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A rare Patek Philippe watch has fetched record $5.8 million at auction

The ‘Sky Moon Tourbillon’ has a blue hand-made enamel dial and white gold hand-carved case

Patek Philippe ‘Sky Moon Tourbillon,’ (Courtesy Christie's)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 25.03.2023  |  11:00 AM IST

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Auction house Christie’s has sold a rare Patek Philippe watch for HK$45.45 million (around $5.8 million) in Hong Kong, setting a record for the highest price ever paid for a timepiece in an online auction.

The Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon has a blue hand-made enamel dial and white gold hand-carved case.

“The price shows collectors are still willing to shell out for rare watches despite troubling issues in the banking sector," states a a Bloomberg report. “Expensive watches are a favorite luxury splurge for bankers using cash from annual bonuses but they are now facing troubled times after the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse Group AG by country rival UBS Group AG and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank."

Also read: Why conscious luxury is here to stay

The Patek Philippe watch, reference number 6002G-001, was originally sold in Geneva in 2015 and is considered among the most complex timepieces in the world, adds the Bloomberg report. “It features 12 so-called ‘complications,’ or special functions within its mechanical movement, including a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date display and a chiming minute repeater."

According to the Bloomberg report, secondary market and auction prices for some of the most popular luxury watches made by Swiss brands from Rolex to Patek to Audemars Piguet soared to unprecedented levels during the pandemic and into the first quarter of 2022. However, they fell sharply as interest rates started rising and cryptocurrencies started collapsing.

“There continues to be an extremely vibrant market for watches across the world, evidenced through the avid global bidding this sale witnessed," Alexandre Bigler, the vice-president and head of watches at Christie’s Asia Pacific, said in a statement.  

Meanwhile, according to data by Chrono24, a trading platform, owners of luxury watches based in Switzerland and Japan are enjoying more financial returns compared to collectors in other parts of the world.

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According to a Bloomberg report, published earlier this week, “Watch collections of Chrono24 users in both countries have appreciated an average of 40% since the date of purchase. In contrast, returns for collectors based in the Netherlands were 24% while the value of watches owned by German collectors gained 25%."

The report states that since Switzerland and Japan are both major watch producing countries, it perhaps gives residents better insight into luxury watch values as well as access to greater supply. 

Also read: Why do Swiss, Japanese watch collectors enjoy more returns?