Patek Philippe sets wristwatch world record

A rare stainless steel Patek Philippe ref 1518 has set a new world record for a wristwatch at auction.

The lot realised $11.1m in an auction at Phillips in Geneva, soaring past the previous record of $7.3m set by a Patek Philippe 5016 last year.

The stainless steel ref 1518 is among Patek Philippe's rarest watches

Ref 1518 is considered the apex of the company's output due to its timeless design and ingenious features.

Only 281 of these watches were ever produced, all between 1941 and 1955, and only four are known to have been made in stainless steel.

The four specimens have a near legendary reputation among collectors.

This was the first stainless steel example to appear at auction for many years.

While the history of this particular specimen is somewhat murky, it has been sold on a number of occasions - including for around $200,000 in 1995.

That means it has grown in value at a rate of 21% per annum over the intervening years.

Phillips stated before the sale: "We can, without exaggeration, state that the present lot is quite possibly one, if not the most beautiful and important stainless steel wristwatch ever made by Patek Philippe.

"The impressive size, the superb complications it integrates, the immaculate condition, and its ultimate rarity come together to make this a watch that will exceed the demands of even the most demanding scholars, connoisseurs, and collectors."

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