Rare Patek watch fetches record RM 11.8m in Asia

By BLOOMBERG

ZURICH • A rare Patek Philippe sold for HK$22.3 million (RM11.82 million) at Phillips in Hong Kong, setting an auction record in Asia for a wristwatch.

The 18-carat yellow gold timepiece went under the hammer yesterday, exceeding the high estimate of HK$20 million, according to Phillips’ website. The bidding war for the reference no 2523 lasted about five minutes.

The wristwatch, consigned by an Asian collector, dates back to 1953 and features blue enamel decor and an engineturned dial — a centuries-old craft that uses machines to engrave delicate patterns on watch components. It’s also known by the French term, guilloche.

Vintage-watch demand has been booming, illustrated by Phillips’ record US$17.8 million (RM72.98 million) sale last month of a Rolex that belonged to actor Paul Newman. The smaller New York- and London- based firm is aiming to corner the market in vintage timepieces as auctioneer Aurel Bacs raises its profile.

“We’ve noticed more and more Asian collectors are looking for vintage timepieces,” Thomas Perazzi, Phillips’ head of watches in Asia, said in an interview prior to the sale. “Before, they were looking more for important contemporary wristwatches. This growth is very important.”

Phillips beat its own record for the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at an auction in Asia, which was set by the 1968 Patek Philippe Ref 2499 in pink gold in May 2016, when it sold for HK$19.7 million.