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Dubai auction bid for rare Patek Philippe watch sits at $1.1mln, most expensive in ME

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A bid for the rare Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002P wristwatch at an online Christie’s Dubai auction sits at $1.1 million with three more days to go. It already makes it the Middle East’s most expensive watch put up for sale at an auction, according to Christie’s.

The online auction consists of close to 200 watches for collectors, with icons and classics from Patek Philippe and Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille, among others.

With the Ref. 5002P, the auction house has also beaten its own regional record for a watch auction when a Patek Philippe timepiece, Ref. 1516, previously owned by and specifically made for King Farouk of Egypt, sold for $912,500 in 2018.

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 made for King Farouk of Egypt sold for $912,500 in 2018. (Supplied)
Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 made for King Farouk of Egypt sold for $912,500 in 2018. (Supplied)

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“The lot number one of the auction started at $1 million and we have already reached $1.1 million, which when you include the buyer’s premium fee, our commission, it amounts to almost $1.35 million, making it the most expensive watch to ever be sold by auction in the Middle East,” Chief watch specialist at Christie’s Dubai and head of watches for Middle East, India, Africa and Russia, Remy Julia, told Al Arabiya English.

He added that they were aiming to cross $10 million for the auction as a whole. “It would certainly be an amazing step because it would make it the most valuable watch auction in the Middle East, confirming Dubai as a hub for collectible watches open to the world,” he said.

Christie’s has been conducting watch auctions in Dubai since 2013, but it’s overall presence in the region started fifteen years ago when they started having auctions for groups of collectible items as well as modern and contemporary art.

“When we started eight years back, the ‘Watches Auction’ included 200 watches which were worth $1 million. Today, the business still conducts auctions consisting of 200 watches, but they are now worth $10 million. This is a major increase in value which is linked to the quality of the piece, rarity and high collectibility accounting for a higher price range, as well as the international attention from collectors of rare and fine watches from all five continents,” said Julia.

Christie’s currently has over 400 collectors that are registered and ready to partake in the auction. Julia also noted that the auction is not being held exclusively for their clients in the Middle East, but for international clients spread across up to 50 countries too as it is an online auction.

Audemars Piguet, a set of six gold bejewelled royal oak wristwatches with its original presentation box, presented by Christie’s Dubai auction house as part of a virtual auction. (Supplied)
Audemars Piguet, a set of six gold bejewelled royal oak wristwatches with its original presentation box, presented by Christie’s Dubai auction house as part of a virtual auction. (Supplied)

Julia explained that the auctions cater to a very specific need as they are not simply luxury items, but are also extremely rare, while many are limited-edition watches.

“A very important difference in the market is that people come to Christie’s auction house to find items that fit into their specific collection, inspected and curated by experts and with the comfort and security of dealing with the biggest auction house in the world. Collectors would either keep them in the family or they will rotate it as an investment as it is not something you can just buy from a shop, these items are only available from collector to collector or through major auction events like the one that is currently being held in Dubai. It is very hard to find those rarities and rare watches,” he said.

“Sometimes, collectors would wait five or even 10 years for a certain watch to appear in the market and sometimes, it might never show up.”

The auction will be held virtually until Thursday, April 8.

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