Christie's auction of Important Watches including The Millennium Collection yesterday in Hong Kong offered collectors and investors the chance to get their hands (or wrists) on 518 examples of the most fine and rare vintage watches money can buy.
In total, the sale achieved HK$107,935,000 (US$13.85m), and there was no doubt about the type of watches most in demand.
All three of the top lots had platinum cases, one being a 2006 made perpetual calendar Jaeger-LeCoultre, one of just 75 made, which sold for an impressive HK$1.8m (US$234,000). But it was outclassed by two timepieces of a different brand.
A Patek Philippe, Ref 3939HP is an extremely rare, possibly even unique version of the brand, with custom-made Breguet numerals on a white enamel dial. The piece is a minute repeater (offering a unique chime signalling the time to the minute at the touch of a button) made in 2005.
The 28 jewel manually wound piece with one minute tourbillon sold towards the top end of its HK$2.35m-HK$4m guide price at HK$3.74m (US$480,000).
As expected however, the top lot was another manually wound platinum Patek: the double-dialled 2007 Sky Moon Tourbillon.
The obverse dial features Calatrava cross logos, white gold Roman numerals, subdials for day, month, leap year and ages of the moon and a retrograde date display in red enamel.
The reverse presents a silvered 24-hour scale and Arabic numerals for sidereal time, with an ellipse framing the visible sky and a planisphere of the Northern Hemisphere rotating counterclockwise above the dial.
The piece left the stage high up its estimate of HK$6.5m-10m (US$838,000-1.28m) at HK$8,660,000 (US$1.12m) to a round of applause in the world's newest major marketplace for fine watches.