The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 (the only stainless steel version of the Swiss manufacturer’s Grandmaster Chime) has become the most expensive watch ever sold at an auction when it pulled CHF 31,000,000 (approx. $31 million) at the Only Watch 2019 Charity Auction in Geneva on Saturday. It surpassed the value of the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication pocketwatch, which sold for CHF23,237,000 (approx. $24 million) in November 2011.
The watch represented about 80 percent of the total CHF38,593,000 ($38.6 million) that was raised for charity on the night. The bi-annual auction, conducted by Christie’s Watches, raises money to fund research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The premise of the charity auction is simple — leading brands donate a one-off timepiece to the auction. The Only Watch 2017 charity raised $10.2 million (CHF10,822,580) with Patek Philippe pulling in more than half of the total sale with its Ref. 5208T selling for $6.2 million. Since 2005, more than $40 million has been raised to finance fundamental and applied research in this field. So in that context, this is the most successful Only Watch auction yet.
Back to the Patek Ref. 6300A-010: This was easily the most talked about timepiece in the lead-up to the auction. The watch, equipped with a reversible case, two dials and 20 complications had a pre-sale estimate of $250,000-300,000. Launched in 2014 on the occasion of Patek’s 175th anniversary, the Grandmaster Chime became part of the manufacture’s regular collection in a white-gold version in 2016.
This is most complex Patek Philippe wristwatch: It features 20 complications, including five acoustic functions, two of which are patented global firsts: an alarm that strikes the pre-programmed alarm time and a date repeater that sounds the date on demand. The double-face case with the guilloched hobnail pattern has a patented reversing mechanism. The fringe benefits to the buyer includes a visit to the manufacture, museum, and lunch with the brand president Thierry Stern.
The F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue, with a staggering 18 complications, sold for CHF1.8 million (approx. $1.8 million). Built ground-up for this charity auction, this is the most complicated watch from the indie watchmaker. It had a pre-sale estimate of $300,000-600,000. Another indie brand which pulled in the cash was Akrivia’s Chronomètre Contemporain, based on their GPHG-winning model from last year. The classically-styled timepiece, one of the hottest in the world of indie watchmaking right now, had a pre-sale estimate of $40,000-60,000 but was sold for CHF360,000 (approx. $360,000).
However, one watch brand that continues to punch above its weight at these auctions is Tudor. The Black Bay Bronze One from 2017 sold for $350,000, nearly 90 times its pre-sale estimate of $4,500. This year, the Black Bay Ceramic One had a pre-sale estimate of $4,500-$5,500 but sold for more than 60 times its pre-auction estimate at CHF350,000 (approx. $350,000).