By Brecken Branstrator
These four Patek Philippe watches from the private collection of Jean-Claude Biver went for $8.8 million total Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction XI over the weekend, going for well above the collection’s pre-sale high estimate of $7 million.
Geneva—Live watch auctions resumed this week after coronavirus-related postponements, and the inaugural event from Phillips was a white-glove event.

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo held its “Geneva Watch Auction XI” from June 27 to 28, offering 210 collector watches.

The event marked the first watch live auction this year since the COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted around the world, and demand was there along with the in-person bidders.

It was 100 percent sold and totaled $31.7 million, with bidders from 70 countries participating, including more than 2,000 online bidders, which Phillips called “unprecedented.”

Phillips said it exceeded its May 2019 watch auction sale total by 20 percent.

Four Patek Philippe watches from industry veteran Jean-Claude Biver’s private collection highlighted the sale, selling for a total of approximately $8.8 million, compared with a pre-sale estimate of between $3.5 million and $7 million.

Two of these appeared in the sale’s top 10, a list dominated by Patek Philippe watches, including the top lot of the event.

Leading the sale was a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518, one of only 12 editions of this rare model, featuring a perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moonphases.

The watch ignited a four-minute session of bidding before selling for $3.6 million, almost tripling its low estimate.

Following that was a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 second series in yellow gold—also from Biver—that went for $2.7 million, and a Patek Philippe Ref. 1579, one of only three of the chronographs in platinum with blue hard enamel graphics and spider lugs, which garnered $2 million in Geneva.

See: The Top 5 Lots of the Sale

Also on the auction block was a previously unknown pink gold open face world time Patek Philippe pocket watch Ref. 605 HU with a cloisonné enamel dial depicting a map of Europe, Asia and Africa, which sold for $1.2 million.

Two F.P. Journe “Souscription” models sold for a total of $2.5 million, compared with a pre-sale high estimate of $485,700. The Tourbillon Souverain sold for approximately $1.5 million, almost 10 times its pre-sale low estimate, and the platinum and pink gold Resonance sold for $1.1 million (these numbers have been rounded).

The Independents’ Atelier, dedicated to independent watchmakers, also sold 100 percent by lot.

Highlights included the Opus 3 Vianney Halter for Harry Winston in platinum, which went for $178,200, and a unique Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8 with enamel and engraved caseback in white gold that sold for $132,000.

For full watch auction results, visit

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