NEW YORK, NY.-
With its final auction of the fall season on December 14 in New York, Christies
International wrapped up a record-breaking year for fine and rare watches that realized US$91.2 million* in total sales the highest annual total ever achieved for watches at the global auction house. During what has emerged as a remarkable year for investment in fine timepieces, every watch sale hosted at Christies salerooms in Dubai, Hong Kong, Geneva, and in New York achieved sell-through rates above 90% by value. The top watch of the year was a unique Patek Philippe Reference 1527 manufactured in 1943 that sold for a record US $5.7 million (SFr.6, 259,000 /4,393,192) at Christies Geneva. No other auction house in the world achieved as many record prices for important timepieces during 2010.
Aurel Bacs, International Head of Watches at Christie's, notes: Our sale in New York this week marked the culmination of a truly stellar year for watches at auction, and re-affirmed Christies dominance of the global market for fine and rare timepieces. We have welcomed in a wealth of new collectors to this field in the past year, and witnessed an exponential growth in buyer participation from Asian countries, led primarily by mainland China and Hong Kong. At the same time, established collectors from the private, trade, and institutional sectors in Europe and the U.S. continue to add great depth and strength to this category, giving us a solid foundation for the year ahead. Our broad global reach and market-leading success has already yielded a number of exciting new consignments, and we look forward to our first round of sales in April 2011.
Throughout 2010, Christies proved to be the auction partner of choice for the worlds most prominent watch collectors, representing virtually all of the top-value collections that came to market. Amongst the leading collections of the year were The Millennium Collection in Hong Kong, A Connoisseurs Vision, Parts II and III in Geneva, and most recently, the collection of award-winning actor Anthony LaPaglia in New York, all of which exceeded their pre-sale estimate. Together with Part I, offered in the fall of 2009, A Connoisseurs Vision achieved of grand total of some $19 million and became the most valuable private collection of wristwatches ever offered at auction.
For buyers, the convenience of online bidding via Christie's LIVE, the company's global online bidding platform, drew in more participants with each season. At the December 15 sale of Important Watches in New York, 321 clients from 19 countries registered to bid online the highest ever for this category at Christies. 39% of the sales items were sold to or directly underbid by a Christie's LIVE client.