Egypt’s King Farouk Patek Watch Sets Middle East Auction Record
Patek Philippe

It was a banner close to the auction season in the region

By CLAUDIA CARPENTER

A Patek Philippe watch made for King Farouk of Egypt in 1944 sold to an unidentified buyer for US$912,500 (RM3.58 million) at Christie’s in Dubai last Friday, a record sum for a timepiece auctioned in the Middle East.

The 18-carat gold Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 was estimated to be worth as much as US$800,000 by the auction house, which concluded its 23rd auction season in the region. A Rolex GMT-Master made for Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum fetched US$162,500, surpassing the estimate of US$120,000- US$160,000. The sales total for the auction was US$7.1 million, compared to an estimate of US$5 million to US$8 million.

“It’s very clear there’s an appetite for watches across the region,” Michael Jeha, MD of Christie’s Middle East, said in an interview.

Five artists from Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Egypt set world auction records at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale last Thursday, even though the sales total of US$2.97 million fell short of the low estimate of US$3.1 million. The most expensive work offered, Une vie singuliere by the late Shafic Abboud of Lebanon, didn’t sell after bids came in below the low estimate of US$220,000.

Sohrab’s untitled

Iranian artist Sohrab Sepehri’s Untitled, painted circa the 1970s, was the top lot of the night, selling for US$287,500 against an estimate of US$150,000-US$200,000. The piece is from the artist’s Abstract series, which has been kept at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, among other places, since Sepehri’s death in 1980.

The 2009 Good Luck by Huguette Caland, born in Lebanon, fetched US$162,500 (Estimate: US$80,000-US$120,000). Another Lebanese painter, Hussein Madi, set a record with his 1998 Baghdad Landscape, which went for US$75,000, well above the high estimate of US$18,000.

Hussein Madi’s

Hussein Madi’s Baghdad landscape, 1998 (Source: Christie’s)

Untitled, by Iraqi painter Naziha Selim, sold for US$11,250, a record for the artist, who died in 2008. The painting was sold as part of a collection of Fadhil Chalabi, who served as acting secretary general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries in the 1980s.

Egyptian Zeinab Abd El Hamid’s Quartier Populaire, an oil on canvas painted in 1956, sold for US$58,750, far exceeding the US$12,000-US$18,000estimate.

Oneness Wholeness, Tree of Life, by Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in 2017, sold for US$15,000 (Estimate: US$12,000-US$18,000). Bakhtiar, who was born in 1984, will exhibit his new series, “Oneness Wholeness”, at London’s Saatchi Gallery in May. — Bloomberg