What goes tick-tock and costs more than $5 million? The Patek Philippe 1943 watch, which sold at a Christie’s auction in early 2010.
If you or your clients find that price a bit steep, there’s the 1969 stainless-steel Paul Newman-model Rolex Daytona chronograph. One of these timepieces sold for $1.1 million—a record for a Daytona—at a Christie’s International auction in Geneva in early November of this year.
We’re in the fall season of wristwatch and pocket watch sales at the major auction houses.
If you or your clients enjoy collecting watches or are looking for a new alternative asset, now’s the time to peruse online catalogs and get a sense of trends in the market.
Heritage Auctions in Dallas is the third-largest auction house in the world. Its watch specialty division is relatively new, according to Jim Wolf, the firm’s director of watches and timepieces.
Prior to 2008, watch sales were part of the jewelry department’s auctions.
Watch sales at the auction house have grown substantially since the split, however, and Wolf estimates the division will sell $7 million to $8 million of timepieces this year.
On Thursday, Heritage Auctions will host its Signature Auction in New York. The auction’s theme is “Time Pieces from a Distinguished Gentleman.”
“There’s an excess of 500 lots that will be auctioned, and [the event] features a gentleman’s collection that is pretty astounding in terms of the variety and the sheer quantity that he collected,” said Wolf, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “There are over 200 Rolex watches in the sale, numerous high-end Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Blancpain and Panerai–just a terrific variety of very fine names.”
Headlines focus on the market’s high end, in which watches sell for $500,000 and up.
Realistically, of course, most collectors can’t afford such prices. But an appealing feature of the watch market is that it’s possible to build a valuable collection without spending a fortune.
The Heritage’s Nov. 21 auction lists numerous watches under $10,000, for example.