Patek watch sells for record $42m in auction

The Patek Philippe steel Grandmaster Chime has two dials, the other is on the back, and 20 special functions. It was sold last Saturday at an event called Only Watch.
The Patek Philippe steel Grandmaster Chime has two dials, the other is on the back, and 20 special functions. It was sold last Saturday at an event called Only Watch.PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

GENEVA • A Patek Philippe timepiece has sold for US$31 million (S$42 million), the highest price for a wristwatch in auction, at a charity sale run by Christie's in Geneva.

The steel Grandmaster Chime was sold after a five-minute bidding war in a packed room of more than 300 people last Saturday.

The watch beat the previous record, set by a Daytona Rolex that once belonged to actor Paul Newman. That piece fetched US$17.8 million in 2017.

The Patek Philippe has two dials, the other is on the back, and 20 special functions.

It was sold at an event called Only Watch, in which watchmakers offer one-of-a-kind pieces to raise money for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Record auction prices for watches have been accelerating in recent years. In 2010, the highest was US$5.7 million.

Only Watch was founded in 2005 by Mr Luc Pettavino, former CEO of the Monaco Yacht Show. His son died of muscular dystrophy.

Christie's is holding its annual watch auction next Monday in Geneva, and will, at the end of the month, offer a rare 1950s Patek Philippe timepiece in Hong Kong. It has an estimate of as much as US$14 million.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Patek watch sells for record $42m in auction'. Print Edition | Subscribe