Brimming with history and heritage, a Patek Philippe watch came under the hammer at Christie’s auction house in Dubai on Friday night. The time-piece made headlines not only for its final bid of $193,750 but primarily because it was crafted at the behest of former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 1979.
Embedded with 18-carat gold, the cushion-shaped wristwatch is a white whale for watch collectors. Possibly only a third of its kind, the watch entails an inscription in Arabic on its pale green dial that reads: “Only in times of need will you find freedom,” accompanied by Gaddafi’s signature. Originally commissioned by Gaddafi to commemorate Libyan Labour Day, the watches were later gifted to his associates.
We hear Christie’s had estimated $25,000 for the watch, which ultimately sold at a premium of 675% on the asking price. Christie’s said that Friday night’s auction as a whole achieved just 69 percent of its estimated value, whilst 29 percent of the evening’s lots went unsold.
The auction grossed $8.25 million for Christie’s, below its estimated range of $9 million to $15 million.