GENEVA (AFP) - A unique Patek Philippe stainless steel watch fetched a record US$7.3 million (S$10.3 million) when it went under the hammer in Geneva on Saturday, with the proceeds going to charity, the auction house said.
The watch, which had been listed with an asking price of only 700,000-900,000 Swiss francs (S$980,000 to S$1.2 million) had sold for 7.3 million Swiss francs after nine minutes of intense bidding by two anonymous telephone bidders, the Phillips auction house said.
That is "the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch at auction," it said in a statement, adding that once the hammer fell the sale had been greeted by a standing ovation in the room at the luxury La Reserve Hotel in Geneva.
The Patek Philippe piece, with its manual winding, minute repeater and perpetual calendar with moon-phase display, was one of 44 unique timepieces created for the "Only Watch" auction by luxury watchmakers and jewellers, including Blancpin, Harry Winston, Piaget and Chanel.
In total, the auction raked in US$11.2 million, Phillips said.
All the proceeds of the charity auction goes towards research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a tragic muscle-wasting disease that occurs in roughly one in 3,500 males.
"This fantastic result will allow us to strengthen our efforts in targeting a cure for this severe disease," said Luc Pettavino, head of the Monaco-based AMM association dedicated to finding a cure for the disease and founder of the "Only Watch" auction.
The auction is held every two years under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.