Phillips Rakes in HK$183m with Two Watch Auctions, Including Its First White Glove Sale in Asia

Phillips achieved a sale total of HK$183m (US$23.3m) over its two-day watch auctions in Hong Kong. It started with a white-glove thematic sale Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS selling all 82 lots offered, which also made the history for the auction house as its first 100% sold white-glove sale in Asia.

Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS pulled off a white-glove sale with 100% sold by lot

Cheyenne Westphal, Phillips’ Chairman, handed over a pair of white gloves to the auctioneer Thomas Perazzi

Unsurprisingly, renowned watchmakers Patek Phillippe and Rolex continued to dominate the top three lots of both sales. The highly anticipated evening sale Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS was the auction house’s partnership with Blackbird and its founder Mr. TK Mak, marking the first ever watch auction co-curated with an Asian collector. A total of 82 exceptional timepieces encompassing vintage and modern sports watches attracted collectors from 52 countries across six continents, including 500 online bidders.

Headlining the white glove sale was Rolex’s ‘Big Crown’ Submariner, Ref. 6538. Even though many vintage Rolex Submariners are being referred to as “James Bond” watches, only the ref. 6538 with big crown has really been worn by James Bond in movies including Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), and Goldfinger (1964). Dubbed by collectors as “Big Crown”, the iconic enlarged winding crown is preserved in exceptionally incredible condition.

It features four liner on the dial

Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant 

The watch, estimated at HK$3.2m-6.2m, saw intense bidding in the saleroom. Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant and Auctioneer, was bidding on behalf of two of his telephone bidders, one of who took home with the watch for HK$6.03m.

Patek Philippe Ref.2499/100

The second top fell to Patek Philippe Ref. 2499/100. Due to the extremely complex technical prowess required, only a total of 349 examples were created during its production, in which about 110 pieces were cased in yellow gold. The present watch belongs to the 4th series of this legendary model, featuring round chronograph buttons, applied baton numerals, outer seconds divisions and sapphire crystal. Estimated at HK$3.2m-6.2m, the watch was sold for HK$5.07m after premium.

The third top lot was Rolex Daytona ‘Paul Newman’ ref.6241 with a champagne-coloured dial and 18K yellow gold case, which was made in circa 1968. The ref. 6241 was the first Cosmograph Daytona reference featuring with black acrylic bezel ever commercialized by Rolex.

It has a champagne-coloured dial and 18K yellow gold case

Research suggests that about 2000 examples were made in stainless steel, 300 in 18K yellow gold and 400 in 14K gold during the production run from 1966 to 1969. The reference 6241 was also the first reference to include the wording “Daytona” on the dial. Carrying an estimate of HK$2.1m-4m, the watch was sold for HK$3.87m after premium.  

Polerouter wristwatch from Universal Genève that was once owned by Bruce Lee

Another highlight of the sale was a Polerouter wristwatch from Universal Genève that was once owned by Bruce Lee. The watch was sold for HK$225,000, nearly three times the low estimate of HK$80,000.

The sale on the following day, The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT, also pulled off remarkable performance by bringing in a sale total of HK$110m. It achieved a sell-through rate of 94% by selling 278 of all 296 lots offered.

The sale was also presided over by Thomas Perazzi

Ref.5002G Sky Moon Tourbillon


Ref.5002G Sky Moon Tourbillon

The top lot of the sale was a Patek Philippe, Ref.5002G, Sky Moon Tourbillon. In 2001, Patek Philippe released its new millennium grand complication wristwatch the Sky Moon Tourbillon. This modern masterpiece incorporated innovations from their historic past and inspired by the Star Caliber 2000. Patek Philippe miniaturized the model into a wristwatch that featured a double dial with cathedral gong minute repeating mechanism and tourbillon.

Fresh to the market and only the second known white gold version to appear in public, the watch is in exceptional overall condition and offered complete with original certificate of origin and fitted presentation box. Estimated at HK$6.2m-12.4m, the watch fetched HK$8.55m after premium.

Patek Philippe Ref.912 18K yellow gold, pearl, diamond and ruby-set openface pocket watch

The case band is set with pearls

A similar example that sold at auction in 2006, with a movement number just one digit away, was set with 244 diamonds totalling 1.87 carats. This watch, in contrast, is set with 177 diamonds of 1.71 carats, signifying that the stones on this watch are likely larger in size. The watch was sold for HK$6.39m after an intense bidding war, exceeding its presale estimate of HK$390,000-780,000. The price fetched also set the world auction record for the reference.

Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona, Ref. 6241

A Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman" Ref.6241 realised the third highest price of the sale after selling for HK$4.35m, against its estimate of HK$1.65m-3.2m. Previously unknown to the market, the watch was purchased by its current owner in the late 1980s. Its dial can be considered “best-in-class" without a trace of wear.

The two auctions brought the combined total to the highest result for any watch auction series staged in Asia this season. Phillips also recorded an unprecedented number of online, telephone and room bidders to the saleroom.

Phillips & Blackbird: Sports |Top three lots

Rolex Ref. 6538 stainless steel wristwatch with sweep center seconds, black lacquer “four liner” dial, big crown and big logo bracelet

Lot no.: 882
Produced in: 1958
Estimate: HK$3,200,000 - 6,200,000 (US$400,000 - 800,000)
Price realised: HK$6,030,000 (US$768,222)

Patek Philippe Ref. 2499/100 yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases, hang tag and presentation box

Lot no.: 869
Produced in: 1980
Estimate: HK$3,200,000 - 6,200,000  (US$400,000 - 800,000)
Price realised: HK$5,070,000 (US$645,918)

ROLEX, “Paul Newman” Daytona, Ref. 6241 yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with champagne “Paul Newman” dial

Lot no.: 857
Produced in: 1968年
Estimate: HK$2,100,000 - 4,000,000 (US$270,000 - 500,000)
Price realised: HK$3,870,000 (US$493,038)

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT|Top three lots

Patek Philippe white gold double dialed wristwatch with twelve complications including cathedral minute repetition, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand, leap year cycle, moon age, angular motion, sidereal time, moonphases and orbit, and sky chart orbit display with certificate of origin, presentation box, setting pin and hang tag

Lot no.: 1066
Produced in: 2007
Estimate: HK$6,200,000 - 12,400,000 (US$795,000 - 1,590,000)
Price realised: HK$8,550,000 (US$1,089,270)

Patek Philippe Ref. 912 skeletonized yellow gold, pearl, diamond and ruby-set openface pocket watch

Lot no.: 1050
Produced in: 1981
Estimate: HK$390,000 - 780,000 (US$50,000 - 100,000)
Price realised: HK$6,390,000 (US$814,086)

Rolex Ref. 6241 yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with champagne "Paul Newman" dial

Lot no.: 964
Produced in: circa 1968
Estimate: HK$1,650,000 - 3,200,000 (US$212,000 - 410,000)
Price realised:  HK$4,350,000 (US$554,190)

Auction summary

Auction house: Phillips Hong Kong
Sale: Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS
Date: 27 May 2019
Lots offered: 82
Sold: 82
Unsold: 0
Sold by lots: 100%
Sale total: HK$73,190,000 (US$9,324,406)

Sale: The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT
Date: 28 May 2019
Lots offered: 296
Sold: 278
Unsold: 18
Sold by lots: 94%
Sale total: HK$110,272,250