Game Changer, the 2019 New York Watch auction hosted by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, realized $20,169,875/ CHF19,847,157 / €18,177,091, selling 100% by lot and 100% by value. This auction marks the first time that a US auction has ever seen five watches sell above $1 million. The sale set several world auction records across brands and models. Remarkable results were also seen across many independent watchmaking brands, including records for Urwerk and F.P.Journe, as well as a record price for a Lange 1 in stainless steel. The sale also matched the world record for a Philippe Dufour Simplicity, set last month in Geneva.
Leading the auction was Urwerk’s Atomic Mechanical Control, a tour-de-force of modern watchmaking, which realized $2.9 million, setting a new world record for the independent Swiss brand. Urwerk devoted 10 years of research and development to create this masterful work of art, leading to one of the most important timepieces ever created. Patek Philippe’s exceedingly rare “pink-on-pink” reference 1518 sold for $2.3 million, having been consigned from the family of the original owner, while the Patek Philippe reference 2499 in yellow gold achieved $2,024,000. Its discovery changed established scholarship, with round pushers originally delivered by Patek Philippe, making it one of the most important examples of the reference to ever surface.
After over 20 minutes of bidding from collectors across 3 continents, underscoring the enduring legacy of the most iconic actor of the 20th century, Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675 sold for $1,952,000. With absolutely superb provenance, it was famously seen on Brando’s wrist in Apocalypse Now and long thought to have been missing. Jack Nicklaus’ Rolex Day‐Date Reference 1803 achieved a remarkable $1.22 million, soaring past its low estimate of $100,000. It graced the wrist of Mr. Nicklaus nearly every day since 1967 and was present when he won 12 of his record 18 professional major championship titles. The Day‐Date is Rolex’s most prestigious model and one of the world’s most famous watches. 100% of the sale proceeds from this lot will directly benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.