Patek Philippe leads the 2024 spring auctions at a frothy US$125 Million

two Patek Philippe watches at the 2024 spring auctions

Patek Philippe was at the top of all the 2024 spring auctions.

The watch-collecting community was out in force this week as Only Watch, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips, and Antiquorum made up the collective of Geneva’s Spring Watch Auctions. Highlights included 47 one-of-a-kind pieces at Only Watch, rare watches from Michael Schumacher’s personal collection at Christie’s, and some extraordinary timepieces from Italian collector Guido Mondani at Phillips, to name a few.

three watches at 2024 spring auctions
Watches from the collection of Guido Mondani sold at Phillips. Photo by Phillips

Events kicked off on Friday with the 10th edition of Only Watch, where the star of the show was the sale of a unique Patek Philippe featuring a Petite and Grande Sonnerie and a Minute Repeater that raised US$17.3 million for the charity auction.

Patek Philippe Only Watch at 2024 spring auctions
This Patek Philippe for Only Watch 2024 sold for $17.3 million. Photo by Phillips

Patek Philippe timepieces also stole the show at Antiquorum—one of the 2024 spring auctions—with the sale of a 1943 Ref. 605 HU DE, a worldtimer cloissoné enamelled pocket watch in pink gold, which sold for US$3.36 million. A second Patek Philippe worldtimer, this one a Ref. 2523 from 1956 with a gold guilloché dial, also reached the high figures at over US$2.3 million.

Antiquorum’s CEO Romain Réa was delighted with the results, explaining; “Our approach was highly selective when choosing the lots; we meticulously selected them based on their historical significance and condition. It’s not just about their value; rather, it’s about their role in the narrative of horological history.”

Patek Philippe 943 Ref. 605 HU DE at 2024 spring auctions
Patek Philippe 943 Ref. 605 HU DE at 2024 spring auctions. Photo by Antiquorum

Réa also remarked on how vintage products are experiencing a resurgence in popularity, noting, “There is a discernible trend wherein customers are becoming increasingly particular about the provenance and quality of items. However, it is crucial to emphasise that these vintage items must be in impeccable condition and reflect a significant aspect of horological history. Similarly, for modern pieces, they are expected to be flawless in their condition.”

At Christie’s, all the attention was on the eight iconic timepieces from the collection of Michael Schumacher on the anniversary of the racing legend’s first Formula 1 Drivers Championship win in 1994. A cyberattack on the Christie’s website unfortunately delayed the auction, but it didn’t seem to deter those eager to bid with a F. P. Journe Unique Piece Vagabondage, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph, a Rolex Paul Newman Daytona, and a full F.P. Journe Ruthenium Collection Set of five pieces totaling US$4.4 million for the eight pieces.

two Schumacher watches
Schumacher’s watches were among those auctioned at Christie’s in Geneva. Photo by Christie’s

Remi Guillemin, Christie’s Head of Watches EMEA and Americas, commented: “These results demonstrate the passion of international collectors for exceptional timepieces. Our sincere thanks go to our consigners as well as the Schumacher family who entrusted us with the exceptional property of Michael Schumacher. We saw strong global participation, with an emphasis on America.”

These weren’t the only timepieces at Christie’s Rare Watches sale, however, with a host of other highly sought-after timekeepers, including a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 from 1948 in pink gold with a pink (or salmon) dial that sold for US$2.7 million, setting the highest price for a wristwatch sold at Christie’s this spring season in Geneva.

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 with salmon dial at 2024 spring auctions
A Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 with salmon dial sold at 2024 spring auctions. This example sold at Sotheby’s for $2.2 million. .

Over at Phillips, the star lot was again a Patek Philippe world timer Ref. 2523/1, a two-crowned timepiece in yellow gold that sold for US$1.87 million. The Guido Mondani Collection amassed a total of US$3.97 million, and the total sales for Phillips reached CHF 39.5 million (around US$43.7 million), putting the Maison at the top of the leaderboard in terms of sales.

After the last hammer went down, Alexandre Ghotbi, Phillips’s Deputy Chairman & Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East shared: “An auction is a potent combination of one the most important ingredients: quality and rare timepieces, but also a combination of what the auction house can bring to it, which is marketing, great photography, great exhibitions and most of all a loving dedicated team. All this put together leads to great results.”

Patek Philippe world timer Ref. 2523/1 at 2024 spring auctions
A Patek Philippe world timer Ref. 2523/1 sold at Phillips for $1.87 million.

Last, but by no means least, Sotheby’s was the last sale of the week with its Important Watches: Parts 1 and 2. Top lots included a Richard Mille “Prototype 3” Ref. RM27-01 Rafael Nadal that closed at CHF 1.27 million and a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499J “3rd Series” (retailed by Tiffany & Co.) that sold for US$1.2 million.

The success of this Geneva Spring Sales edition – in terms of value and lots sold – provides a ray of sunshine for the watch industry as a whole as buyers were out in force. “Undoubtedly, the Geneva auctions consistently serve as a barometer for the global watch market, both in May and November,” noted Antiquorum’s Réa. “They not only validate the current status of the market but also set the tone for emerging trends and public interest. What adds an intriguing dimension is the timing, in May, occurring just after Watches and Wonders. This juxtaposition underscores that these auctions are not solely about the dynamics of the primary and secondary markets; rather, they reflect the pulse of the entire watchmaking industry and the broader horological market landscape.”

This story was first published on Robb Report USA