Auction house Sotheby’s will hold its first-ever watch auction in the Middle East later this month.
The sale, to take place in Sotheby’s Dubai premises on November 19 has been organised as demand for rare vintage and modern pieces in the region is at an all-time high, the company said in a statement.
Watch collecting has a centuries-long tradition in the Middle East, from the richly-enamelled pocket watches prized by the Ottoman Empire’s elites in the 18th and 19th centuries to the masterpieces of horology and bespoke timepieces commissioned by Middle Eastern collectors in the 20th century.
Sotheby's said the sale has been carefully curated to feature a rich selection of timepieces from the world’s most renowned brands including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin.
Highly sought-after by savvy collectors around the world, independent watchmakers, such as Richard Mille, Kari Voutilainen, and MB&F and HD3 also figure prominently, it added.
Sam Hines, global head of Sotheby’s Watches, said: “The horology market in the Middle East is evolving at a fast pace. The savviness coming from collectors in the region is remarkable: beyond the pure aesthetics, they are eager to learn about everything, from the technical and historical aspects to the individual stories behind each watch.
"This is fascinating for us and while we regularly engage with Middle Eastern clients in our international watch sales, this new sale provides us with an exciting opportunity to share our passion with collectors in the region and explain the advantages of buying a watch at auction.”
In recent years, prices for high-end vintage timepieces have achieved unprecedented levels, especially for hard-to-find pieces by brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe.
Among such watches in the sale is a fresh-to-the market Rolex Daytona reference 6263 from circa 1973 which could sell for about $55,000.
Modern complicated wristwatches also feature strongly in the sale. Among them is a unique Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication from 2002 which has never been offered at auction before and is expected to sell for up to $600,000.
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