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Phillips watch sale breaks Rolex auction record twice in Geneva

A Phillips sale of vintage watches in Geneva has broken the auction record for a Rolex twice within a matter of minutes.
The two-session sale achieved a total of more than $33 million, and included the ‘START-STOP-RESET’ auction, featuring 88 steel chronographs, which achieved ‘white glove’ status with 100% of all lots sold.

"Never would I have dared imagine that our ‘Quality before Quantity’ approach would have been so enthusiastically welcomed by the watch community as shown by tonight’s results," said auctioneer and internationally-renowned watch expert Aurel Bacs. "It was a humbling experience to once again work with Pucci Papaleo and some of the world’s leading scholars."

Leading the sale was the Rolex stainless steel reference 4113 split-seconds chronograph, one of only 12 examples ever produced by the Swiss manufacturer in 1942. The watches were never offered for public sale, and were only presented to a select group of racing teams and their drivers.

The watch was described as "a trophy that the most demanding collectors of vintage wristwatches should not miss", and that message was certainly heeded. After several minutes of furious bidding, it sold to an anonymous collector in the room for $2,453,100, setting a new auction record for any Rolex wristwatch.

What was even more remarkable was that the previous record had only stood for a matter of minutes.

Moments earlier, the sale had offered an iconic Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’ Oyster Sotto wristwatch, made circa 1969. Regarded as "one of, if not, the world’s most important Rolex Paul Newman Daytona ever offered for auction", the watch fetched a record-breaking price of $2,024,700.

The watches were amongst six timepieces which achieved prices of more than $1 million during the two-day auction.

Other notable results included a Patek Philippe ref. 2499 in 18k yellow gold, circa 1956, which sold for a record-breaking $1,718,700; a stainless steel Patek Philippe Ref. 530 with black dial and applied Breguet numerals, circa 1941, which set a new record for any stainless steel time-only wristwatch at $1,473,900; and a Patek Philippe Ref. 3974 in 18k yellow gold, circa 1990, which sold for $1,204,620.

"The market showed great appetite for the finest and most original watches as shown by the impressive results achieved by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo this weekend," said Sam Hines, International Head of Watches.

"Collectors expect today not only the rarest and most attractive watches, but also an unparalleled degree of scholarship, presentation and impeccable provenance. It was incredibly rewarding to see that Phillips’ approach has received overwhelming support from the market."

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