When Ben first discovered that Heritage Auctions would be selling a fresh-to-market, platinum, Tiffany-signed Patek Philippe ref. 2526 in incredible condition with a matching platinum bracelet, he called it “one of the true fresh-to-market finds of the past few years.” It turns out the guy knows what he’s talking about. The hammer just fell and the watch has sold for a whopping $642,500 after premiums, making it the most expensive ref. 2526 ever.
One of the most interesting things with this watch is that it sold through Heritage Auctions, which is a combination online/live auction house that had the watch listed and open for bidding for over a month. This result wasn’t due to some Geneva auction room hype train that just wouldn’t stop. In fact, when the live bidding opened at $300,000, it got all the way to hammer-up before the next bid came in at $350,000. Then things started to ramp up, with bids trading back and forth between the web and someone on the phone. It seemed to be a two-bidder competition. After just a few minutes it hammered at $525,000, reaching the final price of $642,500 after the premiums were calculated.
The watch itself is truly insane and worthy of a crazy price to match. The combination of the metal, the bracelet, and that rich, creamy enamel dial with the extra little stamp up top is tantalizing. Few watches produce the kind of HODINKEE office buzz that this one did. I’m just disappointed that one of my co-workers wasn’t the winning bidder; I’d have killed for a wristshot.
In case you were wondering, the next most expensive 2526 sold publicly is this one, which is another probably unique example, with a white gold case and bracelet, a black lacquer dial, and diamond hour markers. It commanded a price of CHF 339,750 at Christie’s back in May 2013. Not far behind that one was a similar watch that sold at Sotheby’s in December 2017 for $325,000, this one featuring a white gold case and bracelet, a silvered dial with a Serpico y Laino signature, and a mix of baton and diamond hour markers. Now the only question is this: What will the next mega 2526 look like?