Most valuable watch auction in the Middle East: $15 million worth of timepieces coming to Dubai

The online-only Christie's auction includes the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon

This month's Watches Online: Dubai Edit by Christie's is set to be the largest and most valuable watch auction to be organised in the Middle East. The online sale, which is open for bidding between this Wednesday and April 9, will offer nearly 200 timepieces, for a total estimate of between $9 million and $15m.

While the auction house provides all information – about the models and their condition – in a handy digital catalogue, the watches can also be previewed by appointment only until April 8 at the Christie’s showroom in DIFC Gate Village, Building 5.

The auction house says the lots include "the most in-demand references today, true rarities from Patek Philippe, a selection of highly coveted Rolex references, and prestigious timepieces from independent watchmakers". Remy Julia, chief watch specialist at Christie's Dubai, adds: "This auction is the perfect barometer for current collector demand, be it in the contemporary or vintage watch space. It brings together exceptional exemplars of watchmaking, in sync with the passion of discerning collectors in the Middle East."

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon

Of these, the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref 5002 in platinum is expected to set a record at auction, estimated to sell for up to $1.8m. Along with being the first double-faced wristwatch ever produced by the 182-year-old luxury watchmaker from Geneva, this is also one of most complicated watches – it houses 12 of the rarest complications, including a tourbillon and minute repeater.

Other Pateks coming to Dubai include the limited-edition pink gold Ref 5029 minute repeater, only 10 pieces of which were made to commemorate the maison’s anniversary in 1997; the possibly unique Ref 3990P with a light grey dial; three grand complications from 1994; and two pieces set with baguette diamonds.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Jewellery watches at this auction also come courtesy of Audemars Piguet, which is offering an exotic set of six medium-sized Royal Oak timepieces; as well as a unique white gold, diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald-set brooch indicating three time zones – London, Makkah and Brunei.

Vintage Rolex

Vintage watch lovers can aim for the other big gun from Geneva, Rolex, which is offering four specimens that Christie's describes as "highest on the desirability index". Two of these are further listed as "extremely well-preserved" – the Rolex Dato Compax Ref 6036, produced circa 1952; and "in astonishing condition" – a rare Rolex Chronograph Ref 3525. A Rolex Submariner "Big Crown" and Rolex Sea-Dweller "Patent Pending" are some other timepieces up for grabs.

Invest in an F P Journe

Collectors looking to turn a tidy profit without breaking the bank can consider investing in independent watchmaker F P Journe, many timepieces of which have seen a sharp rise in value over the past 12 months – astounding, given the year we've had. The Christie's team have curated a selection of seven timepieces from the Swiss brand, including three from before 2004. These are recognisable by their rhodium-plated brass movements made from platinum, and have an estimated starting price of $100,000.

Regional references

Finally, the auction has a few regionally relevant specimens, including vintage Rolex Day-Date models with "Hindi" (or Eastern Arabic) numerals; Rolexes featuring the crests of royalty and armed forces; an MB&F LM1 MAD Dubai limited edition; and a Richard Mille RM 010 MBZ Abu Dhabi Grand Prix edition.