Collectability on Auction: The Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XII, November 6 – 7, 2020

Upcoming Patek Philippe highlights from the world's watch auctions

In this new feature for Collectability, we will be covering auctions large and small with a focus on Patek Philippe offerings. Special attention will be dedicated to watches that capture our attention across all price points, pieces that shed light on collecting trends, new discoveries, and potentially amazing bargains from the universe of vintage and modern Patek Philippe. Also, just for fun, we will guess the sale price of each watch covered and take a look back after the sale to see how we did.

To kick off this regular column, we are taking a look at Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XII, November 6 – 7. Once again, Aurel Bacs and his global team did not disappoint. While the focus of this article is on the Geneva Auction XII, it is recommended that you also take a look at their groundbreaking November 8 sale, Retrospective 2000-2020  held in conjunction with Blackbird. If you haven’t seen this Phillips x Blackbird hardcover book yet, you’ll want to get your hands on it before it’s no longer available.

With the Geneva Auction XII, let’s take a look at some of our favorite lots from the sale. Due to new Covid-19 restrictions in Geneva, no clients will be allowed in the salesroom, however, the live auction will go on, and spirited bidding will no doubt occur on the phones and online. This weekend, it will be enjoyable to watch the action in Geneva from every corner of the globe.

Lot 17, Ref. 3700/1

A rare, highly attractive and well-preserved, stainless steel wristwatch with date, bracelet, Certificate of Origin and cork presentation box, 1979.

Patek Philippe ref. 3700/1

According to Phillips, “We are delighted to offer THE Patek Philippe reference 3700 with original flat hands and number matching original bezel that was illustrated in the book as the benchmark. In absolutely superlative condition it is this watch’s dial, case, bracelet, clasp and cork box were illustrated to show what the perfect and original example should be.” This ref. 3700 certainly seems to check all the boxes and it has quite the endorsement from the famous and mysterious ‘mstanga‘. This particular example is featured prominently as the benchmark in “A Study of Patek Philippe ref. 3700 by mstanga”. Estimate: 100-200,000 CHF. With new scholarship and continued Nautilus mania, Collectability guesses that this watch will bring 180,000 CHF.

Results: We guessed 180,000 CHF and actual all-in price was 189,000 CHF for this exceptional 3700/1A. Congrats to both the buyer and seller!

Lot 34, Ref. 9508

A very rare yellow gold and enamel lighter made for the Omani market, 1970s.

Patek Philippe ref. 9508

Yes, we will be watching this one very closely! It’s no secret that Collectability is a big fan of Patek Philippe lighters (learn more here). The one being offered by Phillips has serial numbers only 3 digits away from the one we sold earlier this year. Estimate: 20,000-40,000 CHF, Collectability guesses it will sell for 45,000 CHF.

Results: We guessed 45,000 CHF but actual price was just under 53,000 CHF. Not bad for a lighter!

Lot 69, Ref. 96

A rare and very attractive 18K yellow gold wristwatch with center seconds, two-tone sector dial and Certificate, sold in 1936.

Patek Philippe ref. 96

The ref. 96 market is heating up again as people are rediscovering that amazing things truly can come in small packages. This 30.5 mm beauty has a lot going for it including an untouched and unrestored sector dial and its original Certificate of Origin, something very rarely seen from the 1930s. Although the case is nice on this watch, it is all about the dial. It appears the market is accepting dials aged without intervention more broadly, and this watch will put the trend to the test. After all, once a dial is restored, there is no going back.  Estimate: 15,000-30,000 CHF, Collectability guesses it will sell for 28,000 CHF.

Results: We guessed 28,000 CHF and actual was 40,000 CHF. Still a bargain in our opinion!

Lot 71 Ref. 96

A highly rare, well-preserved and attractive platinum wristwatch with bracelet, awarded to winner of the Rigmor & Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research.

Patek Philippe ref. 96P

Within the ref. 96’s very long production run that went from 1932 until 1973, there are a number of trophies that collectors consider must-haves. Problem is they are hard to find. One such trophy is a near mint ref. 96 in platinum. This example seems to fit the bill and has the added value of being a watch that was awarded for scientific research in Denmark. This ‘Knudsen-Award” watch is accompanied by a matching red box also stating the award. Estimate: 76,000-152,000 CHF, Collectability guesses it bring 100,000 CHF.

Results: Our guess was 100,000 CHF and it brought  88,2000 CHF. Great value for such an exceptional ref. 96. 

Lot 137 Ref. 3418

A fine, previously unknown and astoundingly rare wristwatch with navy blue dial, engraved indexes and Milanese bracelet, 1958.

Patek Philippe ref. 3418

This was an unexpected surprise to see, a blue dial ref. 3418! Previously unknown, we have only heard the possibility there was one made with a blue dial. But this watch proves it exists and the original certificate states the facts in black and white. The ref. 3418 Amagnetic is a favorite watch for Collectability that we covered here earlier this year. This Amagnetic should bring some big money, but our guess is it will still fly under the radar. Estimate 15,000-30,000 CHF, Collectabilty guesses it will sell for 25,000 CHF.

Results: We guessed 25,000 CHF and the final was 30,240 CHF. 

Lot 144 Ref. 3448

A very rare and important yellow gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases, 1975.

Patek Philippe ref. 3448

The ref. 3448 is still undervalued in our opinion. Put this 37.5 mm reference on your wrist and you will most likely fall in love. It is minimalist, elegant, and ‘oh-so-Patek’. It’s the watch you literally pass down to the next generation. This example is 45 years old and does not disappoint. Yes, it was polished by Patek Philippe during a service, but it was done right and retains its crisp original shape. Estimate: 60,000-100,000 CHF, Collectability guesses it will bring 125,000 CHF.

Results: We guessed 125,000 CHF and it brought 126,000 CHF. Winner!

Lot 146 Ref. 130

An extremely rare and supremely attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with two-tone sector dial, 1937.

Patek Phillipe ref. 130

Unrestored and original. These are the magic words at a time when so many watches are heavily restored. This beauty from the 1930s is described as fresh-to-market from France, the “FAB SUISSE” seen under 6’clock under the dial confirms the French connection. This is a grail watch for chronograph collectors and we are excited to see what this example will bring. Estimate:  250-500,000 CHF, Collectability guesses it bring 400,000 CHF.

Results: We guessed 400,000 CHF and it brought 352,800 CHF. The white metal vintage chronograph market is still hot and there are still buying opportunities.


All images courtesy of Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo.


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