To the watch enthusiasts of the world, November in Geneva, Switzerland can be – if it were to be described using a single word – momentous. November (particularly the beginning of the month) is filled with critical watch auctions, award ceremonies, and events often associated with both the former and the latter. And while last year (or, as many are calling it, “the year that shall not be named”) was cause for pause as it pertained to gathering in Geneva in person, this year proved that while the world isn’t yet fully healed, that it is, at least, on the right path to recovery.
Here is a breakdown of the big watch industry news to come out of Geneva this November.
The Only Watch Auction’s Astonishing Outcome
Since it’s inception in 2001, the nine editions of the Only Watch auction have, in total, garnered over 100 million CHF; funds used to help with research and what the organization hopes would be a potential cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. But this year’s auction alone – held on November 6th at the Palexpo in Geneva and in collaboration with Christie’s Auction House – raised $30 million CHF, with five of the watches up for bid surpassing the 1-million-dollar mark.
In a press statement released shorty after the watch auction results were made public, founder of the auction and President of the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy, Luc Pettavino, said the following: “This is more than a dream come true and such a strong positive signal. For the participating watchmakers who see their creations recognized and their efforts rewarded. For the lucky buyers who now own a timepiece that is not only unique but also makes them a part of history. And for the hundreds of thousands of patients and their families who are touched by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as well as for the researchers who are coming ever closer to finding the solution.”
What Went Down (and WAY up) at Phillips
Phillips (in Association with Bacs & Russo) achieved a total of 68,263,230 CHF at their Geneva Watch Auction: XIVheld on the 5th and the 7th of November. The Phillips event this year brought in the highest ever total for a watch sale in any auction’s history, with the top twelve lots all selling for over the one-million-dollar mark.
The talk of show? A Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie n°1 in yellow gold which sold for 4.75 million CHF after a bidding war. The result was the highest price paid at a watch auction for a watch created by an independent watchmaker.
A Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 Sells at Christie’s
Christie’s Rare Watches auction in Geneva (which happened on November 8th) managed to rake in a solid 22.8 million in revenue, with the big news of the day being the sale of the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 – two crown world time – hammering at an impressive 2,670,000 CHF.
And then… This Happened
The 2021 edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) saw the Aiguille d’Or (think, “Best in Show” go to Bulgari for their Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, De Bethune take the Tourbillon Watch Prize for their DB Kind of Two Tourbillon, Van Cleef & Arpels walk away with the Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize for their exquisite Lady Féerie Watch, and MB&F collect the Men’s Complication Watch Prize for their LMX Titanium. And while those are just a fraction of the awards presented this year, it was the award for Special Jury Prize that left us humbled and beaming, as that award was presented to Dubai Watch Week, and was accepted by Hind Seddiqi, Director General of this event.
What happened this past week in Geneva not only shattered records and created history, it also made dreams come true for many who care so deeply about this industry and what it’s capable of.
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