Patek Philippe smashed two new world records at Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Auctions held on 27 November.
Setting a new world record, the sale of a Patek Philippe triple complication automatic wristwatch, a Ref. 5208P from circa 2014. First revealed in 2011 at Baselworld and discontinued just seven years later in 2018, Ref. 5208P is still highly regarded as one of the five most complicated wristwatches ever made by the luxury watchmaker. In the 11 years since its launch, no more than 100 pieces were ever made (though the pink gold version, Ref. 5208R, remains in production today). Only four have ever returned to the market. At Christie’s auction this past November, this exceptional display of Patek Philippe craftsmanship fetched HK$10.05 million, close to its high estimate of HK$11 million.
Previous auction records reveal that in 2017, a Ref. 5208P ordered as a gift intended for Russian president Vladimir Putin, fetched €1,061,998 (HK$8,665,700; US$1,112,110) at the Monaco Legend Auctions, while more recently, in 2019, another Ref. 5208P from circa 2015 was sold during the Geneva Watch Auction: Nine for CHF812,000 (HK$6,713,990; US$861,620) at Phillips.
In unworn condition, the watch presented at the Christie’s auction features quite a few horological complications in one place, including a minute repeater, a single button chronograph, an instantaneous perpetual calendar displayed in apertures along an arc, as well as a moon phase with day and night indication.
Ref. 5208P is also one of a very small number of ultra-complicated watches designed with a self-winding mechanism. Made up of 719 parts, this watch’s highly sophisticated marriage of functions was hand-finished following the Genevan tradition. At 42mm diameter, the timepiece’s case is also Patek Philippe’s largest modern wristwatch case. Housed within a silvery grey platinum case is an anthracite dial with oversized calendar apertures and applied baton indexes.
Christie’s other record-breaking sale was a limited-edition 18K pink gold and diamond-set automatic world time wristwatch with a cloisonné enamel dial depicting Lake Geneva. Sold for HK$2,772,000 (US$355,940), this women’s watch is one of only 40 pieces made to commemorate the Swiss-French watchmaker’s 175th anniversary.
Offered with a full set of accessories, including the Patek Philippe anniversary medal, Ref. 7131/175R is the second example ever to appear at auction. Around 10.5 cm of 24K gold ribbon and 23 opaque, transparent, and opalescent enamel colours were used by master artisans for the timepiece’s cloisonné decoration. 89 diamonds of 1.92 carats adorn the bezel of its rose gold case.
Aside from the two record-breaking timepieces, the top lot of the two-sale event was a Patek Philippe Ref. 5073P, fetching a hammer price of HK$13.65 million (US$1,752,250). An extremely rare, diamond-set platinum wristwatch, Ref. 5073P is one of the most technically complex and resplendent of the watchmaker’s “Haute Joaillerie” grand complications. Its functions include a perpetual calendar with indications of moon phases, 24 hours, and leap year, as well as automatic “Cathedral” minute repeating.
Completing the timepiece is a case fitted with 103 baguette diamonds on the bezel and lugs, a jewel-set black dial, and a matching folding clasp set with another 42 baguette diamonds. It is one of the most bejewelled perpetual calendar minute repeaters ever made by Patek Philippe.
With the full set of accessories, this present timepiece has remained “single-sealed” in its factory sleeve, entirely untouched and unworn since production. Adding to its rarity is that fewer than five examples have returned to the market since the model was first released in 2011 and discontinued in 2016. According to Christie’s, this was only the third example to have appeared at auction.
All images courtesy of Christie’s