Jean-Claude Biver’s quartet of rare Patek Philippe watches sold for US$8.6m
The four timepieces were sold at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XI held from Jun 27 to Jun 28, the first live watch sale since the coronavirus pandemic.
The Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XI was set to kick off on May 9 at the Hotel La Reserve, the highlight of which was four vintage Patek Philippe timepieces from the private collection of watchmaking heavyweight Jean-Claude Biver. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the auction house to postpone the auction to a later date, a move that has since paid off.
On Jun 27, the auction finally kicked off, and the quartet of timepieces went under the hammer, collectively selling for US$8.6 million (S$12 million), above their estimate of US$6.8 million.
The top lot of the auction, sold during the auction’s first day on Jun 27, was the Ref. 1518, the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch, launched in 1941. The timepiece sold for US$3.6 million, shattering its high estimate of US$2.5 million.
Coming in second was Biver’s Ref. 2499, which sold for US$2.7 million, well above its US$2.1 million high estimate. The timepiece is the successor to the Ref. 1518, produced in 1957. At one point during the auction, nine bidders competed for the watch.
The number three lot of the sale was the Ref. 1579 from 1946. The vintage watch features a platinum case with blue enamel and spider lugs. It is only one of three models of this reference with a platinum case. The timepiece sold for US$2 million, above its US$1.6 million high estimate.
Biver’s Ref. 96HU World Time was not one of the top lots, but sold within its estimates. This historically significant timepiece fetched US$407,291, above its low estimate of US$315,378.
The Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XI was the first post-pandemic live watch auction. With 210 lots to offer, collectors from across more than 67 countries returned in full force. Sales totalled a whopping US$31.6 million.
The auction was not limited to just Patek Philippe timepieces. Independent watchmaker FP Journe also had much to celebrate. The Tourbillon Souverain Subscription sold for US$1.5 million, almost five times above its high estimate of US$310,000.