The Most Expensive Watches Sold at Auction
An overview of the most expensive watches in auction history is hard to come by. Nevertheless, auction houses such as Phillips, Christie's or Sotheby's have done and are doing an excellent job of publishing their research, their price (below in Swiss francs (CHF), most of the sales are from Switzerland) as well as the documentation of their sales. Nicholas Biebuyck of Black Bird Watch Manual wrote an article that you can be found here. It summarizes in a table the most expensive watches sold at auction.
The 72 most expensive watches sold at auction
According to this table and after extracting the data that can be produced by various market players, 72 watches were sold for more than 2 million CHF (total amount of 311M CHF). Patek Philippe leads sales with 82%, followed by Rolex. Although the steel material is making a comeback and becoming more and more popular in sales, out of the 72 watches on the list, yellow gold leads with 44%. Followed by rose gold, steel and platinum. The Patek Philippe 2499 is the best-selling reference, followed by the WorldTimer 2523, again from the same brand. The wristwatches accounted for 78% of sales, pocket watches 22%. The most important houses in watch sales are Christie's (29% of total sales), followed by Phillips with 26% (the new player with its very charismatic Aurel Bacs sound). Phillips, in particular, has partly increased the importance of vintage watches thanks to its growing presence on social networks with Instagram Stories and through its numerous messages. Social networks are being followed by an increasingly younger audience, which is a major advantage for the company making this market more popular than ever before. For example, we see brands (both new and more established) to propose models inspired by the past, and educate consumers to have a certain eye for the aesthetics of vintage watches.