To celebrate its 10-year anniversary in Dubai, Christie’s kicked off a busy week of events and auctions which began last week, on Sunday, March 13. In fact, this is the first time that Christie’s has held four auctions in the span of one sales season in Dubai.
With its Important Watches, Modern & Contemporary Art, Dubai: Modern and Contemporary Art Now and Ten, and the Elements of Style auctions, the US-based auction house achieved a total of US $16.278-million, with an average sell through rate of 85% by lot and 88% by value.
The Important Watches Auction comprised 176 lots of which 149 were sold, and achieved a total of US $2.68-million (AED 9,748,172). Remy Julia, Watch Specialist at Christie’s Dubai had the following to say, “This sale was one of the largest selection of timepieces we offered for auction in Dubai. This year especially, the auction showed the depth in the market and the demand from collectors from around the world for unique, limited edition and vintage watches. As ever, buying from private collectors was very active throughout the sale, resulting in 92% of the 176 lots bought privately”. Ahead of the auction, we picked three watches that we’d have loved to add to our private collection, you can read that story by clicking here.
The top lot, a Patek Philippe ref. 5101R-001, sold for US $155,000 (AED 563,439). This Patek Grande Complication features a tourbillon, 10-days of power reserve, a rectangular pink-gold case, and Breguet numerals. What’s interesting to note here is that although this timepiece achieved the highest price at the auction, it was only slightly above Christie’s starting estimate of US $130,000, and substantially below the high estimate of US $230,000. When this watch originally hit the market, the retail price for a factory fresh piece was US $395,000, which means that the new owner walked away with something of a bargain (congratulations!).
Watches from Patek typically command strong prices when they go up for resale, so we were surprised to see that this piece didn’t hit or exceed Christie’s high estimate, nor get anywhere close to its retail price. We reckon this is down to several factors – this watch isn’t quite one of the super desirable new Pateks, it’s still relatively new, it doesn’t have provenance but most of all, we think the generally depressed economic conditions globally, as well as oversupply and the slowing appetite for watches in previously high performing watch markets are to blame.
If however, you’re still looking for a new old stock 5101R-001, there’s one listed on eBay (at the time of publishing this story) out of New York for a ‘Buy it now’ price of US $349,499. The seller has 100% feedback but considering the value of the piece, this is a deal we’d highly recommend doing only in person. (Please note Horology Middle East is in no way endorsing or promoting the seller, we just wanted to let our readers know that this watches can still be had as new old stock.)
Christie’s also shared some interesting facts from its 10th anniversary sale season, we’ve listed them all below:
1) The first time that Christie’s has held four auctions in one sale season in Dubai
2) The largest painting ever to be offered at auction in the Middle East – Sarajevo, the 11 metre triptych by Omar El-Nagdi, sold for US $1.1 million
3) Lot 22 of the Elements of Style auction became the first Hermès handbag ever to sell at auction in the Middle East (a Hermès Kiwi Epsom leather micro mini Kelly bag, which sold for $6,875)
4) A watch made by Roger Dubuis was offered for the first time in an Important Watches auction in Dubai, Ref. EX45-01SQ-20-00, circa 2009, selling for $125,000
5) A work of art made entirely of barbed wire was installed at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel – by Abdulrahman Katanani (Palestinian), it sold for $25,000
6) Christie’s Cinema, complete with popcorn, screened the documentary Poetry in Bronze about the artist Parviz Tanavoli, the internationally recognised Iranian artist
7) Ten gallons of white paint were used to paint the temporary back-drops against which the 430 works of art, jewelry, watches and handbags offered could shine
8) Christie’s 10th anniversary sparkled with a collective 2,000 carats of jewels on display
9) More than 750 guests joined Christie’s for the celebratory opening reception
10) Christie’s Education held their first open air lecture during DIFC Art night as part of their now-regular programme
To learn more about Christie’s, click here.