The Latest Blockbuster Patek Philippe Auction Is Not One, But 128 Watches

Christie's is calling the Kairos Collection the finest contemporary series "ever to appear at auction"

Three Patek Philippe watches that are part of the Kairos Collection that will be sold by Christie's in 2022, including the Ref. 5531R-012 World Time Minute Repeater
The Ref. 5531R-012 World Time Minute Repeater (left) is the highest valued of the lot.

In the watch world, newsworthy Patek Philippe auctions are not exactly rare. The heralded Swiss watchmaker seems to be garnering as much attention with its past models as it is with its modern icons, from those with celebrity provenance to the blockbuster one-offs that fill out the top 10 list of the most expensive timepieces ever sold.

The latest blockbuster Patek auction, however, is not merely one watch that will go to some unnamed billionaire. No, auction house Christie’s has well and truly upped the ante by announcing the sale of 128 watches that make up what is being called the the Kairos Collection, “formed by a private collector of the highest order with a most discerning eye for excellence and the ability to acquire the rarest of items, who has actively collected watches for over 35 years,” as noted in a press release.

“Over the past decades, exceptional collections have come to auction that present masterworks from top manufactures, represent a range of time periods, and include watches in various states of condition,” the auction house wrote on its website. “Yet, rarely do collections arise with the extreme focus on contemporary time period, manufacture, pristine condition, and prestigious provenance presented in this private collection.”

A few standouts from the collection include the Ref. 5531R-012 World Time Minute Repeater, a 2017 model depicting Lake Geneva’s Lavaux vineyards on ceramic in the center of the dial, which is expected to sell for up to $2 million; the Ref. 5740/1G-001, not only the first Grand Complication among the coveted Nautilus collection, but one that features a signed Tiffany & Co. dial — which feels more valuable today considering recent developments — and is expected to sell for up to $400,000; and the Ref. 5950/1A-010, a split-seconds model from 2014 that was limited to 10 pieces, which is expected to sell for up to $500,000.

According to Christie’s, what makes these watches even more enticing — beyond  the name and the beauty and the engineering and all that — is the condition. “Each watch was stored in a protective clear plastic clamshell shaped box in order to preserve its original condition,” they wrote. 

Do us a favor, if you take ownership of one (or more, or all!) of these watches, please don’t be like this anonymous seller. Please wear the watches, and don’t be overly precious about them. Sure, you could build up your own unblemished collection in order to offload it one day at a similar auction, but there are better outlets for your life’s work. 

If you’re interested in buying, or even simply seeing these watches in person, a selection of them will be going on tour to London, New York City, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong and San Francisco between April and June. The three auctions will take place in Geneva on May 9, Hong Kong on May 24 and NYC on June 8.

Read more about the Kairos Collection here.

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