Rare 1923 Patek Philippe, earliest known single-button split-seconds chronograph wristwatch sold at Sotheby’s on Tuesday for $2.965 million – more than twice the top estimate. It was sold to a Swiss museum. Patek’s chronograph, was part of a private collection of 12 Patek watches, including five bespoke titanium timepieces, which sold for a total of $7.1 million. Described by Sotheby’s as “a piece of watchmaking history”, this chronograph was part of a sale of 171 watches that fetched $11.7 million. Of the 171 lots, 143 sold. The yellow gold watch is the only split-seconds chronograph by Patek Philippe with a white enamel dial.
It originally sold on Oct. 13, 1923, making it the earliest known split-seconds chronograph made by the firm.
Although not the most expensive watch ever sold, it rivals the highest price ever fetched at a Sotheby’s watch auction $2.994 million for a Henry Graves Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch by Patek Philippe that sold in 2012.
Other highlights of the sale included: a gold, hardstone, enamel and gem-set desk timepiece in the form of a tortoise, circa 1928, sold for $875,000, well above its $500,000 high estimate. The dial and movement are concealed within the tortoise shell that opens.
A white gold and diamond-set bracelet watch, Ref 40011 by Piaget carrying a total diamond weight of approximately 57 carats fetched $398,000, above its $300,000 high estimate.
The Hublot Key of Time MB-02 and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre a Spherotourbillon, each brought in $185,000.