Christie’s Rare Watches auction fetches CHF22.8 million

patek phillippe ref 1518 1948

The exceptional sales included a Patek Philippe fetching the highest price for a wristwatch this spring

After a postponement due to a cyberattack on Monday, Christie’s Rare Watches auction concluded on 14 May. A keenly anticipated event that saw the sale of timepieces belonging to retired German race car driver Michael Schumacher, the Rare Watches auction offered a total of 164 watches, with total sales that reached CHF22,821,050.

The Property of Michael Schumacher included eight timepieces consigned from the seven-time Formula One world champion’s private collection, fetching just under CHF 4 million at the auction held at the Four Seasons in Geneva. The top piece of this sale–with the hammer coming down at CHF1.49 million–was the F.P. Journe Vagabondage that was gifted by his mentor in Ferrari, Jean Todt, back in 2006.

Todt had also commissioned an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak chronograph as a celebratory gift for Schumacher’s sixth world championship, with a bespoke dial featuring the emblem of the prancing horse–this piece achieved CHF 415,000. Schumacher’s full F.P. Journe ruthenium collection set of five, which came in its original personalised presentation box, was snapped up by the same buyer for above CHF 1.7 million.

Christie's Rare Watches auction
“These results demonstrate the passion of international collectors for exceptional timepieces,” commented Remi Guillemin, Head of Watches EMEA and Americas. Photo by Christie’s

The top coveted vintage pieces the auction were both from Patek Phillppe–the Reference 1518 perpetual calendar from 1948, and the Reference 2526 Calatrava. The Reference 1518, which comes in a pink gold and was one of only 12 pieces with a pink dial, set the record for the highest-priced wristwatch sold this spring in Geneva for CHF2,465,000. The Reference 2526, which comes in pink gold with black enamel dial—one of only eight pieces that has made a public appearance so far—was sold for CHF680,400.