Best Watch Buys of 2016

Watches

Best Watch Buys of 2016

Here, Jessie Kang, Sotheby’s Asia Head of Watches highlights six timepieces that stood out for being best watch buys of the 2016.

Published on 29 December 2016

The year 2016 may be a tumultuous one with political risks and financial uncertainty plaguing the globe. However, it seems that investors and collectors remain confident in timepieces, judging from the encouraging sales at recent watch auctions.

“Interest still remains keen and people are coming back to participate,” says Jessie Kang, Sotheby’s Head of Watches, Asia.

For instance, at its recent Important Watches Hong Kong autumn sale in October, it saw a “solid” sell-through rate of 88.6% by lot and 90.3% by value, with close to half of all lots selling above high estimates.

These were bought by a mix of established and new collectors from 29 countries.

More recently, in November, its Geneva sale of Important Watches also realised US$7.1 million with 88.5% of lots sold to participants from over 60 countries, selling above the pre-sale estimate of US$4 – 6.4 million.

“A good result can be attributed to multiple reasons,” says Jessie. “In spite of the uncertain political environment that potentially affected the confidence of buyers, there were still strong positive factors that propelled sales, such as the stock market’s stability and the premium, high-calibre pieces coming to the auction.”

In 2017, rare watches will remain popular in the auction market too. Jessie explains: “As is the case with 2016, the collection of unique, hard-to-obtain timepieces looks set to remain a key driver in the auction market next year. Buyers are expected to specifically keep their eyes on limited production pieces. In doing so, it is expected that demand of such watches will be driven up.”

This year, Sotheby’s saw serious auction-going collectors opting for high-value pieces that are made with fine complication and by sophisticated brands. Its clients were also driven by rarity.

Here, Jessie highlights six timepieces that stood out for being best buys of the 2016.

01.

Patek Philippe

A Platinum Tonneau-Shaped Automatic Minute Repeating Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch, Ref 5013p
Autumn Sale 2016

Sold for HK$3,440,000 (US$441,026)

Estimated at HK$2,800,000 – 3,800,000

  • Launched in 1992, Reference 5013 is one of the most complex wristwatches ever made by Patek Philippe, with a total of 515 parts.
  • It was also the first minute-repeating wristwatch to feature an automatic movement combined with perpetual calendar with retrograde date indication. The retrograde date hand moves along a 270-degree arc and flies back to the first of the month at midnight of the last day of each month.
  • The tonneau-form shape hearkens back to the most celebrated vintage minute-repeating wristwatches by Patek Philippe, such as the Henry Graves Minute Repeating Wristwatch, sold by Sotheby’s New York in June 2012 for US$3 million.

02.

Richard Mille

A Carbon Composite Tonneau-Form Skeletonised Tourbillon Wristwatch, RM 027 Rafael Nadal
Spring Sale 2016

Sold for HK$3,320,000 (US$425,641)

Estimated at HK$2,800,000 – 3,500,000

  • A fascinating combination of technology, performance and practical aspects in a wristwatch, RM 027 is hailed as one of the world’s lightest watches ever constructed.
  • The case is made of carbon-based composite and the base-plate of titanium, maximising the watch’s flexibility and shock resistance.  The movement base-plate is made of Titanium and LITAL® alloy, making it one of the most light-weight mechanical tourbillon wristwatches, with a movement weight of only 3.83 grams.
  • Launched in a limited edition of 50 pieces in 2010, RM 027 soon became one of the most iconic and important sports watches ever made in the 21st century.

Left: Richard Mille – A Carbon Composite Tonneau-Form Skeletonised Tourbillon Wristwatch
Right: 
Patek Philippe – A Platinum Tonneau-Shaped Automatic Minute Repeating Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch

03.

Vacheron Constantin

A White Gold And Diamond-Set Tonneau-Form Tourbillon Wristwatch, Malte Tourbillon
Spring Sale 2016

Sold for HK$3,320,000 (US$425,641)

Estimated at HK$2,400,000 – 3,600,000

  • With its ground-breaking tonneau shape, Vacheron Constantin’s Malte Collection debuted in 1912 representing a dramatic break from the tradition of round dials in pocket watches.
  • The Malte Regulator Tourbillon is embellished with 565 baguette-cut diamonds, weighing approximately 18.98 carats, all boasting exceptional colour grades (F/G) the highest standards of clarity (IF/VVS), is custom-cut and invisibly set with extreme precision.
  • The collection also offers a manual-winding tourbillon movement and a highly readable hours, minutes and seconds regulator display which is designed, developed and produced by the Vacheron Constantin Manufacture, both of which are highly appreciated by watch enthusiasts.

04.

Richard Mille

A Carbon Composite And Titanium Skeletonized Tourbillon Chronograph Diver’s Wristwatch, RM025
Autumn Sale 2016

Sold for HK$2,360,000 (US$302,564)

Estimated at HK$1,200,000 – 1,600,000

  • With its distinctive, modern and technical design, RM025, part of the diver’s watch collection, is a testament to Richard Mille’s commitment to innovation in the world of horology.
  • The RM025 is a timepiece that is unlike any other Richard Mille creation, not only in its exterior appearance, but also for its ability to deal with one of the world’s harshest environments, with a water resistance of 300 meters, all the while continuing to preserve the values of traditional Swiss watchmaking.
  • The RM caliber RM025 unites the complication of a tourbillon with the prominent complexities of a chronograph movement – a combination extremely difficult and rarely achieved in watchmaking.
  • Another exotic element is the torque indicator complication that is positioned to the right of the barrel, between 12 and 1 o’clock. This indicator shows the tension of the mainspring, ensuring the chronometer function of the movement.

Left: Richard Mille – A Carbon Composite And Titanium Skeletonized Tourbillon Chronograph Diver’s Wristwatch
Right: Vacheron Constantin – A White Gold And Diamond-Set Tonneau-Form Tourbillon Wristwatch

05.

Patek Philippe

A White Gold And Diamond-Set Automatic Bracelet Watch Ref 5720/LG-001 Nautilus
Spring Sale 2016

Sold for HK$2,360,000 (US$302,564)

Estimated at HK$2,200,000 – 2,800,000

  • To mark the opening of a new branch of Maison Patek Philippe in Shanghai in 2012, the Swiss watchmaker released a series of limited edition timepieces, including a novelty Nautilus with an enameled and engraved dragon.
  • The dragon is a mythical, powerful creature celebrated in Chinese culture. It symbolises strength, health, harmony, and intellect.
  • According to the legend, the Chinese believe themselves to be “descendants of the dragon”.  The ref 5720/1G is designed to depict a five-clawed dragon striding amidst engraved clouds.
  • Each watch is finely decorated with pavé-set diamonds and the dragon on the dial that extends to the bezel, which is enameled with 10 different colours.
  • Due to the hand enameling process, every piece varies slightly and therefore can be considered.

06.

Patek Philippe

A Platinum Perpetual Calendar Split Seconds Chronograph Wristwatch, Ref 5204P-010
Spring Sale 2016

Sold for HK$2,120,000 (US$271,795)

Estimated at HK$1,600,000 – 2,200,000

  • Patek Philippe Ref. 5204 split second chronograph with perpetual calendar features all the traditional assets that impress true connoisseurs yet is the most modern representative of its category.
  • Powered by a caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q movement, the 8th fully in-house designed chronograph movement with a Gyromax balance beating at 28,800 bph (4Hz), ref. 5204 embodies substantial change from the 18,000 bph of ref. 5004’s CHR 27-70 Q.
  • As the apotheosis of Patek Philippe’s classic chronograph watch, the new Ref. 5204 is housed in a 40 mm platinum case.
  • While the 5004p was most often seen with Arabic numerals, the 5204P features luminescent applied gold baton markers instead.
  • The dial is intelligently configured setting the stage for one of the most popular and useful functions of a grand complication wristwatch.
Left: Patek Philippe – A Platinum Perpetual Calendar Split Seconds Chronograph Wristwatch
Right: Patek Philippe – A White Gold And Diamond-Set Automatic Bracelet Watch Ref 5720

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