F.P. Journe “Only Watch” Split-Seconds Chronograph Sells for US$1.15m

An enormous number, but not, perhaps, a surprise (and a Journe in disguise went for less).

As we predicted the F.P. Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante Bleu was easily the second most valuable lot at Only Watch 2017, selling for SFr1.15m, or about US$1.15m (which we also predicted), with Francois-Paul Journe himself sitting in the front of the sale room, undoubtedly pleased.

Arguably the most unique watch in the sale – the dial, case and movement were never before put in any other wristwatch, in any variation – the split-seconds chronograph with a tantalum case is a bona fide piece unique. It had an estimate of just SFr200,000 to SFr400,000.

FP Journe Rattrapante Bleu Only Watch 1

But bidding was swift was rapidly jumped past that in big increments of SFr50,000 and SFr100,000.

FP Journe Rattrapante Bleu Only Watch 5

Like several other lots in the sale the tantalum chronograph went to the gentleman wielding paddle number one, who is reputed to have also purchased several other one-off F.P. Journe wristwatches at past charity auctions, including the tantalum Tourbillon Souverain Bleu and an unusual purple dial tourbillon.

Photo credit Montres Journe SA

The result for the Journe chronograph is nominally comparable to the recent US$915,000 for the Philippe Dufour Duality, though it’s arguable that the Only Watch result includes the typical charity auction premium where even watches from less eminent brands sell for eyebrow raising sums.

What was surprising was the modest SFr90,000 for the Barbier-Mueller Mosaique, made for a prominent Geneva watch collector by F.P. Journe.

Barbier Mueller Only Watch 2017 1

Barbier Mueller Only Watch 2017 3

Mr Journe himself pointed out that the semiprecious stone inlay on the dial and case was a nightmare to produce, and the planned series is not likely to be completed. This was arguably the best buy of the sale.


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Patek Philippe Ref. 5208T “Only Watch” Sells for US$6.2m

The titanium grand complication blows past its estimate.

The top lot at Only Watch 2017 was, predictably, the Patek Philippe ref. 5208T grand complication in titanium. Carrying an estimate of a piffling SFr900,000 to SFr1m, it sold for SFr6.2m, all fees included. That’s equivalent to US$6.2m, and just below the SFr7.3m price of the one-off stainless steel ref. 5016A the Geneva watchmaker put together for Only Watch two years ago.

Spirited bidding from several familiar room bidders from the Middle East, Europe and Asia helped carry the ref. 5208T to its final price, with the last two bidders tussling for the watch being Asian. Eventually the victor was the phone bidder represented by John Reardon, the head of Christie’s watch department.

Patek Philippe 5208T Only Watch 2

Already priced at just shy of a million dollars at retail for the ordinary platinum version, the ref. 5208 in titanium is unusually modern in style with its carbon-fibre inspired dial, but light in hand and pleasing to the ear; the titanium case makes a tremendous difference to its acoustics.

Patek Philippe 5208T Only Watch 8

With the beat-up Daytona “Paul Newman” once owned by Mr Newman himself having just sold for US$17.5m last month, the titanium Patek Philippe feels almost like a good buy.


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