Sign up for our newsletter!
Never miss an auction again
Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega and more Watches
From luxury modern wristwatches, painstakingly assembled by precise Swiss artisans, to classic 19th century pocket watches adorning the waistcoats of the most well-dressed gentlemen.
Stay up to date with regular news on Watches
The finest items from the shop
"Since the development of the watch, manufacturers have consistently created milestones with their pioneering innovations, and history is constantly being written."
Daniele Pugliese, Head of Watches Department
The leading online auction house for art and luxury collectibles
About the Watches Department
Our watch auctions include a versatile range of collectors’ pieces and luxury watches for the beginner, all the way through to specialist auctions in which only a single brand like Rolex or Patek Philippe will be featured. The Watches department has many years of experience in the field of luxury and vintage watches. The main task of the department is the valuation and acquisition of items which are suitable for our auctions. For this purpose, our experts travel extensively, both at home and abroad, to regularly valuate a watch or a whole collection.
The Right Calibre
Today's classic watches are often associated with pioneering events and figures from history. In 1904, the aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont let his friend Louis Cartier customize a watch for him, worn not in the pocket – as was customary – but rather on the wrist. Thus, the Cartier Santos was born, and remains to this day a popular classic from the French jeweler, amongst both men and women alike.
The Rolex Oyster also represents a boundary-crossing endeavor, being the watch worn by the Briton Mercedes Gleitze when she swam across the English Channel. Watches are connected to stories, to heroes who have pushed their limits and overcome adversity. Their creators have connected function, design and materials of the highest quality, creating icons.
Watch as luxury accessory
Nothing sets a gentleman apart like a good wristwatch. Although jewelry is not as commonly worn by men as by women, watches are still a popular adornment for men, and have been for a number of years. However, wristwatches were in fact almost exclusively worn by women until the early 20th century, gentlemen preferring pocket watches.
The top names in watchmaking are some of the most famous and coveted luxury brands in the world. They evoke images of affluence, opulence and leisure. Names like Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe fill the mind with visions of gold, of sweeping second hands and whirring tourbillons.
Watches were developed from spring-powered clocks, first appearing in the 15th century. Nuremberg clockmaker Peter Henlein is often credited as the inventor of the watch. His "clock-watches" were the first timepieces to be worn on the body, ornamental timepieces which were worn as pendants. They began to be widely worn in pockets from the 17th century onwards.
The first wristwatches were small watches on bracelets intended for ladies, and date to the late 18th century. They were made from precious metals, often with elaborate jewelling and enameling. Wristwatches first began to be worn by military men towards the end of the 19th century. At first, these early models were standard pocket-watches fitted to a leather strap but, by the early 20th century, manufacturers began producing purpose-built wristwatches.
A Swiss Tale
The tale of luxury watches is firmly centered on Switzerland. In 1851, Patek Philippe was founded in Geneva, and is today considered by many experts and aficionados to be one of the most prestigious watch brands. In 2013, a Patek Philippe wristwatch became the most expensive to be sold online at auction, through Auctionata in Berlin, for 471,000 Euro (US$611,000).
Founded in 1905, Rolex is perhaps the most well-known luxury watch brand, and is ranked no.72 on Forbes’ 2014 list of the world’s most powerful global brands. Rolex wristwatches are some of the most iconic timepieces created in the past century, including the first waterproof wristwatch, and are considered by many to be the ultimate status symbol.
Beginning as a brand of La Generale Watch Co., due to its huge success Omega spun off as its own company and the Omega Watch Co. was officially founded in 1903. Omega watches have a reputation for precision and innovation, and the "Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph" was the first watch on the Moon, worn by Buzz Aldrin.
Watches no longer count off only hours, minutes and seconds. Thanks to extraordinary feats of precision engineering, moon phase, or lunar phase, watches like the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon also depict the phase of the moon at any given time.