(left) Watchmaker George Daniels. (center) Collector Henry Graves, Jr. (right) Collector R.H. Fullerton, Jr.
NEW YORK - Undoubtedly the two most talked about watch auctions this year were the single owner sales Watches from the Collection of R. H. Fullerton, Jr., and his grandfather Henry Graves Jr. and the George Daniels Horological Collection. Each celebrated the collecting spirit of the most iconic collectors of the 20th century and offered property completely fresh to market.
R.H. Fullerton Jr., the grandson of the famed owner of the world-record Patek Philippe, known as the Henry Graves Supercomplication, carried on in the tradition of his grandfather, and added to a collection that included seventeen unknown Patek Philippe watches that had been made especially for Henry Graves, Jr. All sixty-one lots from the collection sold, proving how rare and exceptional a collection it was.
The Henry Graves Jr. 18k yellow gold tonneau minute repeating wristwatch engraved with the graves family coat-of-arms 1895, which sold for $3 million.
In November the excitement continued when Sotheby’s London held the much-anticipated sale of the collection and horological Masterpieces of Dr. George Daniels, the most celebrated horologist of the 20th Century. The standing room only London saleroom pulsated with exhilaration when two of Dr. Daniels most Iconic masterpieces fell under the hammer: The Space Traveller, which sold for $2.1 million, and the Grand Complication, which sold for $1.5 million
An 18k yellow gold chronograph with Daniels independent double-wheel escapement, mean-solar and sidereal time, age & phase of the moon and equation of time indications circa 1982 space travellers' watch, which sold for $2.1 million.
Sotheby’s unprecedented season of watches and clocks was capped off by the record-breaking sale in New York of the Duc d’Orleans’ Breguet Sympathique. The Breguet was hotly contested and the bidding went on for several minutes, ultimately breaking its own old world record set for a Breguet and any clock at auction, when it sold for $5.8 million in 1999. When the hammer finally came down the Breguet reached a staggering $6.8 million.
The Duc d’Orléans Breguet Sympathique Breguet, nos.128 and 5009, dated 1835 sold for $6.8 million.
Record results were also delivered In Hong Kong with its best results ever, where top prices were paid for models by independent watchmakers such as Daniel Dufour ($620,720) and blue chip Patek Philippe complicated pieces such as the Sky Moon Tourbillon, which sold well beyond its pre-sale estimate for $1.4 million. The Geneva sale saw strong prices for vintage Patek Philippe, especially for examples of a rare Ref. 2524-1, which commanded a healthy $571,328 USD.
(left) Patek Philippe, retailed by Tiffany & Co: an exceptional and most probably unique and specially ordered 18k yellow gold minute-repeater wristwatch ref 2524/1 mvt 861495. (right) Patek Philippe, a magnificent and extremely rare platinum double dialled wristwatch with twelve complications including tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, sky chart, moon-phases, orbit display, sidereal time and minute repeating on cathedral gongs 2010 ref 5002p sky moon tourbillon.