Most Expensive WristWatches Sold at Auction

Most Expensive WristWatches Sold at Auction

Updated at 22/12/2019 14:58 Collectors Watches Patek Philippe Rolex

WHY COLLECT?

People collect all sorts of items. Exotic cars, memorabilia, art objects, or fine mechanical watches. There is always someone on the hunt for something special. Once a watch is on a collector’s must-have list, the hunt begins. Grail watches change hands by private transfers, dealers, and personal networking. The best of the best get auctioned. As we hurtle through the 21st century, prices are climbing. Watchnerd.com presents the list of most expensive wristwatches sold at auction.

 Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A

This one- off version in steel of the Grand Master Chime developed for the the Christies Only watch auction held on the 9th of November 2019 didnt fail to meet expecations of a record price. At $31.2M dollars, lot no28 at the auction made history. The salmon colored front dial bears the inscription “The Only One” on the alarm subdial at 12 o’clock. This is Patek Philippes most complicated wristwatch with 20 complications and 6 new patents

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PAUL NEWMAN ROLEX DAYTONA REFERENCE 6239

Photo courtsey of WSJ

Joanne Woodward never saw it coming. The Rolex Daytona she bought for her husband back in the ‘60s was an appreciated gift. After all the Daytona wants to take you around the track, and Paul was behind the wheel a lot. Now that’s what you call a gift idea. Paul’s personal Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Reference 6239 sold at auction. The opening bid for the watch was $10,000,000. It took 12 minutes to hammer and hammer it did. Phillips Auction House took in $17,000,000 and change. This historic auction made Paul’s Daytona the most expensive watch ever sold at auction.

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PATEK PHILIPPE  STAINLES STEEL PERPETUAL CALNEDAR CHRONOGRAPH REF: 1518A

Patek Philippe gave us the ref 1518 in 1941 as their first perpetual calendar chronograph. Watchmakers didn’t do perpetual calendar chronographs during that era. This stunning PP created a precedent. Patek Philippe produced the model until 1954. Only 4 out of a total of 281, of the 1518, are said to have been produced in stainless steel. This watch auctioned in 2017 for a staggering $11,100,000.

PATEK PHILIPPE GRAND COMPLICATIONS REF 5016

The PP Ref 5016 is one of Patek Philippe's most complicated and most sought after watches. Produced between 1993 and 2011, this is a grail watch. PP created this version in 2015 for auction at Geneva’s only watch event. This piece features a tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and a retrograding date. The watch features a blue enamel dial with old Breguet numerals. The Calatrava-style stainless case measures 36.80 mm. The moon phase is accurate to one day in 122 years. Complicated yes. It hammered at more than $7,250,000 at the Only watch auction in Geneva 2015

PATEK PHILIPPE TITANIUM MINUTE REPEATER REF:5208T-010

This Patek Philippe Ref. 5208T-010 sold for CHF 6.2 million at Geneva’s Only Watch event. This extraordinary timepiece is the first and only titanium version of the Ref. 5208. Complications include a minute repeater, a mono-pusher chronograph, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar. The blue dial is a hand-guilloched “Carbon” motif. The movement is visible through a display back. Stunning to say the least. Best bring a loupe.

THE ROLEX COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA REF. 6265 “UNICORN”

Photo courtsey of Philips

“The Unicorn” is beyond rare. It's the only known white gold manual-winding Daytona ever produced. The white gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6265 sold at the “Daytona Ultimatum” auction held in Geneva. This rare beauty sold for $5.9 million, double its pre-sale estimate. The unicorn is the number two Rolex at auction behind Newman’s Daytona.

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PATEK PHILIPPE  CHRONOGRAPH REF. 1527

This 18k gold masterpiece appeared in 1943. It features a chronograph, perpetual calendar, and moon-phase display in a tonneau-shaped case. The silvered matte dial shows three dials. One each for constant seconds, a 30 minutes register, and date - moon phases. The watch sold at auction in 2010 for 5.7 million dollars.

THE ROLEX BAO DAI TRIPLEC CALENDAR REF 6062

Photo courtsey of Phillips

This Rolex 6062 belonged to the last emperor of Vietnam. Created in 1952, it is the only known ref 6062 with a black dial and diamond indexes. The Bao Dai auction in 2017 for more than $5,000,000. It is interesting to note that the very same watch sold for $235,000 15 years earlier in 2002.

PATEK PHILIPPE CHRONOGRAPH REF 130

Photo courtsey of Phillips

As you know, machine tools used to make a gold watch differ from those used to make a stainless steel watch. PP solved this by using two different case suppliers. PP customers opt for the luxurious gold versions. Yet this utilitarian steel version from 1927 is the most collectible. This PP 130 sold for 4.9 million in May of 2015 at an auction in Geneva. PP made 1500 pieces over thirty years. 146 in steel exist today.

PATEK PHILIPPE WORLD TIME REFERENCE 1415

Picture courtsey of Antiquorum  

This PP creates an ideal situation for auction magic. There is only one vintage world time in platinum known to exist. This particular watch is from 1939. Several in yellow gold and a few with enamel map dials still exist. It last sold in 2002 for north of $4,000,000.

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PATEK PHILIPPE REF 2458 – PLATINUM OBSERVATORY WRISTWATCH

Texas attorney J. B. Champion, Jr. was one of the best lawyers of his time. He was passionate about Patek Philippe watches and was an avid collector. He kept a meticulous archive of wristwatch related documents and other printed materials. He owned between 10-20 PP watches. His treasures included The Platinum Observatory Wristwatch. Only two exist. J.B. owned the only one cased in platinum out of 30 produced. His name appeared on the dial at the 6 o’clock marker. The watch, made in 1952, sold after his death in the early ‘70s and commanded $3.99 million at auction in 2012. Who could imagine that a Rolex Daytona could fetch a price into the $17,000,000s? Stay tuned though, there are no signs of the collector’s watch market slowing down anytime soon. That means there are more lightning-fast auctions and record prices to come.

THE TIMELESS PASSION OF WATCHNERD.COM

Not content with a watch that only tells time? Special watches are out there. If you are asking yourself how do I choose a watch like this? What should I pay? Is there value behind the brand and price? You owe it to yourself to look closer into the Watchnerd.com buyer decision making guides. Watchnerd.com shows you your options as a buyer. Our guides are indispensable while trying to decide which brand and model is right for you. Watchnerd.com is ready to help.  Our passion is timeless.

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