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Highlights from the Fall Geneva Auctions

During the past few days, Antiquorum, Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby's offered important watches in four auctions held in Geneva. All together, these sales raised the impressive amount of more than Swiss Francs 54 million.


Held over two days (November 10 and 11), the “Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT” organised by Phillips Watches realised a total of CHF 21,359,750 surpassing the pre-sale high estimate with many of the 222 lots offered.

Leading this weekend’s results was a rare platinum Patek Philippe reference 3974 (lot 78A), one of only eight publicly known in platinum, which sold for a remarkable CHF 1,032,500. Created under the guidance of Philippe Stern, this reference was launched in 1989 to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary and features an in-house self-winding movement with minute repeater, perpetual calendar, 24-hour indication and phases of the moon.


There were strong results across all models for Rolex, including a new world record for a Rolex reference 6236, a chronograph wristwatch with triple calendar also known as the “Jean-Claude Killy”, from the name of the famous French ski racer and Rolex ambassador. One of the best-preserved example to ever come to auction, the steel “Killy” (lot 42) realised CHF 702,500 breaking its own world record in the process.


Another highlight of the evening was the historically important Rolex Sea-Dweller reference 1665 “Single Red” (lot 174), a prototype in stainless steel with no helium valve case which sold for CHF 708,500 therefore setting a new world record for a Rolex Sea-Dweller.


A limited edition in platinum of a Tourbillon Souverain model produced by F.P.Journe in 1998 (lot 14) smashed the high estimate of CHF 180,000 selling for the amount of CHF 468,500. Bearing number 16/20, this rare timepiece is in almost brand new unworn condition and accompanied by original fitted box, original invoice/order document, technical drawings and product literature.



The Antiquorum “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” auction was held on Sunday the 11th and totalled CHF 8,075,892. Sold lots included a rare and technically remarkable Jaeger LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon in black platinum produced in 2010 (lot 225) which achieved the amount of CHF 197,000. The number 2 of a limited edition of just 5 pieces, this model features an inclined light-weight two-cage multi-axis spherical tourbillon, two barrels with sapphire covers, equation of time, perpetual calendar with retrograde month indication, leap-year indication, patented instant date display by means of two retrograde hands, and power reserve indication.



On November the 12th, Christie’s “Rare Watches” auction realised a total of CHF 13,310,688. The star of this auction was lot 234, a Patek Philippe yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases ref. 2499, first series, manufactured in 1952 and retailed by Serpico y Laino, Caracas. With an initial estimate of CHF 1,500,000 - CHF 2,500,000, the watch sold for CHF 3,252,500. The rarity of reference 2499 (only 349 watches produced in 35 years) as well as the exceptional conditions of this piece — the only reference 2499 across the entire production run to have ‘Serpico y Laino Caracas’ on the dial — are some of the key reasons that contributed to the exceptional result.


Lot 110, a rare and early stainless steel Omega Speedmaster chronograph, Broad Arrow model ref. 2915-1, manufactured in 1958, realised CHF 125,000. The watch was completed by a stainless steel first-generation bracelet ref. 7077 with deployant clasp and the Omega Extract from the Archives confirming production in 1958 and subsequent shipment to Mexico.


A platinum triple axis flying tourbillon wristwatch (lot 32) created by watchmaker Thomas Prescher in 2007 realised CHF 175,000. This model, the Trilogy No. 5, also features a constant force mechanism, and a made-to-order onyx dial.



The day after, another Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ref. 2499 significantly contributed to the Sotheby’s “Important Watches” auction total of CHF 12,208,000.

Produced in 1952 and retailed by Asprey as evidenced by the dial, the lot 220 was sold for an amount of CHF 3,915,000. 


Lot 238, a Rolex Submariner “Milsub” ref.5517 made for the British Armed Forces in 1978, sold for CHF 218,750.


The high valuation is due to its rarity. Throughout the 1970s Rolex supplied its Submariner model to the British Military for use by the Special Forces. Over the course of the decade around 1,200 pieces were manufactured for the Armed Forces. Utilising references 5513 and 5517, these watches were altered to meet military specifications becoming particularly attractive for collectors. Military Submariner dials are marked with a letter T above the depth rating, the lugs feature fixed bars, and the case backs are engraved with a Military issue number, supply date and the famous ‘Broad Arrow’. On some 5513, and all 5517 (as with the present lot), Rolex fitted wider ‘Sword’ hands and a new bezel calibrated in its entirety to 60 units.


For the full lists of the lots that were sold at these auctions, just follow the links below:

Phillips: “Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT”, Geneva, 10 and 11 November 2018

Antiquorum: “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces”, Geneva, 11 November 2018

Christie’s: “Rare Watches”, Geneva, 12 November 2018

Sotheby’s: “Important Watches”, Geneva, 13 November 2018

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Time and Watches: Highlights from the Fall Geneva Auctions
Highlights from the Fall Geneva Auctions
Highlights from the Fall 2018 Geneva Auctions. Patek Philippe reference 3974. Rolex ref. 6236 “Jean-Claude Killy”. Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “Single Red” prototype. Patek Philippe ref. 2499 Serpico y Laino. Thomas Prescher Trilogy No. 5. Rolex Submariner “Milsub” ref.5517
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