Stay on top of all watchmaking news ! OK

This search is sponsored by Hublot

Search in :
Sotheby's - The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

Sotheby's The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

“The Asprey”, one of the most important vintage wristwatches in the world soars to CHF 3.9 million, a record for a Patek Philippe Reference 2499 .

“The Asprey” - a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph reference 2499 manufactured in 1952 - was the star lot of a selection of world-class vintage wristwatches. The auction attracted over 900 bidders from 54 countries, with nearly a quarter of buyers choosing to buy online. Testament to the huge potential in this market and the depth of demand for the finest pieces, 30% of participants were new to Sotheby’s. International collectors drove the final total of the “Important Watches” sale to CHF 12,208,000 – the second highest total in ten years for a Sotheby’s watch sale in Geneva (est: CHF 9.8m – 16.9m). 81% of lots sold, with almost half of them selling above the high estimate. 

“The enthusiasm we felt from international collectors before the sale has translated into strong bidding today, in recognition of the world- class quality pieces we offered, including of course the legendary “Asprey”,” commented Sam Hines, Global Head of Sotheby’s Watches, speaking after the sale. “This watch is the ultimate 2499: enormously rare, absolutely pristine – a dream for watch lovers. In 2018, we have seen some of our best results in years, and we are delighted that our approach, seeking out the very highest quality and focusing on expertise, has resonated with collectors.” 

The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

The Asprey © Sotheby's

“The Asprey” 

Four bidders on the phone and two in the room competed for this wristwatch, which is exceptional in every way. Known simply as “The Asprey”, this Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph reference 2499 was the star of today’s auction in Geneva, achieving a final price of CHF 3,915,000. Manufactured in 1952 and sold in 1956, this Patek Philippe 2499 1st series was retailed by Asprey of London in 1956. It is the most complicated Patek Philippe sold by the prestigious London jeweller. The dial is double signed by both the manufacture and Asprey, the case is stamped with London hallmarks and the date letter for 1955 and the inside case back too bears London import marks and the Asprey stamp. A legend amongst the market and collecting community, the watch has remained in the same private collection since first coming to auction in 2006 (lot 220 estimate CHF 2,000,000 – 4,000,000). 

Vintage watches steal the show 

Fresh to the market and previously unknown, an extraordinary Rolex Daytona reference 6239 with a ‘Pulsometer’ dial - among the rarest chronographs ever made - was sold for CHF 831,000 (Lot 216, estimate CHF 500,000 – 1,000,000). 

The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

Rolex Daytona Reference 6239 © Sotheby's

A stunning example of Patek Philippe’s reference 3448, made in white gold in 1977 and one of only around 50 known on the market exceeded pre-sale expectations to sell for CHF 519,000 (lot 224, estimate CHF 200,000 – 300,000). 

The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

Patek Philippe Reference 3448 © Sotheby's

An extraordinary example of Patek Philippe’s legendary reference 1518, a perpetual calendar chronograph in yellow gold from 1950 sold for CHF 495,000 (lot 225, estimate CHF 300,000 – 500,000). 

The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

Patek Philippe Reference 1518 © Sotheby's

The unique pilot’s watch by IWC in support of the Antoine De Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation garnered a winning bid of CHF 30,000 (lot 154). 

The most expensive watch sold at auction in 2018

Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupery” © Sotheby's

Recommended reading

Watch Finder

Search by:

Find your watch >


With a clear emphasis on technology and development, IWC Schaffhausen has been manufacturing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. Its philosophy, based on a passion for watchmaking, aims to...

Find out more >

Patek Philippe enjoys outstanding renown and rare prestige, due to the constancy with which the Manufacture has applied its philosophy of excellence ever since it was founded.

Find out more >