At the very high end of luxury watches, it is not terribly uncommon to see watches selling for more than half-a-million to $1 million dollars. However, to witness a picture of a watch selling for upwards of $700,000 is a true rarity. That is exactly what happened, though, at yesterday’s Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction, the second iteration of the “Gerald Genta: Icon of Time” sale. Honestly, this price tag is just not a shock. Gerald Genta was the leading luxury watch designer of modern times, having created many famous watches, including the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus (the brand’s first-ever sport watch) that is still one of the most sought-after watches today.
The artwork (Lot 1) that sold at Sotheby’s was the original hand-painted design by Gerald Genta of the Patek Philippe Nautilus that went for $727,000. A bidding battle took place between 10 bidders from around the world before the picture was sold to a private collector in Asia. (In fact the auction attracted bidders from five continents.) Also performing well at the Hong Kong auction was a prototype design of the Nautilus that showed it on strap instead of a bracelet and that was never seen before the auction. That image, Lot 2, sold for $121,000.
The Hong Kong auction was the second in the Gerald Genta: Icon of Time series of auctions, which will witness 100 original designs from Genta. Each artwork is auctioned with a unique NFT. The first sale took place in February in Geneva, where the original design artwork by Genta for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak sold for $610,586.
The next Gerald Genta auction series will take place at Sotheby’s Important Watches sale in Geneva on May 10. Up for sale then: Gerald Genta’s personally owned Royal Oak and four oil paintings. The last and final sale will happen in New York in June with Genta’s famed Disney watches being auctioned. These auctions may prove to be one of the last options to own a true piece of watchmaking history by Genta.