Serious watch collectors from around the world have spoken, giving us an idea which watches are the most sought after currently in the world. The gauge: how the famous timepiece brands performed at auctions held last November by notable auction houses Antiquorum, Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s.
Watch Manila’s connoisseur Sieg Suarez has been closely watching the trends and movements in the industry this year and observes that timepiece sales is one of those that didn’t take a dive. “The watch market continues to display strength despite the pandemic,” he says.
In Watch Manila’s list of record-breaking pieces and brands this year, it appears Rolex remains the one to beat. Meanwhile, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are still forces to reckon with, and Cartier, Omega, and Vacheron Constantin are some of the best performing brands at the auctions. Here’s five of the most sought-after watches according to November’s auction results.
This funky looking 18K yellow gold manual winding wristwatch was sold at CHF806,500 or P44.1M in the Sotheby’s November auction. Rumor has it Jean-Jacques Cartier’s inspiration for the watch’s legendary distorted design was a Baignoire wristwatch damaged in a car accident. The designer believes the shape symbolizes creative freedom.
There are also speculations that there are less than a dozen of this particular watch produced in the initial series in the 1960s, which explains why it’s a rare piece. The brand shot to popularity in recent years having been seen on the wrists of fashion and music icons Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Vacheron Constantin Ref. 222
British auction house Christie’s sold this collector’s piece at CHF93,750 or P5.12M. It was launched in time for the 222nd anniversary of the Vacheron Constantin in 1977. The demand for this rare stainless steel automatic wristwatch was actually an offshoot of a huge demand for Patek Philippe (Nautilus) and Audemars Piguet (Royal Oak) back in the 2010s. When it became difficult to acquire the said brands, collectors started to recognize the beauty of Vacheron Constantin.
Vacheron Constantin Ref. 4261 Minute Repeater
Switzerland based auctioneer Antiquorum sold this fine watch at CHF287,500 (P15.7M). Watch Manila notes that in the 2010s, there had been a shift towards simple watches in stainless steel— which resulted in a decreased demand for fine timepieces with complications. But Suarez foresees this hype to die down after a while. And the recent performance of this Vacheron Constantin 18k yellow gold minute-repeating wristwatch in the auction is a good sign for this watch class.
Rolex Daytona “John Player Special Paul Newman” Ref. 6264
Daytonas were typically fashioned from stainless steel, and so this gold 6264 can be considered one of the rarest of all manual Daytonas. It’s also one of the fewer to be fitted with a John Player Special ‘JPS’ dial. The “John Player Special” nickname was coined from the 1970s when the tobacco and cigarette manufacturer John Player & Sons sponsored the Lotus F1 team. So it was no surprise British-founded American firm Sotheby’s sold this limited edition 6264 at CHF891,200 (P48.7M).
Rolex Daytona “John Player Special Paul Newman” Ref. 6241
British auction house Phillips described the Ref. 6241 as an “exceedingly rare variant of the Paul Newman model.” Which is why this 18K yellow gold chronograph wristwatch is the third most expensive Rolex Daytona sold at auction at HKD13,560,000 (P87.8M). It features a black acrylic bezel and round pump pushers. Adding to the collectability of the reference is the “Paul Newman” dial.
To see the full list of the most sought after watches at auction, visit the Watch Manila website.