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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sotheby’s New York Watch Auction Fetches $7.2 million

A Patek Philippe Reference 658 black dial pocket watch (pictured above) was the top lot at Sotheby’s New York Important Watches auction, selling for $527,000, well above its high estimate. Made in 1937, it features a yellow gold open-faced perpetual calendar split-seconds chronograph minute repeater with moon phases and a black dial. The auction house says it is the first known reference 658 to have been produced and one of 15 made with a black dial.

The December 11 sale was Sotheby’s final watch auction of 2014. It achieved $7.2 million, with 68.5 percent sold by lot and 74.6 percent sold by value, raising the company’s 2014 sales in this category to a Sotheby’s record of $100.1 million for the year.

Familiar names in the watch world such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Paul Newman Daytona Rolex watches shared the center of attention with rare complicated mechanical clocks.

Other top lots include:

* A Courvoisier & Compe. no. 11359 ormolu and mahogany two tune musical automaton birdcage clock with double singing and flying birds sold for $389,000, well above its estimate. The circa 1820 clock was the top lot from the collection of Frank and Lore Metzger that totaled $753,000.

* A Patek Philippe Ref. 5959 platinum split seconds chronograph wristwatch with register sold for $257,000. Sotheby’s said the circa 2008 timepiece with its “Officer” style case, white dial and special italicized Arabic numerals, “bears many striking similarities” to the earliest-known split second chronograph wristwatch: the no. 124824, started in 1903 and completed in 1923, which the auction house sold in June for $2.9 million.

* A Black Starr & Frost and Pierre Gravoin rock crystal, mother-of-pearl, hardstone and gem-set desk timepiece, circa 1930, sold for $377,000, more than three times its high estimate.

* Five of Rolex’s “Paul Newman Daytonas” sold for a combined total of $591,000. The group was led by a stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet (Ref 6263 No 2874356) Paul Newman Daytona Panda, circa 1970, that sold for $185,000.

* A Vacheron Constantin yellow gold, enamel, and pearl-set open-faced watch sold for $233,000. Made in 1930 with an enamel scene of Le Temps et les Parques painted by Jeanne Vauthey, it is among a celebrated few Vacheron Constantin timepieces from the early 20th century with a painted enamel scene, Sotheby’s said. The image depicts the Three Fates, “who spin, measure and cut a length of yarn in an allegory for destiny.”

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