As the Swiss watch industry continues to flag, the vintage market just gets hotter and hotter.
The latest example: a 1943 Patek Philippe ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph that just sold for $11 million at a Phillips auction in Geneva on Saturday.
No diamonds or precious metals here — just one of the greatest examples of watchmaking in an extremely rare model.
The steel-cased watch is one of only four known to exist in the world, and it sold for more than three times its $3 million hidden auction estimate. The winner was an unnamed private collector.
How can such an anti-bling watch be worth so much? Credit a combination of rarity, originality, and condition, says Aurel Bacs, head of watch auction expertise firm Bacs & Russo, which has partnered with Phillips. This model also has the distinction of being the first perpetual calendar chronograph ever made, according to Forbes. The watch’s calendar will never need to be adjusted, as it even accounts for leap years.
It’s enough to knock out the previous most expensive wristwatch in the world, another steel-cased Patek that sold for a notable $7 million a year ago.