Phillips’ 2019 watch auctions total $111 Million
Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo announced a grand total of $111 million for annual watch auctions in 2019, the highest live auction total for any house this year. Across the sales in Geneva, Hong Kong and New York, Phillips saw 12 exceptional timepieces soar above the $1 million mark, with the Urwerk Atomic Mechanical Control claiming the top price of the year, selling for $2.9 million and setting a new world record price for a watch made by an independent Swiss watchmaker sold at auction. Auction records were also broken for timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, F.P.Journe, and George Daniels, among others.
Rolex raises watch prices for 2020
While busy reveling and ringing in the new year, Rolex was discretely changing its price tags, writes gearpartol.com. Most watches now cost a modest 3-6% more than previously, according to the USD prices listed on the Rolex website. For most models, this means several hundred dollars more. If, for instance, an aficionado wanted a 2019 GMT Master II “Batman” — and he was somehow special enough to be able to get one at MSRP retail price — he would have saved $450 by having bought it in December. The jump may feel slightly ironic to many since it’s almost impossible to buy steel Rolex sport watches at retail, anyway. Buyers have to get on long waiting lists and the watches often trade above MSRP on the secondary market almost immediately following their release.
The “Légion d’honneur” for Richard Mille
Richard Mille receives the highest honorary distinction in France. The boss and co-founder of the eponymous watch company based in Les Breuleux was raised to the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor by President Emmanuel Macron. He is indeed in the list of the newly promoted persons published on January 1, as indicated by several French daily newspapers. Richard Mille was born in 1951 in Draguignan. He has always been passionate about watchmaking and founded the brand that bears his name in 2001 with Dominique Guénat. His factory was established in the same year in Franches-Montagnes.
Hong Kong weighs on Swiss watchmaking
Swiss watch exports recorded a negative result in November, because of the sharp decline in Hong Kong, while the rest of the world remained broadly stable. At almost 2 billion Swiss francs, exports were down 3.5% compared with November 2018. Value increased by +2.0% over the first eleven months of the year. The fall was attributable to steel and precious metal watches. At the same time, the total number of items continued to decline in November (-355,000 items). Watches with an export price below 3,000 francs saw a double-digit decline in both value and the number of items (-11.5% and -17.6% respectively). Products priced over 3,000 francs remained stable in volume terms, with a slight increase in value (+2.0%). The various markets for Swiss watches covered the full spectrum of variations, from one extreme to the other. In terms of sharp falls, Hong Kong (-26.7%, following a -29.7% decline in October) had a significant impact on overall performance. The United Kingdom (-17.3%), France (-17.4%) and the United Arab Emirates (-27.8%) also pulled the figures down.
A total of $7.7 million for Christie’s December watches sales
Christie’s Important Watches and American Icons live auction totaled $6.2 million. Combined, both live and online sales achieved a total of $7.7 million. The top lot of the live sale was the highly-complicated and exceptional Patek Philippe reference 5016P, that sold for $471,000. Other notable results included an exceptionally rare Patek Philippe reference 3450, retailed by Tiffany & Co., which sold for $350,000, as well as an extremely fine and very rare stainless Rolex reference 6264, ”Musketeer Paul Newman”, that realized $200,000. The dedicated section of American Icons was 100% sold, which featured the paired lot of two pocket watches belonging to Ernest Hemingway and Charles C. Ritz, that sold for more than double the estimate achieving $43,750; the two Patek Philippe timepieces formerly belonging to the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, with the Ref. 3940 selling for $81,250 and the Ref. 3445 realizing $62,500.
Audemars Piguet Appoints Southeast Asia CEO
Luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet has appointed Stefanie Ng as CEO, Southeast Asia, including India and Australia, The Business Times reported. Ng is intimately familiar with the industry and luxury marketing in the region, having joined the company as a regional marketing manager in 2012, a role in which she was responsible for AP’s marketing-related activities across nine markets across Southeast Asia, with a focus on its retail business. Prior to that, she spent eight years in various marketing appointments. She takes over from Joshua King, who left AP in April after one-and-a-half years in the role.
Panerai’s new warranty program
The launch of Pam.Guard, an expansive care program developed to promote deep engagement with the Panerai’s world, is the brand’s latest project to expand and enhance customer experience. Participation in the program officially extends the international limited warranty for eligible watches up to eight years. Pam.Guard has debuted November 26, 2019. The result is a portal that offers an unprecedented connection to the brand. The first step to access the world of Pam.Guard to activate the international limited warranty limited extension is creating a personal profile using the intuitive, user-friendly interface found at panerai.com. Once a profile is active, users will be able to register their watches online. The Pam.Guard program is retroactive and customers owing a watch purchased over the last two years prior to the program launch can benefit from the Pam.Guard international limited warranty extension.
Richard Mille turn over near 1 billion
The watchmaker Richard Mille will end the year with growth in sales and volumes. The Maison is still planning to stop sales of its watches via retailers by the end of 2019. The consolidated turnover including Richard Mille boutiques is expected around 900 million francs for this year. As for volumes, they will settle at 4,900 this year, after 4,600 in 2018. Next year, the manufacture of Breuleux aims 5,200 units. The average price of a Richard Mille watch is currently at 180’000 francs while it was under 100’000 ten years ago. Regarding the evolution of the distribution network, Richard Mille confirmed its intention to end partnership with the thirty retailers still selling the brand. Richard Mille currently has 42 stores and targets 50. Some 200 employees work in shops and 170 in production at the Breuleux factory.
Baselworld 2020 without Seiko
Seiko has attended Baselworld every year since international brands were first invited in 1986. The company has built its annual program around Baselworld and, for 30 years, Baselworld has been the occasion of the international launch of the new Seiko, and more recently, Grand Seiko collections. The timing of Baselworld 2020 is considerably later than in previous years. The new date is too late for the launch of the Seiko collection and is particularly challenging for Grand Seiko for which the brand has a special program in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of its creation. As a result, Seiko has decided that its two brands will not be present at Baselworld in 2020. The Maison will hold regional and national events of its own for both Grand Seiko and Seiko at the earliest opportunity so that media representatives and retail partners can see the new collections and experience the latest developments in the Seiko and Grand Seiko worlds.