14 May 2024


By In General, Hype Market

Over the past weekend, the Watchype Magazine team had the opportunity to attend the spring auctions in Geneva, where we got hands-on experiences with multiple high-end watches. 
In this article, we outline the latest main market trends, not only through the auction results but also by discussing the interest observed in the room and from the many collectors who attended the auctions themselves. Let’s see if our predictions were right!

The interest in cartier is still rising

In the last year, we have witnessed a growing interest in watches with smaller sizes, exploring increasingly diverse shapes that had previously appealed to a relatively narrow niche of enthusiasts.
In this specific segment, Cartier appears unmatched, especially for vintage timepieces, and the results of these auctions have confirmed this dominance. The nine Cartier lots auctioned by Phillips far exceeded expectations, often surpassing the highest estimates provided by the auction house. For instance, lot 50, a stunning Cintreè from Ben Clymer’s collection, has been sold for nearly 200.000 CHF including a 27% auction commission. The rarity of its dark blue dial, an unusual color, likely makes this piece unique.

Lot 50 from Phillips auction - Cartier Tank Cintrée from 1970
Lot 50 – Cartier Tank Cintrée – Photo courtesy of Phillips

When discussing Cartier’s designs, the Cartier Crash is always in the spotlight and it has recently regained popularity, attracting significant interest from collectors who were not engaged with the brand previously. Indeed, the Lot 101, distinguished by its unique salmon dial, reached a sale price of 300.000 CHF, greatly exceeding its initial estimate of 40.000-80.000 CHF.

Lot 101 from Phillip's auction, Cartier crash in white gold with salmon dial
Lot 101 from Phillip’s auction – Cartier Crash

Furthermore, during the auction we observed that these small-diameter watches are beginning to be appreciated not only by European and Asian collectors but also by Americans, who have traditionally favored larger sizes.

Is selling a modern Rolex still a good idea?

If selling high-value watches at auction is often the wisest choice that allows collectors to maximize their gains, the same cannot be said for modern watches, especially Rolex watches. The margins that second-hand dealers operate within the sale of modern Rolex timepieces are often lower than auction commissions, which exceed 25% plus a variable percentage of VAT; therefore, for sellers, it is often preferable to rely on these dealers instead.

As evidence, we can mention some lots from the Antiquorum auction:

  • Lot 183, a Submariner “Hulk” (ref. 116610LV) sold for 13.750 CHF
  • Lot 185, a GMT Master 2 “Sprite” (ref. 126720VTNR) also sold for 13.750 CHF
Lot 183 Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV from Antiquorum auction
Lot 183 Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV – Photo courtesy of Antiquorum
Lot 185 Rolex GMT Master II ref. 126720VTNR from Antiquorum auction
Lot 185 Rolex GMT Master II ref. 126720VTNR – Photo courtesy of Antiquorum

Both the above results are significantly below market prices, however, from the buyer’s perspective, this can represent an excellent opportunity to purchase a modern Rolex at a good price .

Rexhep Rexhepi leads the independent trend

As a final highlight, we wish to focus on Rexhep Rexhepi and the incredible results he achieved during these auctions, confirming the growing interest in his creations. 
Notably, the Chronomètre Antimagnétique, auctioned at Only Watch, started with an estimate of 100.000 – 150.000 CHF and soared to an astonishing final bid of 2.150.000 CHF. This watch stands out for its case designed to resist magnetic fields, and its sportier look compared to the usual pieces from the Akrivia Atelier, emphasized by a black and brown dial that referred to the designs of historic scientific chronometers.

Lot 37 from OnlyWatch auction - Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Antimagnétique sold for more than 2 millions CHF
Lot 37 – Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Antimagnétique – Photo courtesy of OnlyWatch

Further confirming the significant interest surrounding the Geneva-based Atelier, another stunning piece achieved a strong result during the auctions. We are talking about the Chronomètre Contemporain, which was produced in 2019 in a limited series of 25 pieces and results to be an important timepiece for the brand since it was one of the first watches that helped the brand to gain international interest. This specific watch was auctioned by Phillips and achieved the remarkable results of 1.100.000 CHF, greatly exceeding previous estimates.

Lot 58 from Phillips auction - Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain
Lot 58 – Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain – Photo courtesy of Phillips

Given the masterpieces created by Akrivia in recent years and the success it is achieving, we are confident that it will continue to establish itself as one of the most successful independent watchmakers.

Written by Tiziano Patti

Born in 2002, I’m a young watch collector and enthusiast always looking to add new pieces to my collection.