in a five-minute auction, a rare Audemars Piguet watch sold for more than twice the estimate– a massive $1.1 million.
The 2020 Royal Oak Grand Complication, Reference 26605, went under the hammer in New York at Sotheby’s Important Watches auction on Monday.
It blew past the pre-sale estimate of between $200,000 and $400,000.
Luxury watch prices are doing the opposite of the crypto market right now, they are absolutely skyrocketing in value.
The Royal Oak helped send Sotheby’s year-to-date watch sales over the $100 million mark.
That’s a 100 percent increase over the same stretch of time in 2021.
Sotheby’s Important Watches head of sale Leigh Zagoory said the year’s sales so far showed people’s “ever-growing fascination with watches around the world”.
Watch of the moment: AP Royal Oak Grand Complication
The $1.1 million price tag was a record for the reference at auction.
With a skeletonized dial, the ceramic automatic perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch has a split-seconds chronograph.
It is thought to be “possibly unique”, Sotheby’s describes.
The auction lasted for five minutes with 12 potential buyers dialing in, in the room and online.
Another Royal Oak perpetual calendar was also among the 23 timepieces sold by Sothebys, selling for $529,200 (more than double the estimate, $150,000 to $250,000).
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Other watches sold:
- White-gold AP Royal Oak Grand Complication – $630,000
- Patek Philippe’s neo-vintage Ref 3970 ‘London Edition’ – $579,600
- AP ‘Marcus edition’ Grand Complication – $378,000
- Richard Mille white gold skeletonized dual time tourbillon wristwatch, Caliber RM003 – $315,000
- Patek Philippe Celestial Reference 5102 – $529,200
- Four Patek Philippe reference 5270 watches – combined $1.5 million
High demand for watches
Eighty-nine percent of the lots sold at this auction, with 96 percent selling within or above their estimates, Sotheby’s says.
The average price was $121,570, up 118 percent compared to last year.
A total of eight timepieces sold for more than $500,000.
Zagoory says the results “continue to demonstrate the resiliency and buoyancy in the watch-collecting market”.
“From vintage timepieces to today’s best-in-class models, our sale was reflective of the ever-growing fascination with watches around the world, and its performance sets another important benchmark for the company, as we surpass $100 million for global watches sales year-to-date, firmly putting us on track to have another record-breaking year.”
Rival auction house Christie’s is also seeing a bumper year of watch sales.
Over two auctions last week, it made more than $21.7 million in watch sales, “a new record for the highest total ever for a watches auction at Christie’s New York”.
“We are pleased with strong results for watches throughout this season, having achieved a new record for the highest valued watches sale at Christie’s New York in only 137 lots,” Christies Americas head of watches Keith Davis said.
“Overall, the auction realized a robust sell-through rate of 97 percent by lot with results by renowned and independent watchmakers. It is a true testament to the strong demand for watches of exceptional provenance and rarity.”