Sotheby’s Watches department offers the finest timepieces from the 16th to the 21st centuries, including pocket watches, wristwatches, tourbillons and perpetual calendars.
Sotheby's Watches auctions showcase the thriving international nature of this category. Our international team has cultivated strong relationships with the world’s most active collectors and connoisseurs. This is reflected in the wide-ranging and intense global presence at our sales; 1,960 bidders from 72 countries enthusiastically participated in 2016, with Watches NY receiving bidders from 50 countries in December 2016, the highest number in any given sale at Sotheby’s.
Our specialists’ combined knowledge and experience is unparalleled in this category and the department has consistently achieved benchmark prices. Sotheby’s continues to hold the auction record for any watch – $24 million for Patek Philippe’s no. 198.385 the Henry Graves Supercomplication, breaking its own record from 1999 when it sold for $11 million. Other significant records were achieved in 2012 – a watch owned by Henry Graves Jr. in the Graves Fullerton Collection sale, an 18k Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch by Patek Philippe achieved nearly $3 million. Sotheby's has also offered for sale some of the most significant collections of horology, including the most important collection ever to appear at auction: Masterpieces from the Time Museum, which realized $58.6 million.
In 2016, Sotheby’s London achieved the highest sale record for any Charles Frodsham & Co. timepiece sold at auction. An 18k Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Split Seconds Chronograph Watch presented to William Gould Harding by JP Morgan realized over $350,000.
Sotheby’s New York continues to outpace our market competitors achieving a sell through rate of 90%, with 95% selling above our low estimate in our last Important Watches sale in December 2016.
Sotheby’s Geneva generated significant interest from across the world in 2013, when the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” sold for CHF 173,000 ($189,600) with the entire proceeds from the sale benefitting the Antoine de Saint Exupery Foundation to contribute to the construction of a school in Cambodia.
Auctions are held in London, New York, Geneva and Hong Kong.