February 26, 2024

Auction Watch: Antiquorum's ONLY WATCH 2011 Results Sales & Auctions

As expected the ONLY Watch 2011 went without a hitch last week. It raised € 4.5 million, about USD $ 6,075,000 as of this writing. Let’s take a look at some of the results. [see all of the watches: studio pics & in-the-flesh, hands-on]

Auction Watch: Antiquorum's ONLY WATCH 2011 Results Sales & Auctions

Perhaps the most controversial piece was the Patek tourbillon / minute repeater, Ref. 3939, Lot 30. The “Wish Price” for this dream piece was €450,000 – €650,000. It went for €1.400.000, about USD $1,890,000! There were a lot of haters for this piece. It’s perhaps the least-flashy of the watches in the auction. It’s from a manufacture that some consider old and stodgy. It’s in stainless steel, which is particularly odd for a Patek. And the size? It’s only 33.3mm! So whomever won this piece has a great gift for his wife.  ? All that said, it’s still a phenomenal finish for this watch.

Lot 23 was the Ikepod Hour Glass. A couple weeks ago I wrote:

Looks like their estimate nailed it. And we were correct about this item being a deal compared to much of the rest of the auction.

Auction Watch: Antiquorum's ONLY WATCH 2011 Results Sales & Auctions

And what of Lot #28, the MB&F Horological Machine No.4 Thunderbolt “Flying Panda?” Earlier, I wrote:

This MB&F finished at € 170,000, frankly, rather disappointing in my opinion. I really could have seen this easily hitting €250,000, especially considering that these official estimates of hammer prices are intentionally low. Was it the economy? Maybe collectors move to the finest houses in economic downturns and times of certainty. That explanation would at least seem to partially explain the amazing result for the Patek.

Let’s check out a few of the other pieces and their results …

Lot 2: Bell & Ross, BR01 Casino
Wish Price: €20.000 to €40.000
Result: €18.000
Analysis: A bit of a disappointment. Though I don’t find it surprising. I find all of the poker and gambling-related watches to be rather gaudy and quickly-dated.

Auction Watch: Antiquorum's ONLY WATCH 2011 Results Sales & Auctions

Lot 5: Bovet, Amadeo Dragon & Phoenix
Wish Price: €180.000 to €220.000
Result: €70.000
Analysis: “Ouch” would be an understatement here. Bovet is one of those “newish” brands that has tried to conjure up a rich and deep aura around itself. Pascal Raffy has become a watch industry celeb second only to maybe the Great J.C. Biver.  In my opinion, this may be due partially to the fact that we are talking about a pocket watch. I don’t particularly care how well-heeled one is. If you drop tens of thousands on a watch, you’re going to want to wear it at least a few times. And unless you’re decked-out in morning dress, in 2011 a pocket watch is a bit of an affectation. The €70.000 here has to be a bit of an embarrassment no matter how you spin it.

Lot 11: Corum, Golden Bridge
Wish Price: €55.000 to €70.000
Result: €50.000
Analysis: A little low. This watch has a bit of the Richard Mille look that has been popular of late. I expected this to go for a bit more.

Lot 16: Franck Muller, Crazy Hours
Wish Price: €20.000 to €40.000
Result: €44.000
Analysis: Franck Muller pieces continue to be popular. I don’t get it.

Auction Watch: Antiquorum's ONLY WATCH 2011 Results Sales & Auctions

Lot 38: Van Cleef & Arpels, Jules Verne From The Earth To The Moon Poetic Complication
Wish Price: €100.000 to €150.000
Result: €215.000
Analysis: Wow, never saw that one coming. Not really my personal taste, but a beautiful piece nonetheless.

A final thought on the diminutive Patek. Years ago a man’s watch was full-sized at 36mm, then later at 38mm. Over the last decade we’ve seen this creep upwards of 45mm in many cases (yes, Panerai and Graham, we’re looking at you). You would have to go upwards of 45mm before many people would today raise their eyebrows and wonder if a watch was simply too big. I guess 45mm is the new 38mm? So it’s not like Patek has offered a 37mm watch here and it’s being called small. 33.3mm is REALLY small. I wonder if this could be a new trend bringing us back to case-size sanity? I think it’s worth noting that purely from an engineering standpoint, putting a tourbillon and minute-repeater into a 33.3mm case is much more of a feat than doing so in a 48mm case.

And let’s look a bit more at the steel issue. The Patek, far and away the highest priced item here, is stainless steel, as is the Ulysse Nardin “Freak Diavolo.” Is this a new trend in high-end watches? Or more appropriately, is it coming back into vogue. I think that the use of stainless steel in expensive watches was first done bu Audemars Piguet with their Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak circa 1972. Traditionally, fine watches are offered in gold or some other precious metal. Is steel back?

Here are the top 10 watches in terms of final hammer prices:

Watch US Dollars
Patek Philippe, Ref. 3939 $1,910,720.00
Richard Mille, RM 027 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal $696,048.00
DeWitt, Concept Watch No. 3 X-Watch $559,568.00
Bernhard Lederer, Gagarin Tourbillon $409,440.00
Van Cleef & Arpels, Poetic Complication $293,432.00
MB&F, HM4 Thunderbolt Flying Panda $232,016.00
Harry Winston, Midnight GMT Tourbillon $218,368.00
Ulysse Nardin, Freak Diavolo $170,600.00
Breguet, Grande Complication $163,776.00
Vulcain, Skeleton Cricket $156,952.00


Auction Watch: Antiquorum's ONLY WATCH 2011 Results Sales & Auctions

The Patek, Gagarin Tourbillon, Breguet, Chanel, Celsius, Franck Muller, Frederique Constant, Piaget, Ulysse Nardin, and Van Cleef & Arpels all beat their estimates. Of the forty watches in the auction, nearly half (18) failed to hit their minimum estimate. Overall, I think that while the auction did raise a great deal of money for charity, and gave the manufactures some fine P.R., the results show the realities of the world’s financial woes.