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Hot trend alert: Watch sales at auction

Watch the watches

Wise collectors will take notice of recent record-breaking auction sales in the form of timepieces. At RR Auction, we are recognizing that watch sales at auction are trending as one of the highest-grossing growth items in the collectibles world.

On Oct. 26, Paul Newman’s wristwatch garnered $17.8 million at auction, the highest price ever achieved. The actor’s iconic Rolex Cosmograph Daytona set a world record via the sale at auction house Phillips. The price is more than $6 million more than the previous record-holder – a rare, stainless steel Patek Philippe watch – and is a stunning increase of more than $12 million over the prior record-holding Rolex sold just a few months earlier that belonged to Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam.

But Newman’s wristwatch price is eclipsed by a 1933 pocket watch by Patek Philippe, which sold at a 2015 auction at Sotheby’s for $24.4 million.  

Time to sell?

It’s not just collectors of watches and fine jewelry that are fascinated by these high ticket item offerings. RR Auction has seen firsthand how watch sales at auction cross categories. We’ve had remarkable success selling watches owned by astronauts to our Space collectors. Moonwalker Dave Scott’s flight-worn Bulova wristwatch (shown above – complete with scratched face and dirt/debris from its time on the lunar surface!) sold at auction for $1.625 million – at the time, it was the most expensive American Space artifact ever sold at auction. Alan Shepard’s Apollo 14 Vacheron Constantin watch achieved a price of more than $81,000. We also sold cosmonaut Gennady Padalka’s flown Omega Speedmaster Pro for nearly $40,000.

If you’d like to talk to one of our specialists
about watch sales at auction, contact us.

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