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World record prices for 2012 Watch Auction

Vacheron Constantin Watch in the top bids at auction

As the economy slows to a low rumble, it seems that it hasn’t hurt the luxury watch market one bit. In fact, world record prices are being seen at every auction. In a recent auction at Christie’s in Geneva, the total of all bids topped $29 million.

Vacheron Constantin Scarab Watch

Vacheron Constantin Scarab Watch

In an auction that lists like the who’s who of major watch brands, Patek Philippe garnered the highest bids of over $2 million. Some of the other standouts included a 1953 Rolex Neptune, and an amazing Vacheron Constantin pendant watch.

Standouts included the 1953 Rolex Neptune, which sold for about $670,000 or five times its estimate, as well as a 1945 Rolex and a 1910 Vacheron Constantin scarab-form pendant watch. The top lot of the sale was a rare pink-gold calendar wristwatch with moon phases,manufactured in 1968 by Patek Philippe: It went for more than $2,338,000 and set a world record price for this reference at auction.

So is it still a good time to buy watches for their investment value? When is it not? But there are a few concerns that affect the future prices of watches made today. Mainly due to the fact that watches are much more mass produced than their older, rarer siblings. If you are looking to buy the next million dollar watch, you might be better served picking limited edition watches.

Another thing to note is the provenance of your watches. Some of the watches fetch the highest prices at auction come with all the original packaging and notations:

When found still with the original package (inner and outer boxes, certificate of origin, COSC Certificate [Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute], tags and booklets), they are very expensive but extremely sought after by collectors worldwide.

So when buying a luxury watch as an investment, it is very important to not only keep track of every aspect of the purchase, it is also vital to do your homework. Just because one classic model cashes in at auction, doesn’t mean the 2012 model will inspire the same desire years from now. Auction prices for luxury watches change with the whims of the market.

Best advice? Pick something you find irresistible. Chances are, someone will feel the same palpitations in a few decades too!

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