Sotheby’s May 15 Geneva sale presented pieces representing five centuries of watchmaking, from 1580 to the present day. The top price was realized by a very rare Patek Philippe ref. 2499 which fetched $815,637, and by one of the most exclusive examples of a stainless steel Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” with inverted lines, which brought $233,150.
All totaled, the sale yielded $8,753,568 including buyers’ premiums.
The top-selling lot, number 185, was a yellow gold Patek Philippe chronograph wristwatch with perpetual calendar, moon phases and tachometer scale. First sold on December 18, 1962, it sold within the pre-sale estimate.
The Paul Newman Daytona, lot 280, is an extremely rare example with inverted lines and an unusual signature on the dial featuring “Oyster” on the third line after “Rolex” and “Cosmograph”. This piece, which dates to approximately 1967, was accompanied by an original presentation case and guarantee.
Among the various vintage Daytona models of the Rolex section, lot 108 – a unique version of the gold cosmograph wristwatch (ref. 16528) with a printing error on the dial brought $138,291. Called the “Daytona 13”, it was accompanied by a letter from Rolex Chairman Heiniger confirming the printing error – the chronograph seconds register shows a 13 rather than a 15 at 3 o’clock.
Among the top prices for modern wristwatches were the $341,495 achieved for lot 222, a Greubel Forsey no. 77 platinum double tourbillon, circa 2007, and the $192,479 for lot 269, an Audemars Pigue alacrite and titanium manual winding wristwatch, circa 2002.
Editor’s note: the image of the Patek Philippe ref. 2499 is representative of the reference and is not the actual timepiece sold at this sale.