Usually, our auction stories are about massive diamonds or one-of-a-kind Birkins, but this time it’s a watch that’s on the auctioneer’s block. But not just any watch, it’s a Patek Philippe and it sold for the record-setting sum of 11,002,000 Swiss francs, which is about US$11,136,642. At that price, you may be imagining a few carats of diamonds or at least a gold exterior, but this watch will surprise you with its relatively plain-Jane appearance. The model is a stainless steel watch that’s made valuable thanks to the presence of a rare perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phases.
A high price was always on the cards considering that bidding opened at 3 million Swiss francs (just over US$3 million), within just 10 minutes the watch was sold for around 9.6 million Swiss francs, a number that inflated to 11,002,000 with the addition of the buyer’s premium.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 is something of a historical model. Paul Boutros, head of watches for the Americas for Phillips Bacs & Russo called the auctioning of the watch “a once in a lifetime event” for collectors. He said, “I have waited a lifetime to see 1518 in stainless steel. It is number one of only four known to exist.” Created in 1941, 1518 is the world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever to be produced in a series by any manufacturer. It is one in a series of only four which explains the frenzied bidding. Seven bidders were engaged in a bidding war over the watch which was sold to a private collector.