Hidden Gems: Rare Unusual Watches Fetch Record Prices at Watch Auction

Geneva, Switzerland — In an extraordinary convergence of horology and opulence, Sotheby’s orchestrated a captivating auction of 24 unconventional high design timepieces. The clandestine venue? A wine cave nestled in the heart of Geneva. And the outcome? Nothing short of spectacular.

Within a mere hour, the auction house witnessed a sell-out—a swift and decisive transaction that left no time for hesitation. The sale, aptly christened “Rough Diamonds,” surpassed all expectations, amassing a staggering sum of approximately $1.3 million. This remarkable achievement nearly doubled its initial high estimate.

At the pinnacle of this timekeeping spectacle stood a singular masterpiece: a Patek Philippe set, bearing the enigmatic reference number 3290. Conceived by the visionary designer Gilbert Albert in 1962, this ensemble boasted a trio of exquisite components: a bracelet watch, a ring, and a necklace. Each piece, meticulously crafted in yellow gold, adorned with delicate enamel, and bedecked with lustrous pearls. The gavel fell at 393,700 Swiss francs ($435,727), obliterating its conservative high estimate of 50,000 Swiss francs. The bidding frenzy, waged across phone lines, raged for over six minutes—a testament to its allure.

But the spotlight didn’t dim there. Two other lots emerged as celestial contenders:

  1. Cobra ‘Royal Khanjar’: An enigmatic white gold bracelet watch, graced with day and date complications, courtesy of Audemars Piguet. Its 1985 vintage commanded 165,100 Swiss francs ($182,724), soaring well beyond its projected high estimate of 100,000 Swiss francs.
  2. Carved in Time: A whimsical wristwatch, shaped like an elegant automobile, its white gold chassis encrusted with diamonds and emeralds. The brainchild of designer Jacqueline Dimier for Audemars Piguet, circa 1995. Its final bid? A triumphant 107,950 Swiss francs ($119,474), defying its conservative high estimate of 80,000 Swiss francs.

This auction bore the imprimatur of the heist-out creative watch collective, helmed by Maxime Couturier and Lorenzo Maillard. Their mission? To unearth the unconventional, the gender-fluid, and the overlooked. These timepieces, once relegated to the shadows, now basked in the limelight. Collectors, it seems, had been unwittingly neglecting these horological gems. But no more—their brilliance now shines forth, a testament to the audacity of visionaries and the allure of the unexpected.