Press | Phillips

29 June 2020

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo Achieves Over CHF 30 million in The Geneva Watch Auction XI




Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo Achieves

Over CHF 30 million in The Geneva Watch Auction XI


The White Glove Sale (100% of lots sold) was the

First Live Watch Auction of 2020 with in Room Bidding and a

Record Number of 2,000 Online Bidders


World Records Included a Patek Philippe Reference 1518 from 1948 in Pink Gold with Pink Dial Selling for CHF 3.4 million / US$ 3.6 million




Two Extremely Rare F.P. Journe Models Tourbillon Souverain and Resonance both from his Original “Souscription” Series Achieving a

Combined Total of CHF 2.4 million 


Auctioneer Aurel Bacs on the rostrum selling lot 38 in The Geneva Watch Auction XI

Sold for: CHF 3,380,000 / $3,565,224 / €3,177,538


The Geneva Watch Auction XI


TOTAL: CHF 30,072,875 / $31,720,869 / €28,271,510

Lots sold: 210|Lots offered: 210                                                                      Sold by lot: 100% | Sold by value: 100%


GENEVA – 29 JUNE 2020 – Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has resumed its live watch auctions with the Geneva Watch Auction XI achieving a total of CHF 30,072,875 / $31,720,869 / €28,271,510, selling 100% by lot and 100% by value. Exceeding the pre-sale estimate of CHF 12.2 CHF million to CHF 23.2, this marked the first live watch auction in 2020 with in room bidding since the lockdown was lifted and saw numerous world records achieved across multiple watch brands. Despite the current climate, Phillips continues to attract an increasing number of collectors, with bidders from across 70 countries raising their paddles, including an unprecedented number of over 2,000 online bidders, double that of May 2019.


This is both the first ever white glove sale (100% of lots sold) and the highest sale total for a non-thematic various owner watch auction, exceeding the May 2019 sale total by 20%. The tightly curated offering of 210 collector watches of exceptional quality was highlighted by the four Patek Philippe cover-lots, property of watch industry titan Mr. Jean-Claude Biver, selling for a total of CHF 8,307,500 against a pre-sale estimate of CHF 3.3 million to CHF 6.6 million.


Patek Philippe models once again dominated the sale, with three timepieces from Mr. Biver’s private collection making it to the top ten, two of which achieving world auction records.


The Legendary Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 (lot 38), one of the world’s most sought-after watches, captivated the saleroom and online bidders alike, igniting an intense bidding war of four minutes, eventually selling for CHF 3,380,000 / $3,565,224 / €3,177,538. One of only twelve examples known, this extremely rare Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases made in 1948, almost tripled its low estimate and established a new world record for a Ref. 1518 in precious metal.


The spectacularly preserved Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 second series in yellow gold (lot 155) sold for CHF 2,600,000 / $2,742,480 / €2,444,260. This extremely rare and important perpetual calendar chronograph set a world record for a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 second series in yellow gold.


A further lot to soar above the $2 million mark was the final lot of the sale (lot 214), one of only three known Ref. 1579 chronographs in platinum with blue hard enamel graphics and spider lugs, which sold for CHF1,940,000 / $2,046,312 / €1,823,794.


Finally, a pink gold open face world time Patek Philippe pocket watch Ref. 605 HU with an incredibly vibrant cloisonné enamel dial depicting a map of Europe, Asia, Africa, previously unknown and most probably unique, sold for CHF 1,160,000, setting a new world record for the reference.


The back cover lots did not disappoint either, two exquisite F.P. Journe “Souscription” models sold for a total of CHF 2.4 million against a pre-sale estimate of CHF 230,000 to CHF 460,000. Consigned by famous Parisian Jeweller Lorenz Baümer, these models set new world record prices for F.P. Journe timepieces at auction (excluding charity auctions). The Tourbillon Souverain (lot 101) sold for CHF1,400,000, almost ten times its pre low estimate, and the platinum and pink gold Resonance (lot 49) sold for CHF1,040,000.


Iconic vintage sports watches achieved remarkable results with Patek Philippe Nautilus and Royal Oak models performing extremely well, in particular the white gold Nautilus ref 3700 (lot 14) selling for CHF 740,000 and fetching a new world record for this variant. Exceedingly rare, this watch is one of only eleven known reference 3700s cased in white gold. 


An auction room favorite, Rolex achieved two world records including a superbly well-preserved yellow gold Ref. 6241 Paul Newman John Player Special (lot 78) selling for CHF 1,040,000 and a Ref. 6232 in pink gold selling for CHF 740,000.


Notable results were achieved by other models by prestigious brands such as the IWC cloisonné enamel dial, a Vacheron Constantin minute repeater, and modern A. Lange & Söhne wristwatches.


The Independents’ Atelier, the section dedicated to independent watchmakers, a field that Phillips has long supported and is market leader in the auction world, sold 100% by lot. Highlights included the ground-breaking Opus 3 Vianney Halter for Harry Winston (lot 142) in platinum that sold for CHF 168,750, and a unique Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8 with enamel and engraved caseback in white gold (lot 141) that sold for CHF 125,000. The Singer Reimagined Track 1 prototype (lot 100) sold for CHF 52,500 and set a world record for any Singer Reimagined at auction.


Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, Head of Watches, Continental Europe and Middle East, enthusiastically declared: “Setting up this sale was an emotional roller coaster ride! With the lockdown arriving in Europe in March 2020, the catalogue had to be finalised and the auction organised remotely from home, without knowing if and how the auction could be held. The incredible dedication of the Phillips worldwide team brought this auction to fruition in a first ever various owners white glove sale. We are humbled by the trust of our consignors who did not withdraw a single lot from the sale, demonstrating their confidence in us. We also express our gratitude to our clients whose trust in us is so high that they bought the watches sight unseen (as there was no traveling exhibition). We would also love to thank the Phillips international teams for their unwavering support and commitment. This sale demonstrated the markets insatiable appetite for quality timepieces. With over 2,000 online registrants we had close to ten times more bidders than lots on offer showing the increasing growth of the market both in size and depth.”


With a new auction set-up where health and safety were the top priority, social distancing was fully respected in the saleroom, with all available seats occupied. Meanwhile, Phillips Hong Kong organised a fully functioning movie theatre at the Soho House, in the so-called Pink Room. On both Saturday and Sunday evening, up to 40 collectors gathered to follow the sale live, bidding and participating as if they were in the Geneva saleroom.


Interest was extremely strong from day one, as soon as the catalogue went live. The sale saw truly global attendance between absentee bidders, online bidders, in room bidders and phone bidders from 70 countries around the world. Digital participation smashed all previous records with 2,000 online registrants, attesting to the ever-growing importance of online participation. With restrictions on global travel, watches were made available via video, Zoom presentations, digital condition reports, webinars and a wealth of digital content.






Price Achieved



A highly rare, exceptionally well-preserved and attractive pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with pink dial and moonphases

World record for the variant of this reference in gold

CHF1.2 to 2.4 million

CHF 3,380,000





An extremely rare, highly important and well-preserved yellow gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases

World record a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 second series in yellow gold

CHF1 to 2 million

CHF 2,600,000





An exceedingly rare and well-preserved platinum chronograph wristwatch with blue hard enamel graphics and spider lugs

CHF800,000 to 1.6 million





F.P. JOURNE Tourbillon Souverain « Souscription » 

An extremely fine and rare platinum wristwatch with tourbillon, remontoire d'égalite, souscription contract and box, numbered 14 of a 20 pieces limited edition

World record for a F.P. Journe Tourbilon Souverain

CHF 150,000 to 300,000

CHF 1,400,000





A previously unknown and most probably unique pink gold open face worldtime pocket watch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting a map of Europe, Asia, Africa

World record for a reference 605HU

CHF 250,000 to 500,000





F.P. JOURNE Chronomètre à Resonance « Souscription »

A very rare limited edition platinum and pink gold dual time wristwatch with double escapement, box and original technical drawings

World record for a F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Resonance

CHF 80,000 to 160,000

CHF 1,040,000




ROLEX, Ref. 6241

A very rare, highly important and extremely attractive 14K yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with Paul Newman John Player Special dial and bracelet 

World record for a reference 6241 in yellow gold “John Player Special”

CHF 400,000 to 800,000

CHF 1,040,000




ROLEX, Ref. 6232

An exceedingly rare and extremely well-preserved pink gold chronograph wristwatch

World record for a reference 6232

CHF 200,000 to 400,000

CHF 740,000





A highly rare and attractive white gold wristwatch with date and bracelet

World record for a reference 3700 in gold

CHF300,000 to 600,000

CHF 740,000




PATEK PHILIPPE, Ref. 3448G very rare and wellpreserved white gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with moonphase indication, German calendar, setting pin and presentation box.

CHF 200,000 to 300,000

CHF 644,000





*Phillips also holds the previous world record for the reference 1518 in stainless steel, sold for CHF 11,020,000 / US$11,112,020 in 2016, in the Geneva Watch Action: FOUR


Please click here to download top ten images.


Permission for the use of any image is granted for timely reporting and auction review purposes only. Image courtesy of Phillips /




The team of specialists at Phillips Watches is dedicated to an uncompromised approach to quality, transparency, and client service, achieving a sale total of $111 million in 2019 – its third consecutive year as the worldwide market leader in watch auctions.

A selection of our recent record-breaking prices:

1.       Paul Newman’s Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona reference 6239 (CHF 17,709,894 / US$17,752,500) – New York Auction: Winning Icons – 26 October 2017 – ­­­Highest result ever achieved for any vintage wristwatch at auction.


2.      Patek Philippe reference 1518 in stainless steel (CHF 11,020,000 / US$11,112,020) – Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR – 12 November 2016 – Highest result ever achieved for a vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch at auction.




Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere i the world.  In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services.

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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.


PRESS CONTACTS:            

GENEVA - Asta Ponzo, PR Consultant                                       +41 79 961 85 66

LONDON - Katie Carder, Head of Press, Europe                         +44 20 7901 7938




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