April 15, 2002
Patek Philippe Auction Sets Record
A 1939 Patek Philippe "World Time" watch giving the time in 42 cities around the world sold at a Geneva auction for more than 6.6 million Swiss francs (about U.S. $4 million). This more than doubled the world-record sale price for a wristwatch, according to Antiquorum, the auction company that conducted the sale.
The platinum men's watch was purchased by an unidentified buyer from Asia, according to Antiquorum. The previous record for a wristwatch was 3.2 million francs (about $2 million), also for a Patek Philippe wristwatch, in Nov. 2001.
The sale highlighted a two-day auction of 600 lots that sold a total of $23.3 million in wristwatches, pocket watches, clocks, music boxes, watchmaker's benches and manuscripts.
Among other records set at the auction was the highest sum ever paid for a Rolex ($197,000). The watch was a 1952 stainless steel "Oyster Chronograph" known by collectors as the "Killy Watch," named for French skier Jean-Claude Killy.
A draft plan by famed watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet for a book on horology sold for $150,000, breaking the world record for a letter or document about watchmaking. The pre-sale estimate had been $4,200-$5,400.
by Michael Thompson