Only Watch 2015, the 6th edition of the famed charity watch auction, took place this past weekend with astonishing results. Held in Geneva for the first time, the auction realized $11,268,000 in total – the highest ever in its history – from the sale of 44 unique watches.
Only Watch 2015
The highlight of the Only Watch 2015 auction was without a doubt the sale of the Patek Philippe ref. 5016A (pictured at top), the first and only example of the model to be made in stainless steel. After a hotly contested phone battle between competing bidders that lasted an impressive 9 minutes, the Ref 5016A raced past its high estimate of CHF900,000 to sell for a staggering CHF7.3 million (US$7.3 million) the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch at auction.
I am just going to give you a minute to let that sink in. Seven. Point. Three. Million. If this wasn’t all in the name of charity then I would say the number is quite simply insane but given that this is all for a good cause I say everybody’s a winner. Still, I think it will be sometime before we see a wristwatch sold at a normal, for-profit auction eclipse that record. $7.3 million? I mean, come on! Not surprisingly the watch (and presumably its new owner) received a standing ovation from the packed auction room floor when the hammer finally came down.
Although the Patek Philippe Ref 5016A was the biggest surprise of Only Watch 2015, it certainly wasn’t the only one. Another absolutely stunning result came from the most unlikely of sources; Tudor. Going into the auction the mid-market brand’s unique Heritage Black Bay One (pictured above), manufactured in homage to the Submariner 7923 of the 1950s, was estimated at CHF3,500 – CHF4,500 (US$3,500 – US$4,500). By the time the hammer fell, the watch had sold for over 100 times its low estimate for a grand total of CHF375,000 (US$375,000). Someone clearly got caught up in the moment.
It was also good to see independent brands well represented in the top 5 lots of the Only Watch 2015 auction too. F.P. Journe’s Tourbillon Souverain Bleu, TN (pictured above), the first time a tourbillon has ever been cased in Tantalum, sold for CHF550,000 (US$550,000) whilst Kari Voutilainen’s GMT-6 (pictured below) – also cased in stainless steel for the first time – sold for CHF145,000 (US$145,000).
Although there were clear highlights of Only Watch 2015, pretty much every unique watch offered sold at or above its estimates, resulting in a truly fantastic result for the further funding of research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Luc Pettavino, President of Association Mongasque contre les Myopathies (AMM) and Founder of Only Watch could barely contain his joy at the result, saying:
“I want to thank everyone who has helped us to make this edition an amazing success, and in particular: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the watchmakers, the co-organizers Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo and the Monaco Yacht Show, and all our partners. This fantastic result will allow us to strengthen our efforts in targeting a cure for this severe disease.”
If you would like to see all the auction results for yourself just click here.