Christie's hosted its Important Watches sale last week that featured the Patek Philippe Reference 1518 made for King Farouk of Egypt in 1944. The personalised timepiece was one of Patek’s first perpetual chronograph watches ever made and is still one of only 281 examples created.
King Farouk's Patek Philippe Reference 1518
It was commissioned by the king himself, who was born in 1920 and became the tenth ruler of Egypt in 1936. The reverse of the timepiece is engraved with a crowned “F” on the reverse, the letter his father believed gave good fortune and the reason why he was named Farouk. The F’s crown is topped by a star and half-moon, which featured on the Egyptian flag at the time.
The reverse of the watch features an engraved crowned “F”
The timepiece attracted plenty of interest in the saleroom with potential collectors bidding for nearly five minutes before it sold for US $912,500 to a lucky phone buyer. The rest of the sale’s timepieces were also much sought after and reached a collective total of Dhs 26.25million.
King Farouk of Egypt (1920-1965)
Christie’s watch specialist Remy Julia explains, “This time around we offered the watch to a new generation of collectors in Dubai, where for the past four years the vintage watch auction market, in terms of revenue, has doubled every 12 months.”
So what lies behind such increased regional enthusiasm for vintage watches? “It is about the quest for rarity,” explains John Reardon, Christie’s International Head of Watches. “The forces of supply and demand are bringing vintage watches to previously unimaginable heights, and collectors in Dubai aren’t afraid to chase the most desirable watches with a bit of aggression.”