12 December 2021

The 2021 New York Watch Auction Realizes $35.9 Million, Concluding a 100% Sold Year for Phillips’ Watch Sales, A First for Any Auction House in History

The 2021 New York Watch Auction Realizes $35.9 Million,

Concluding a 100% Sold Year for Phillips’ Watch Sales,

A First for Any Auction House in History


Bringing the Annual Total to $209.3 Million,

a New Milestone for Watch Auctions Across the Globe


The Highest Value Watch Auction in US History


$6.5 Million Raised for The Nature Conservancy with the Sale of the

First Patek Philippe Ref. 5711 Nautilus with Tiffany Blue® Dial,

Setting a New World Record for Any Wristwatch Sold Online


Author Ralph Ellison’s Omega Speedmaster, ref. 145.012

Achieves $667,800, Setting a New Record for the Reference


New York, 11-12 December 2021

Sale Total: $35,919,052/ £27,065,724/ €31,744,540


Lots Sold: 165 | Lots Offered: 165

Sold by Lot: 100% | Sold by Value: 100%



NEW YORK – 12 DECEMBER 2021 – Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is proud to announce that The 2021 New York Watch Auction realized $35.9 million, selling 100% by lot and 100% by value, marking the most successful Watch auction in US history. This concludes a 100% sold year for Phillips Watches – a first for any auction house in history. It was also the most successful year ever for the department – bringing the annual total to $209.3 million, marking the first time this sale total has been reached by any auction house, which also marks an 89% increase over 2019. Leading the auction was the very first Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 with Tiffany Blue® dial, which realized $6.5 million, making it the highest value watch to sell online at any auction house and the most expensive lot to sell online across all categories at Phillips. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to The Nature Conservancy.


Paul Boutros, Head of Watches, Americas, said, “It was a pleasure to welcome bidders back into our New York saleroom for such a historic sale – and the first watch auction at Phillips’ new headquarters in 432 Park Avenue. Across two days, we saw tremendously spirited bidding from nearly 75 countries, leading to game-changing prices for vintage and modern wristwatches alike. A spectacular George Daniels Tourbillon pocket watch – the fourth timepiece ever produced by the independent watch master – achieved $1.7 million, underscoring Daniels’ enduring legacy in the field. Bidders also competed fiercely for a Rolex ref. 6241 Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman “John Player Special,” which sold for $1.2 million, and we were delighted to set a new record for any watch by Roger Smith at $730,800. It was also an honor to be able to offer the Omega Speedmaster owned and worn by American author Ralph Ellison, following the publication of his masterpiece, Invisible Man. The watch soared past its estimate to $667,800, over sixty times its estimate, being acquired by the Omega Museum.”


Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant, said, “Since Bacs & Russo joined forces with Phillips just six years ago, the market has only strengthened for rare and exceptional timepieces. We’ve seen records fall again and again throughout the years, and 2021 was no different. The momentum gained throughout a truly stellar year continued straight into The 2021 New York Watch Auction. Kicking off the sale was one of the most important watches I’ve ever had the privilege of auctioning – the highly coveted Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 with Tiffany Blue® dial. The enthusiasm we saw in the leadup to the sale, which was reflected in the price it achieved, is a testament to the enduring legacy of 170 years of partnership between Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. It is also incredibly humbling for Phillips to play a part in raising such well-deserved funds for The Nature Conservancy. We are grateful to all those who helped make this extraordinary result possible, especially to the many people around the globe who raised their paddles on such a momentous occasion. Following the New York sale, our annual total of $209.3 million marks the most successful year ever for Phillips Watches, as well as for any auction house across the globe.”




Top Ten Lots




Price Achieved


Patek Philippe, Ref. 5711/1A-018

An historic, highly important, and brand-new stainless steel wristwatch with “Tiffany Blue” lacquer dial, date and bracelet, with certificate of origin and presentation box, with proceeds benefitting The Nature Conservancy, 2021

Estimate in Excess of $50,000




George Daniels, A spectacular and historically important yellow gold twin barrel one minute tourbillon pocket watch with Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement and retrograde hour hand, with handwritten George Daniels letter, presentation box, and double-ended key, handmade for Edward Hornby, 1971

$600,000 - 1,200,000




Ref. 6241, A highly important, very rare, and exceptional yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with Paul Newman 'John Player Special' dial and bracelet, Circa 1969

$600,000 - 1,200,000




Richard Mille, Ref. RM022 AM CA A very rare and highly attractive limited edition skeletonized carbon dual time tourbillon wristwatch with torque, power reserve and function indicators, with Certificate of Authenticity, and presentation box, 2012

$250,000 - 500,000




Rolex, Ref. 6241 A spectacular, very well-preserved, and unprecedented 14K yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with champagne Paul Newman exotic dial, Circa 1968

$250,000 - 500,000




Roger Smith, An exceptional, important, and extremely rare pink gold wristwatch with subsidiary seconds, co-axial escapement, and engine-turned dial, numbered 1, accompanied by original certificate and presentation box, 2018

World Auction Record for the Maker

$120,000 - 240,000




F.P. Journe, An extremely rare and beautiful limited edition pink gold tourbillon wristwatch with black mother-of-pearl dial, constant force remontoire, power reserve, dead beat seconds, certificate of authenticity, and presentation box, 2005

$150,000 - 300,000




Rolex, Ref. 6239; inside caseback stamped 6239

A previously unknown, extremely rare, and highly important stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with blue pulsation dial, tachymeter bezel, and bracelet, Circa 1967

$350,000 - 700,000




Omega, Ref. 145.012-67 SP A culturally and historically important stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with tachymeter bezel and bracelet, formerly owned by Ralph W. Ellison, 1968

World Auction Record for the Reference

$10,000 - 20,000




Audemars Piguet, Ref. 25902OR.OO.1110OR.01 A very fine and extremely rare pink gold skeletonized tourbillon wristwatch with power reserve, date indicator, integrated bracelet, certificate, and presentation box, sold to benefit The One Drop Foundation, 2010

$60,000 - 120,000






The team of specialists at Phillips Watches is dedicated to an uncompromised approach to quality, transparency, and client service, achieving a sale total of $209.3 million in 2021.


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 in 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.

Visit www.phillips.com for further information.


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

PRESS CONTACTS:            

NEW YORK – Paul Lerner, Consultant                                                 [email protected]         +1 917 698 9998

NEW YORK - Jaime Israni, Public Relations Director, Americas           [email protected]                            +1 212 940 1398



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