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Wed June 12 2013 22:31:26

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

By: Julia Wilkinson

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The bidding war was intense, and there is now one happy new owner of a very rare and special watch: the Patek Philippe Reference 2499. It sold to a bidder in Beverly Hills, CA for $621,000 (€470,000) in the Auctionata June 7th Luxury, Pocket and Wrist Watches Auction. A thousand participants from 65 countries attended the live Internet auction, during which a total of 86 of the 100 lots sold.

The AuctionBytes Blog caught up with Auctionata CEO Alexander Zacke; Director of Auctionata Watch Department, Dr. Oliver Hoffmann; and Auctionata Director Christiane Herzhauser to find out more about what made that and the other luxury, pocket and wrist watches so special.

The $621,000 Patek Philippe Watch

AB: Can you tell us a little more about this record-setting watch, the Patek Philippe Reference 2499? What makes it so special?

AZ:  This watch was one of the most complex watches in its time...the mid-1950s. This explains why Patek Philippe only built just nine timepieces a year. It is a highly complex
and a highly valuable watch for Patek Philippe. The other aspect of the rareness of this watch is that the watch was one of the most important technology instruments for Patek, to evolve the technological understanding of the watch itself. It's about "complications," which are about functionalities which are hidden inside the watch.

OH: I think this model, 2499 was the global breakthrough of modern super-functional chronometer watches. That's why it was one of the first wrist watches with many complications. Of course it has the time, the perpetual calendar, chronograph, chronometer and also it has all the moonphase functions.

Bidding War


AB: Can you talk about the bidding war for this Patek Phillippe watch?

OH: It sold to the United States. I can't tell you who bought it but it went to Beverly Hills, California. There were over 1000 bidders in the auction and from 65 countries. Of course they did not all bid on the Patek Phillippe. We had a small group of people bidding on this watch and it was quite active. I explained quite a lot about this watch; (for) about 12 minutes. In the end, two people from California were left; they both tried to get the watch, but just one was the winner.

AB: I read that a lot of demand for the Patek Philippe watches is driven by the company itself, as they buy it for their Museum in Geneva.

OH: Especially the watches with very special casings. There are quite a lot of Patek Philippe in yellow gold and red gold, but white gold and steel watches are often bought by Patek itself.

Other Special Watches in the Auction

AB:  What are some of the other watches that stood out in the auction?

Rare Patek Phillippe Pocket Watch


OH: I would like to mention two watches in detail. There was another Patek Phillippe watch. It was a pocket watch, and it was a very rare watch as well: the minute
repetition and the - you may know it as split-second chronograph. We sold a very nice pocket watch for €28,000, with the surcharge in total €35,000; I think about $43,000 approximately, and this was a very unique piece of Patek Phillippe.  

Panerai Original Divers' Watch from World War II


The other watch was something completely different. It was a Panerai original divers' watch from the 1940s. Panerai is quite famous for their diver watches.

What was special about this watch was it was a military watch, so they are very, very expensive indeed. It was sold to Italy.

AZ: This watch was specifically designed for divers who had the assignment to put a shell underwater onto a British freight ship. So the freight ships were actually lying in the harbor of Malta, and the Italian submarines came very close to the harbor, and then those divers went out with an already defused shell and with a mine to put it on the bottom of the ship, to sink it. So because all these mines have a time trigger, the watch for them was a matter of life and death.

Radioactive Watch

OH: The Italians created a watch with a very large dial, and you know since it is dark obviously at night, and is specifically dark under water, the dial was illuminated in the dark. And at the time they didn't have the technology make it light in the dark so, they used radioactive material. This is why, this watch that sold for over €60,000, you cannot wear it for longer than one hour, otherwise you get contaminated.

It has a dial that is about the size of your wrist. It's really huge. And obviously after the end of the war there was no use for these watches, so they disappeared. It was rediscovered, I would say 15 years ago. And today people wear these watches, rebuild them brand-new, and it's extremely popular, because it's a totally unique design.

It was a the last attempt of the Axis powers to stop the Americans from penetrating. I can give you actually another insider information: the reason why this watch is so rare: because most of the divers simply dropped the shell and defected to the Americans.

AB: About the market in general, do you see any trends in the luxury timepiece market? Are the prices going up?  Any other brands in particular besides Patek Phillippe that are particularly desirable?

AZ: Well the market in watches very interactive nowadays. There are two main aspects. First of all, there are many new buyers in the market, many people that became interested in watches for the last 10 years or so. And on the other hand it's a great investment opportunity to invest your money in luxury watches, especially auctions where you can get very interesting collector pieces. This will continue rising in price.

You have an interesting group of people buying watches at auctions. So in general you could say the market is a very good market nowadays. And it is highly interesting to sell watches at auctions because you can realize very good prices, especially for collectors' items.

This Patek Phillippe watch, you would not have gotten so much money for this 10 years ago. And the market will grow for the next year (simply because of) the  idea
there is more money; the world earning more money than 10 years before. Especially China is very strong. We sold many quite expensive lots to China as well. And of course the American economy is also getting better and better I would say, and this is why the prices are quite high for the sellers and also good for the buyers, because they can get interesting investment opportunities.

I would say it is a good time to sell watches if you need the money. But the investment idea…to invest in watches as an alternative investment to shares of stock or any other financial instrument is quite attractive nowadays. Of course you can buy watches, and you can wear them. and it's better than a share because the shares are not so interesting compared to a nice watch.

AB: Dr. Hoffman, what kind of watch do you wear? Do you have a collection?

OH: Well yes of course I also collect watches. But right now I am wearing a quite simple but rare Patek Phillippe; it's a stainless steel. But I buy watches
mainly from three brands: Patek Philippe; A.Lange & Söhne, a very famous German brand; and I also have some Breguet watches, which is the famous Swiss brand.

AB:  Auctionata has a cooperation with Chrono24; can you talk about that?

AZ: Chrono24 is the most important marketplace concerning watches. It's a very attractive market, because almost all important buyers and sellers of watches do know
Chrono24. And they are known for having a very good and competitive website on watches. And it's quite natural that we provide a unique auction experience, and so
we are able to sell especially very high-end watches…This is important to the viewers of Chrono24 because they don't have the opportunity to actually buy or sell their watches at auction at the Chrono24 homepage. Together I think we are able to create a very strong format for watch lovers all over the world. We can establish special auctions on special topics, and it's very interesting to watch these auctions because you can learn something about watches, and see watches that the normal person would not normally see. And I think this combination will become very strong very soon.

AB: Thank you very much!

What watch are you wearing now? Do watches interest you as a collectible, and if so, which types and brands? Post a comment here!




Comments (7) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Jun 13 05:29:40 2013

I look at my phone for the time.

Expensive watches? Just seems like more trouble than it will be worth. Unless it attracts ladies who want to buy me drinks.

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Thu Jun 13 14:00:39 2013

It just might, Ed. ;) (Not speaking for myself necessarily..lol). ;)

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

by: bunnspec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 07:59:56 2013

Very interesting article for someone with a long standing watch jones. what makes the Patek wrist and pocket watches so much of a watermark item is the hand machined parts that are also fitted in by hand. Nowadays, CAD/CAM programs are helping create even MORE complicated watches-all the bells and whistles of the pocket watch in a sleek wristwatch.. But I wax on...

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 08:33:11 2013

I stopped wearing a watch when I retired. Time goes by fast enough without being reminded every time you glance at your wrist.
Found it less stressful watching the ''time''.
Also, I have never been late for an appointment since ''retiring'' my watch.  
My watches over the years were never expensive.  

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 14 08:34:50 2013

Forgive me - should have been less stressful NOT watching the time.

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri Jun 14 10:16:49 2013

TIMEX!

Takes a licking & keeps on ticking!

Jool-er-ree is nice and fascinating and I appreciate the craft.

The best time I had was talking down a street vendor in NYC to $10 for an "Omega"  knock-off & walking away.

Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch   Auctionata Experts on Record-Setting Patek Philippe Watch

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Fri Jun 14 11:35:16 2013

Al LOL! I can't get my husband to wear a watch either. Bought him 2-3 decent ones and when he didn't wear the third I got the msg. LOL.

I know ppl like their cell phones for time but me, I like that quick glance at my wrist. Proudly sporting an Anne Klein white ceramic watch I bought for $5 at a yard sale (it was new - woot!) but someday I have aspirations for..well, maybe I better not tell lest you judge me..lol.



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