Phillips sets new world record for a wristwatch at auction

Paul Newman’s Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona sells for $17.8 million at Phillips’ inaugural New York watches auction, Winning Icons, which achieved $28.8 million, the highest for a watch auction in US history

Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, the worldwide market leader in watch auctions, announced that its inaugural New York sale realised $28,875,750 – the highest total for a watch auction in US history. This historic and record-breaking evening saw global participation from collectors across 43 countries, and a packed saleroom of nearly 700 people enthusiastically vying for some of the finest watches in the world.

The auction was led by its star lot – Paul Newman’s legendary Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona, which sold for $17,752,500, a world record for a wristwatch at auction. The timepiece sold to an anonymous bidder on the phone after 12 minutes of spirited bidding. One of the world’s most legendary and sought-after of all mechanical wristwatches, this timepiece is the only “exotic”-dialed Daytona that Newman owned, inspiring the legendary nickname for the most prestigious versions of Rolex’s Daytona.

The Phillips international team of Watch specialists brought together a world-class group of collectors’ wristwatches of the highest quality in terms of condition, rarity, and provenance. In addition to the Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona, the team saw strong results across all brands, with timepieces by Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet selling especially well.

There was spirited bidding for the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph reference 1518 in pink gold, which sold for $975,000. The world’s first perpetual calendar chronograph produced in series, only 281 examples were made – the vast majority in yellow gold, rarely ever seen in pink gold, and only four known in stainless steel.

Philippe Dufour’s Duality, crafted in 1996, soared past its estimate of $200,000–400,000 to $915,000. This iconic watch is the world’s first wristwatch incorporating a double escapement. Only nine were made including the present watch with the extraordinary number ‘00’ – the very first Duality made by the master himself.

Another timepiece offered was Audemars Piguet’s Perpetual Calendar, Ref. 5516: An important and extremely rare yellow gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap year indication, moon phase aperture, and additional dial. Setting a world record for this reference, the watch, which was estimated to go for $300,000-600,000, achieved a sale price of $675,000.

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