Christie’s sold $8.4 million of vintage and modern timepieces in New York, led by a $353,000 Patek Philippe pocket watch.
The 1985 miniature enamel time-only pocket watch depicting Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Two Sisters” by Suzanne Rohr, set a record for its category at the auction in New York on Wednesday. The timepiece, which had a high estimate of $180,000, was sold to an anonymous Asian collector. Of the 262 lots offered, 237 sold.
Collectors’ interest in specialty timepieces, especially enamels, has increased as wealthy buyers look for alternative ways to invest. In May, an 88-year-old Patek Philippe set a record price for a stainless-steel wristwatch when it sold for $5 million at Phillips in Geneva.
“Rarity is being fueled by passionate collectors with too much money,” said Edward Faber, president of Aaron Faber gallery in New York, which specializes in jewelry and watches. “Rare enamels, specialty enamels, even contemporary enamels, are bringing extraordinary prices.”
At the Wednesday auction, a 1950 Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. chronograph watch sold to a private Asian collector for $341,000, surpassing its high estimate of $250,000. All prices include commissions; estimates don’t.
A 1957 Rolex Submariner watch fetched $269,000. The James Bond watch, worn by Sean Connery in “Dr. No,” the franchise’s first film, is favored among Rolex collectors for its masculine design.
A Patek Philippe chronograph watch with moon phases made in 1976 sold for $305,000, within its estimate of $260,000 to $360,0000. Another Patek Philippe chronograph watch with moon phases that was manufactured in 1951 sold for $281,000, above its low estimate of $200,000.
“People are looking for trophies,” John Reardon, international head of watches for Christie’s, said in an interview. “You’re going to see competition on the high end, which generates sales prices that are market making.”