Berlin-based Auctionata, the global leader in online sales of fine art, antiques, and luxury collectibles — and recently a player in the niche world of watch auctions — hosted a successful live-stream auction of “Modern and Vintage Timepieces” on January 31, which featured watches from numerous brands at a wide range of price points. Scroll down to see the top lots.
Auctionata’s mission statement is to bring “the classical backdrop of the auction room to the internet, providing bidders with live stream auctions, real-time information on the bidding activities of the participants and the ability to place bids globally.” With a network of more than 250 experts worldwide, the auction house also prides itself on bringing a new, younger demographic to the sometimes intimidating world of timepiece auctions, which many believe to be reserved only for the very affluent.
“Our goal for 2015 is to continue offering a safe and trusted environment to buy the best and most accessible watches for our global audience. This auction was a great way to kick off our New York sales for the year,” said Dr. Oliver Hoffman, Auctionata’s Head of Watches. “Having sold over 3,000 timepieces in 2014 to bidders around the world, our team is excited to continue building the number one live stream auction marketplace for rare and collectible timepieces.”
The top sellers, and the prices they fetched, bear out this philosophy. However, as one would expect, much of the top five spots were claimed by that most collectible of luxury watch brands, Patek Philippe.
The top-selling lot (#49) was a Patek Philippe, Ref. 3970EP, from 2003, one of Patek’s renowned perpetual calendar chronographs — in this case, an exceedingly rare example, outfitted with a black diamond dial. The case is platinum and features ebony and 18k white gold chronpgraph pushers. The watch was sold with its full box and papers, fetching $114,000 — short of its $150,000 estimate but an impressive showing nonetheless.
A sportier model from the luxury watch brand came in second, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut, Ref. 5066, dating to 2000. The watch, with its distinctive curved case and automatic movement, is outfitted with Patek’s traditional “Tropical” rubber strap in black, with the original stainless steel deployant clasp. The Aquanaut (Lot 43) sold for $14,400, beating its pre-sale estimate of $13,000.
The only non-Patek in the auction’s Top Five was a cult classic watch from another traditional Swiss watch manufacture, Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Géographique, Ref. 169.6.92 (Lot 27) was originally sold in 1992 and features an array of traveler-friendly functions, displaying the hours, minutes, seconds, date, second time zone, 24-hour time with reference cities, and a power reserve. The watch was estimated at $11,000 and sold for $12,000.
The oldest timepiece in the top five was this Patek Philippe Calatrava, Ref. 3611/1, from 1980. The watch has a gold hobnailed dial and applied gold baton hour markers with black inserts. It has an 18k yellow gold case (33 mm in diameter) and a woven yellow-gold bracelet with foldover clasp. It contains a manual-wind movement. Designated Lot 45, the Calatrava sold for $9,000, falling a tad short of its $9,500 estimate.
Rounding out the highlight pieces is another Patek Philippe Calatrava (Ref. 3520D-J, Lot 48), retailed by Tiffany & Co. around 2008. It contains the manual-wind caliber 177 and its white dial, with black Roman numeral hour markers and baton hands, features a “Tiffany & Co.” stamp. The 33-mm case is in 18k yellow gold and sports a hobnail bezel. With an estimated sale price of $11,000, its new owner acquired it for a relative bargain at $9,000.
In addition to the headliners, the auction featured a wide variety of collectible watches from numerous brands at various price points, including several vintage Breitling chronographs, Rolex Oysters and Omega Speedmasters, a Ulysse Nardin San Marco with a Jacquemart hour-striker dial, a Chopard Mille Miglia from 2002, a unique Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time GMT originally sold at Only Watch 2009, a pre-TAG-era Heuer Autavia from 1975, and even several Swatches, including a Keith Haring limited edition with a starting price of $300.