In spite of the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, which paralyzed even the largest watch manufacturers, one aspect of the world of luxury watchmaking is doing rather well: auctions. A look back at the ten most memorable watch auctions of the year 2020.
1) TAG Heuer’s highest auction sale
Sold at the beginning of December in New York by Phillips, a Monaco model, which belonged to Steve McQueen and appeared in the 1971 film Le Mans, was sold for more than 1.8 million euros, making it the most expensive Tag Heuer in the brand’s history.
2) King George III’s Breguet
The most royal auction of the summer was unveiled by Sotheby’s and sold for 1.7 million euros. The Breguet in question had belonged to King George III of England, who received his watch during the Napoleonic Wars of 1808.
3) The Crash Cartier watch
The 1990 Crash model in yellow gold from Cartier was sold for 185,000 euros by Christie’s in early December, a record for the brand.
4) Elvis Presley’s Universal Genève
In 2018, Elvis Presley’s Omega white gold watch sold for nearly 20 times its estimate, or 1.5 million. Collectors never tire of the many models that have belonged to the King, and in April, his Universal Genève in gold found a buyer at a sale by the American antique dealer M.S. Rau, for more than 30,000 euros.
5) Vacheron Constantin and the Louvre Museum
At the online sale of Christie’s and Drouot in partnership with the Louvre museum earlier this month, the “Les Cabinotiers” model from luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin sold for 280,000 euros. The partnership with the Louvre museum offers the owner the opportunity to personalize his new acquisition by choosing a work from the museum to be reproduced on the dial.
6) Three world records for Rolex
At a sale organized last June by Antiquorum Geneva, three new world records were set by the Rolex brand. They concern an Oyster 6034 pink gold chronograph from 1995, almost identical to the one worn by Eric Clapton, for 560,000 euros, a Submariner Comex diver for 488,000 euros, and a Submariner Red part for nearly 97,000 euros.
7) The 100 mysterious Cartier clocks
In July, Christie’s organized the sale of a collection of more than 100 Cartier clocks, spanning more than 80 years of the company’s history. Highly anticipated by collectors, the auction totaled 2 million euros.
8) Jean-Claude Biver’s Patek Philippe in Geneva
Phillips is auctioning four Patek Philippe models from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s from Jean-Claude’s personal collection. The four watches have fetched over 8 million euros in sales.
9) Record Sale for Watchmaker Philippe Dufour
At the beginning of November, independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour, whose watches are very rare on the market, set his first auction record for a platinum Simplicity, which sold for 1.2 million euros.
10) The Panerai Luminor by Sylvester Stallone
Another star watch interested collectors this year was the Panerai Luminor by Sylvester Stallone. Panerai are usually in short supply at auctions, but on December 12 at the Phillips sale in New York, several watches by Sylvester Stallone were on display, including the famous Panerai Luminor that he wore in 1996 in the film Daylight. The piece, estimated at between 40,000 and 80,000 euros, sold for 176,000 euros.
Featured photo: © Press
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