Christie’s blockbuster Legends of Time and Exceptional Season of Watches sales held in two seesion in Hong Kong on May 22 totaled $34,850,855, the auction house’s highest total for a watch sale in Asia. The auction attracted world record prices for 10 lots, eight of them Patek Philippes, along with a Rolex and an F.P. Journe.
The top lot was a moonless perpetual calendar customized for former Patek Philippe executive Alan Banbery. The Ref. 3448J ‘Senza Luna’ (‘moonless’ in Italian) is so – called because the moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock, a traditional feature of the 3448 perpetual calendar, was replaced with a subdial showing the date and leap year. The watch was manufactured in 1970 but modified by Henri and Philippe Stern in 1975 at the request of Banbery, to whome the watch was gifted. He worked for Patek Philippe for almost 50 years, joining the company in 1965 as director of sales for English – speaking territories. Although other Senza Luna models exist, this is the only one that cen be authenticated by Patek Philippe – the others, which can be counted on one hand, are thought to have been modified outside the factory. The watch sold for $3,759,755 a world record for the referrence.
Patek World Time watches are hot right now, and there were three in this sale, one of which achieved a world record: a pink gold version of the Ref. 1415 World Time, one of only two 1415s known to exist in pink gold with a polychrome cloisonne enamel dial sold for $2,284.326. Another Patek Philippe World Time, an 18k yellow gold version of the Ref.2523/1 with a gold mesh bracelet (one of only 15 pieces produced in yellow gold), sold for $2,051,364. The only platinum version of the Ref. 1415 was also in the auction, selling for $1.9 – million.
Other world record prices for Patek Philippe models include: ‘The Lighthouse’, a Ref.2481 with cloisonne enamel dial sold for $258,847; a 1955 ‘spider lugs’ chronograph Ref. 1579 retailed by Gobbi Milano sold for $711,830; a 1985 automatic perpetual calendar Ref 3450 retailed by Gubelin sold for $556,228; a 1957 Ref 2526, one of only 8 made in pink gold with a black enamel dial, sold for $284,732; and a 1958 white gold Ref.2584 automatic with small seconds sold for $113,246.
The independent watchmaker’s category has become dominated by F.P. Journe in recent years. In this sale, a platinum Chronometre Souverain set a world record for the reference. The watch was originally gifted by Journe to his mentor, watchmaker George Daniel, with an inscription on the caseback. It sold for $420,627. A world record was also set for a Rolex Rec.6036 ‘Jean Claude Killy’ chronograph triple calendar, which sold for $679,474, more than double its estimate. There were several Rolex Daytonas in the sale, including a Rainbow Daytona that sold for $452,989.
The sale also included a one – on – one – a – kind Patek Philippe, the Gradowski Grande Complication, which sold for $517,694. The pocket watch was made in 1890 for notable collector Jean de Gradowski. At the time, it was the most complicated watch Patek Philippe had ever produced. It has a unique minute repeater with a two – train grande – et – petite sonnerie with a keyless lever and an instantaneous perpetual calendar with indications for both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, as well as a moon phase and a chronograph with central 60 – minute recorder.