Having just completed The New York Watch Auction: X, a ‘white-glove’ sale in which all 149 lots we offered were sold, it’s hard to believe we’ve now completed ten auctions in New York since 2017.

Following the sale of more than 1,300 collectors’ timepieces across these auctions, please join me as I walk down memory lane and share a personal highlight from each…

Winning Icons

October 2017

Rolex Ref. 6239

The team worked hard to come up with an appropriate sale title for the auction that not only helped launch Phillips’ Watches auctions in the Americas, but also would go down in history as one of the most important watch auctions of all time.

Inspired by the 1969 movie, Winning, in which Paul Newman’s love of motorsport would begin, it was the perfect title for the selection of 50 iconic watches chosen for the sale – led by none other than Paul Newman’s personal Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona.

Achieving a result that exceeded all expectations, its $17.8m ‘all-in’ price still holds the record for the highest price ever achieved for a vintage wristwatch sold at auction.

It was a true highlight of my career, and one of the most thrilling experiences I had the great privilege of being a part of.



December 2018

Rolex Ref. 6538

For our second New York auction, Phillips for the first time partnered with two men’s style powerhouses, Mr Porter and The Rake.

We offered 120 collectors’ watches categorised into 12 noteworthy moments of a man’s life, where each watch was paired with timelessly styled outfits selected by our partners.

My personal highlight was an extremely well-preserved Rolex ‘Big Crown’ Submariner reference 6538. Complete with its original box, guarantee, and chronometer certificate, and after tremendous efforts to convince the owner to consign it with us, it was one of the finest vintage Rolex Submariners we’ve ever offered.


Game Changers

December 2019

Patek Philippe Ref. 2499

Having secured some incredibly important watches for this sale, we quickly realised the phrase ‘game changers’ was the perfect theme for the collection of watches we were fortunate to assemble.

They included watches owned by extraordinary people who were game changers in their fields, watches that have changed the course of watchmaking, or ‘outlier’ watches that stood out for their aesthetics, condition, and rarity.

While Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master worn in Apocalypse Now that was consigned by his daughter certainly made headlines around the world, I was especially excited by the Patek Philippe reference 2499 that changed known scholarship on this historic reference. A true game changer!

It was the only known reference 2499, cased by Emile Vichet SA, to appear with round pushers originally delivered by the factory. It was an incredible new discovery that changed the community’s understanding of the evolution of the 2499.

Until its appearance, the Vichet 2499s were all believed to have been exclusively made with square pushers. Sold in 1955, in-depth research, material analysis, and microscopic visualisations in our laboratory in Geneva confirmed that the case was manufactured at its inception to use round chronograph pushers. Consequently, this watch can be considered a very unusual transitional model that was possibly the very first 2499 to be fitted with round pushers.


Racing Pulse

December 2020

Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona reference 6239
Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona reference 6239

Our final auction of 2020, this sale included an epic collection of watches, but the watch that got my heart racing above all others was without a doubt Paul Newman’s own Rolex ‘Big Red’ Daytona ref. 6263.

Gifted to him by his wife, Joanne Woodward in 1983, this watch replaced the world-famous Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona reference 6239 we sold in 2017. Consigned to Phillips by their daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund, it was worn by Paul Newman for more than two decades and featured the endearing engraving, ‘Drive slowly Joanne’. After a fierce bidding battle, it achieved an incredible result of $5,475,000 against a starting bid of $1,000,000.


The 2021 New York Watch Auction

December 2021

George Daniels’ Edward Hornby Tourbillon Pocket Watch

Our first two-day auction in New York – where 165 lots were offered over the course of two sessions – included an exquisite pocket watch, handmade by George Daniels. Widely considered the greatest watchmaker of the 20th century, Daniels’ Edward Hornby Tourbillon Pocket Watch was the fourth of just 24 pocket watches he made over the course of his lifetime.

Measuring over 62mm in diameter, it is a tour de force in watchmaking. Every part was created by hand with the exception of the balance spring and crystal, and was masterfully finished to a degree rarely seen in any other timepiece.

Combining a retrograding hours, tourbillon, and spring-detent chronometer escapement, and accompanied with its original box, chain, winding key, and letter from George Daniels, it achieved $1,663,500, well above its estimate range of $600,000 to $1,200,000.


The New York Watch Auction: SIX

June 2022

Rolex ‘Paul Newman Lemon’ Daytona reference 6264
Rolex ‘Paul Newman Lemon’ Daytona reference 6264

This was our very first Spring auction in New York, and in it, we featured many exceptional watches sourced from original owners in North and South America. A personal favourite was a Rolex ‘Paul Newman Lemon’ Daytona reference 6264.

Consigned by a prominent Mexican family, we nicknamed it ‘El Limoncito’, a Spanish-language play on the word lemon and a nod to the origins of the family who owned it since its production in 1969.

Hardly ever worn by its original owner, it was preserved in extraordinary condition and fitted with a special ‘jubilee’ bracelet stamped ‘Hecho in Mexico’ – fabricated in Mexico under the specifications of Rolex.

Against an estimate of $600,000 to $1,200,000, it achieved $2,087,000 – a world record for the model.


The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

December 2022

Patek Philippe reference 2499
Patek Philippe reference 2499

We closed out the auction year with a diverse sale that included another superb Patek Philippe reference 2499 – the only known example featuring the American retailer signature, Howes.

Not seen on the market in more than two decades, it was treasured as part of an American collection remaining unworn since. The result of a months-long pursuit, I was thrilled to be on the phone with the important collector who won it. A world-class connoisseur seeking top quality and extremely well-preserved timepieces, he was convinced of its quality after examining the watch in person during our exhibition prior to the auction.


The New York Watch Auction: EIGHT

June 2023

Roger Smith Pocket Watch Number 2
Roger Smith Pocket Watch Number 2

Right at our catalogue deadline, I received a message from a friend seeking assistance in selling an important pocket watch. Once I received the image of the watch, I knew exactly how important it was and immediately booked a flight to visit the owner as soon as possible.

A truly unique timepiece that can be considered the cornerstone of 21st-century British watchmaking: Roger Smith’s Pocket Watch Number 2.

Measuring an impressive 66.5mm in diameter, this watch helped convince George Daniels to make Smith his only apprentice; anointing him to continue Daniels’ legacy beyond his lifetime.

The painstaking, five year-long creation of Roger Smith Pocket Watch Number 2 is a testament to one man’s dedication, focus, and perseverance. Without the completion of this watch and its acceptance by Daniels, there very likely would be no Roger Smith brand today.

We were honoured to tell the watch’s story in our marketing campaigns leading up to the auction, and its result was extraordinary. Achieving $4,900,000, it broke the world record for the highest price ever achieved for a British timepiece.


The New York Watch Auction: NINE

December 2023

Patek Philippe ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph in 18 karat pink gold
Patek Philippe ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph in 18 karat pink gold

The top lot of this auction was a showstopper made in 1950 – a Patek Philippe ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph in 18 karat pink gold.

The model was introduced in 1941, during the turmoil of World War II, and it would forever set Patek Philippe apart from competing brands. So ahead of its time was its design, Patek Philippe continues to use its timeless aesthetic as the foundation for a long line of successful and highly sought-after complicated wristwatches, including the references 2499, 3970, 5970, and even today’s 5270.

No other brand would introduce a similar model until 1985. Only approximately 281 examples of the 1518 were produced, with the vast majority made in yellow gold – making pink gold examples extremely rare and sought after. This example we offered was last sold at auction in 2000, and it came to us in the identical, awe-inspiring state of preservation having been owned by one of the world’s most important collectors of vintage Patek Philippe watches.

The case was hardly ever worn and never subject to any type of restoration, as was its stunning silver dial. Its remarkable result of $1,814,000 was well-deserved.


The New York Watch Auction: TEN

June 2024

Philippe Dufour Duality

Having first met the owner of the top lot of this auction in 2017, I was truly honoured and thrilled to offer the only known Philippe Dufour Duality with two dial and hand sets.

Launched in 1996, the Duality was a monumental achievement in wristwatch history: it was the world’s first wristwatch incorporating a double escapement. Dufour had planned on making 25 Duality timepieces, however, due to the complexity of making, assembling, and adjusting the movement, he only made nine.

So important was its launch that it would inspire François-Paul Journe to revisit his own dual-escapement design – the Resonance, which he first attempted years earlier within a pocket watch.

Four years after the Duality’s introduction, Journe would introduce the world’s first Resonance wristwatch. Very likely the only one in existence to feature a second, lacquered dial with Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands, this example, in 18K white gold and numbered 03, achieved $2,056,500.