An exceptional 18k white gold Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phase stole the show at Bonhams 14 December Fine Watch sale at New Bond Street, realising £96,250 (£60,000-80,000), the highest price achieved in the sale.
The sale saw very strong interest from bidders both at home and internationally, with 84% of lots selling overall and a total of £1,463,750.
Jonathan Darracott, Global Head of Watches commented: 'This sale was filled with interesting pieces, and followed the current trend of exceeding expectations. It is a highly positive reflection of the current watch market, and we are thrilled to be ending the year with a successful sale.'
An unexpected highlight of the sale was an exquisite 18K rose gold manual wind handmade wristwatch from the independent Finnish watchmaker Voutilaninen. The last lot of the sale, it initially inspired frantic bidding in the saleroom before culminating in a head-to-head exchange on the telephones lasting several minutes. The lot eventually realised £63,750, over double its initial estimate of £25,000-30,000.
Unsurprisingly, a number of Patek Philippe watches performed outstandingly throughout the sale. These included a rare Patek Philippe 'tool watch,' (Ref:3417), the first anti-magnetic watch to be produced in series which sold for £56,250.
From Rolex, the stainless steel military issue submariner (ref:5513) was the top performer. Originally designed for Special Forces under strict guidelines issues by the Ministry of Defence, the watch benefitted from Tritium luminous paint and oversized hands for clear legibility in time-sensitive combat situations. The rarity of such a fine example was reflected in the final price of £47,500. Its predecessor, the Omega Seamaster 300 Ref:154.024, is rarely seen at auction as many members of the Special Forces 'accidentally' lost or destroyed in a bid to be upgraded to the newer Rolex. The rarity of such a fine example was reflected in the final price achieved today of £38.125 (£20,000-30,000).
Other highlights included:
- A very rare stainless steel oversized military manual wind wristwatch Radiomir, Ref:3646 sold for £45,000 (£30,000-40,000)
- A fine 18K rose gold manual wind Patek Philippe chronograph wristwatch Reg: 5070R sold for £41,250 (£32,000-38,000)
- A very fine and rare Audemars Piguet 18K rose gold Grande and Petit Sonnerie manual wind repeating wristwatch Ref:25750OR/O/0002/01 sold for £40,000 (£30,000-40,000)
Darracott added: 'This has been the best ever year for our London watch department, and we look forward to matching and indeed improving on our successes in 2017.'
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com