The year that just a few days ago ended was an unforgettable one for the Phillips auction house, as the echoes of the staggering totals netted in 2019 are still vast. The figures come straight from the famous London-based house, which managed to beat the record figure of an impressive 111 million U.S. dollars in the past twelve months.

But the most important detail is that this total is also arrived at with a dozen watches sold for more than US$1 million per individual item (five of which were Rolex), by buyers from all over the world, from New York to Hong Kong, for a total that specifically comes courtesy of the annual report produced by Phillips itself in association with Bacs & Russo, and which indicates how much value watches now carry in auction houses.

Going further into this interesting analysis, Phillips has been very good at diversifying its offering choices for its clientele, particularly by opening up to new product and industry channels as opposed to traditional ones. In this way it has been able to attract new, potential bidders such as independent watchmakers.

One data point confirms this: online bidding entries increased by 80 percent in 2018, with participants from as many as 75 different countries as well as connected. Moreover, the same group of bidders populated as much as 87 percent of the total available lots auctioned with items. Finally, let's add that the sale rate of these items touched the excellent rate of 96% to understand how well Phillips is working in this area and that the growth was the result of the right choice.

All thanks to thedigital bidding that, having been so widely successful, led to the setting of another record: the highest price paid for a watch during an online auction. We are talking about the Patek Philippe Ref.2499 in gold branded "Tricks," which was beaten for as much as 1.6 million U.S. dollars!

Eloquent at this point are the statements of Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo in a joint statement to Forbes:


"In a changing world, we continue to strive to be innovators while remaining committed to offering high-quality watches as well as excellent customer service within the ever-changing landscape of fine watch collecting. We are inspired by the ways in which watch enthusiasts manage their collections while also defending the interests of independent watchmakers."

Be warned, however: this new commitment of Phillips to digital does not diminish its commitment and efforts to attract new clients in the traditional way. In the meantime, Phillips Perpetual, a dedicated boutique in the auction house's London headquarters, has been kicked off, a real first for the company with an accompanying web platform attached. The idea is significant: to provide a venue for exclusive events while simultaneously offering buyers and customers a welcoming and safe place to examine merchandise.

We appraise and buy your watch

The most exclusive catalog of vintage watches

Visit Now

The Rome boutique

Via della Croce, 13