At the closing spring auction of Christie’s New York , Cartier Crash-es through the estimate ceiling to outshine Andy Warhol..Thor Svaboe
The Christie’s New York auction ended yesterday with their final event of the spring season representing an important touchstone for the market. The predicted top lot, Andy Warhol’s chic Patek Philippe Calatrava surprisingly didn’t turn out to be the star of the show with Cartier instead making the headlines with their quirky Crash.
While the Cartier was one of the favoured lots, it managed to outshine even Warhol’s Patek for desirability, with bidding reaching fever pitch (well, as much as that can be measured in an online auction…).
Cartier Crash in 18K pink gold, ref. 1544251
Blazing hot on the heels of Nick Kenyon’s stories last week on the vintage Cartier boom and the trending of this particular model, a Crash was also the undisputed star of this New York auction. While we wouldn’t pretend to be the oracle of market trends, there is a point to be made here, and that is quite simple.
The market is becoming more savvy and seems to have realised that the quirkier references might actually be a lot more fun for a growing collection than a vintage tool watch in scratched steel. With an estimate of $40,000 – $60,000, the Crash took off like a rocket, ending at more than double at $137,500USD.
Here are the other four top lots of the auction based on how they beat estimates and their pure value at the gavel.
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar in platinum with diamonds, ref. 3990EP
Top value for the final spring auction of Christie’s went to Patek, and a delightful way for someone (like me in a different life) to make their double-dare debut of wearing both vintage and diamonds. This ref. 3990EP from Patek is simply stunning, notably through the rare choice of a black dial for a QP. It has every reason to be the top lot at this Christie’s auction, in a platinum case with a beautifully set baguette diamond bezel. With its small, deep black dial it might not be the most legible perpetual calendar, but this 1994 model with its diamond indices has ticked all my boxes, and deservedly sailed over its low $150,000 USD estimate to $200,000 USD at the gavel.
Andy Warhol’s Patek Philippe Calatrava ref.570
This wasn’t the second highest in terms of value, but surpassed all estimates. Perhaps this wasn’t so surprising given that provenance is always a strong ticket and the minimalist charms of a classic 18K Calatrava always in demand whether or not it’s owned by the Pop of pop artists. It seriously smashed its $45-$95,000USD estimate (and came quite close to my predicted $180K), selling for $150,000 USD, a solid 58% over its high estimate. I’d call that a success for Warhol’s legacy, especially considering his rather large watch collection, and a rising appreciation for one of the cleanest designs in the vast Patek Philippe back catalogue.
Rolex Triple Calendar Chronograph in steel, ref. 6036
This patinated pre-Daytona chronograph was quietly biding its time, before catching the interest of a couple of high bidders late in the day, easily surpassing its $120,000 USD outer estimate to sell for a substantial $187,500 USD – that final $500 a mark of a bidder’s fight to the end.
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 5970J
The third highest lot in value terms is this 2008 Patek Philippe in 18K yellow gold that ended up between its low and high estimate for a decent $140,000 USD. This 40mm smooth-cased ref. 5970J is a perfect example of late 2000s Patek craftsmanship with the high complexity of a perpetual calendar, moon phase and chronograph. A purist’s yellow gold delight, it easily beat the high estimate of $150,000 USD to sell for a strong $175,000 USD
Following these results, the market looks to be in a good place with the autumn auction season promising to be just be as exciting and unpredictable for the established brands. If Cartier and the large independents like F.P Journe continue their upwards trajectory, steel sports watches might just lose a bit of their scratched-up lustre..
For a full overview of all lots sold, have a look through the Christie’s catalogue here