Over the past few days, a host of important auctions by top houses, such as Christie's, Phillips and Sotheby's, took place in Geneva. The results were nothing short of stellar – proving that buying new watches today could lead to great profits tomorrow.
In fact, with these watch auctions as the ticking point — or pulse of the vintage and resale market — we can bet that there is a very healthy watch collecting world poised for even more excitement as the auction season continues. If the most recent sales are any indication, top lots still in high demand are from brands such as Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, among others.
Significant sales included a white gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6265 “Unicorn” selling for $5.9 million at the Phillips Auction entitled “Daytona Ultimatum.” The "Unicorn" is the second-most-expensive Rolex Daytona sold at auction – second to Paul Newman’s own Paul Newman Daytona that fetched $17.5 million last year at Phillips. That watch’s incredible value was due in large part to the fact that it belonged to and was worn by the famed Paul Newman, who made the “Paul Newman Daytona” reference famous.
Another important watch sold this past weekend was an Omega owned by Elvis Presley. The somewhat feminine looking watch with diamond bezel and Tiffany dial sold for $1.8 million – making it the most expensive Omega watch sold at auction. Of course, the watch had belonged to The King and that also is an important provenance.
Additionally, a host of historically interesting pocket watches sold well, as did a number of pilot and aviation watches from various brands, including IWC and Breguet, dating back to the late 20th century. While the big-ticket, flashy-provenance watches get the most press attention, a host of other timepieces went up for auction and sold without so much fanfare.
Also at the upcoming Sotheby's auction next week, some very significant watches by Cartier, Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey, among others, will be making their marks in auction history.
As mentioned, these important results are just another demonstration that buying a watch today can yield increased value down the road. Of course, you need to know which watches to buy. That, or you need to become somewhat famous to ensure your watch (or watches) will have a provenance to promote in the press and at the auctions. In the coming weeks we will present a series of articles about how to find the right new watch that may increase in value over time.