remarkable 98.5 percent of the 137 lots belonging to the great British horologist sold. All of the nine watches made by George Daniels saw strong demand, selling above their high estimates. The top lot of the sale was George Daniels’ Space Traveller’s Watch, which fetched more than $2.1 million—establishing not only a new record for Daniels at auction, but also a record For an English watch and for an independent watchmaker at auction.
Sotheby’s Geneva Spring and Autumn auctions were led by rare models of vintage and modern wristwatches, including a most probably unique example of Patek Philippe Ref. 2524/1 retailed by Tiffany & Co, which doubled pre-sale expectations by selling for $571,328 in November. A further highlight was the sale in May of a 1825 carriage clock by the celebrated watch and clockmaker, Breguet, which was bought for $452,202 by the Breguet Museum, Paris.