Actualités des Montres - 2023-05-22
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A look back at the Geneva watch auctions - May 2023

Some ground-breaking sales were recorded at the May 2023 auctions in Geneva, showing overall satisfactory results.

As usual, the auction houses convened mid-May, from the 12th to the 16th of May 2023, for their spring sales which kick-off in Geneva, continuing in Hong Kong at the end of May, and concluding mid-June in New York.

The two flagship houses are undoubtedly, Phillips first, led by Aurel Bacs, and Christie’s, which has considerably strengthened its expertise over the past few years. During these same periods, Sotheby’s and Antiquorum also organized their auction sessions, to take advantage of the momentum and thus creating quite an interesting synergy.

This auction period is also an opportunity for the different market players to meet and invite their clients. Our Swiss partner Iconic Swiss Watch had organized for the occasion a collaboration with the gallery owner Weng Contemporary. Thus, contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Christo, or Jan Henderiske were displayed in their Geneva showroom (just a few steps away from the sales venues) to name a few... without counting some watch references on the ISW side such as a Sovereign Chronometer Havana F.P. Journe, two splendid Patek Philippe 3940G and 5205G, or the more confidential Streamliner from Moser and Passage de Drake from Czapek.

Some pieces from Weng Contemporary
Timepieces in the spotlight, amongst the artworks

Looking back at the highlights of a session with more than positive results...

The Auctions at Phillips

Phillips - The Geneva Auctions : XVII

The sales took place in two stages, on Saturday and Sunday, and undoubtedly recorded the most spectacular results, achieving as usual (see the 2022 edition - link to the article) the highest prices (sometimes never recorded) and displaying 100% of the watches sold. The highest score was that of a splendid 4-digit Rolex: a Rolex Daytona 6270 set (8 pieces ever produced, a reference even rarer than the 6269!) reached the incredible sum of 3,690,000 CHF, almost 40% more than Phillips' high estimate range!

Other record prices include a Rolex Milgauss 6541 for 2,238,000 CHF, a Jean-Claude Biver prototype watch for 1,270,000 CHF. Also notable was an absolutely exquisite Patek Philippe 3940 with a champagne dial and the double signature of the Beyer dials, manufactured specifically for the 225th anniversary of Beyer, awarded for 292,000 CHF... In general, the selection was as usual very beautiful, very "thoughtful", and displayed sustained scores in a very homogeneous way.

Rolex Daytona 6270
Rolex Milgauss 6541
Patek Philippe 3940 & its Beyer dial
Engravings on the caseback of the 3940

The Auctions at Christie's

Two major sales were orchestrated one day after another, "The Art of F.P. Journe" which contained, by definition, only F.P. Journe watches, and "Rare Watches" which offered a very similar selection in spirit to that of Phillips. Overall, both sales were quite successful, with some very good scores, and sometimes, some disappointments that are unexplained...

The F.P. Journe sale

The FP Journe sale generated 14,000,000 CHF or about 350,000 CHF per watch (!) for 40 watches in the catalogue. The most significant sale of the day was the Tourbillon Souverain in platinum "subscription" model (i.e., the watches offered for subscription at the beginning of the F.P. Journe adventure, and therefore the rarest) with a serial number 2 out of 20. This fantastic and extremely rare watch fetched the price of 2,707,000 CHF to a round of applause in the room.

F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain
F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance

The Rare Watches sale

The Rare Watches sale, on the other hand, realized 26,000,000 CHF for 159 watches, averaging 163,000 CHF per watch, which is significant given the number of watches. For more "granularity", 94 watches scored between 2,000 CHF and 99,000 CHF, 32 watches scored between 100,000 CHF and 200,000 CHF while 9 watches ranged between 200,000 CHF and 300,000 CHF. It was therefore the big sales that significantly pulled the average up, with 6 watches scoring above 1,000,000 CHF.

The two most spectacular results involve a Rolex Daytona 6269 (a model similar to the 6270 sold at Phillips) which scored 1,134,000 CHF and a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 "Tiffany" which fetched 2,223,000 CHF (with an estimate between 2,000,000 CHF and 4,000,000 CHF). Overall, the recorded results fell in the middle of the high and low range, and were therefore satisfactory. Some weaknesses were noted, however, regarding certain vintage Nautilus or Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars, a trend not confirmed at Phillips... Indeed, "anomalies" in results were observed between Christie's and Phillips, which could be explained by the momentum of each sale.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 "Tiffany"
Rolex Daytona 6269

The Auctions at Sotheby’s

Finally, at Sotheby's, perfectly honorable results were noted and above all a very (very) beautiful collection of "4 digit" Daytonas (the most beautiful selection of all the auction houses), between Daytona 6239, 6239 "Paul Newman Panda", 6240 Paul Newman "Inverted Panda", 6241 "Paul Newman", 6263 gold and steel, and finally the highlight of the show with a Rolex Daytona 6241 "John Player Special" (JPS) which reached the record sum of 2,238,000 CHF.

Rolex Cosmograph 6239 Le Mans "Double Swiss"
Rolex Daytona 6240 "Paul Newman"
Rolex Daytona 6241 "Paul Newman"
Rolex Daytona 6241 "JPS"

In conclusion of these sales, a very beautiful moment and results that confirm a lot of liquidity for the rarest pieces.

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