Christie’s Holds 2 Sales Despite Cyberattack

AuctionsMay 16, 2024

Christie’s Holds 2 Sales Despite Cyberattack

Though its website has been down for a week, Christie’s proceeded with its jewelry and watch auctions on May 13-14, bringing in nearly $80 million.

202.18 carat fancy intense yellow diamond The Yellow Rose
The 202-carat colored diamond dubbed “The Yellow Rose” led Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale, with a buyer paying $6.7 million for the stone.
Geneva—Christie’s went ahead with two of its Geneva auctions, one for jewelry and one for watches, despite the fact that its website has been down since late last week following a cyberattack

“The Yellow Rose” diamond, pictured above, was the top lot in its “Magnificent Jewels” sale in Geneva. 

The 202.18-carat fancy intense yellow diamond sold for CHF 6.1 ($6.7 million), topping its pre-sale estimate of about CHF 4 million ($4.4 million).

It is the second highest price ever paid for a yellow stone weighing more than 200 carats at Christie’s, the auction house said.

The jewelry sale took place Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues and brought in CHF 49.2 million ($54.2 million) total. The auction was sold 97 percent by lot and 98 percent by value.

It was livestreamed on YouTube. 

Registered bidders were instructed to bid in real time on Christie’s Live, its livestreaming platform, accessible via a unique and secure link shared by the auction house’s bids team.

Though its website was unavailable during the livestream, Christie’s noted it saw “deep bidding from a full saleroom, on the phones, and online.” 

As of press time, the site was still down. Visitors are instead redirected to a temporary webpage with contact details and catalogs for upcoming auctions.

“There is nothing better as an auctioneer than a full and engaged sale room, and to achieve such strong results—97 percent by lot and 140 percent of the low estimate—is remarkable,” said Max Fawcett, Christie’s head of jewels for Europe. 

“The market for colored gemstones and signed jewelry is on fire and I could not think of a better way to start the 2024 season.” 

An emerald and diamond brooch belonging to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain sold for CHF 189,000 ($208,089), slightly above its high estimate of CHF 200,000 ($220,000).

Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain emerald brooch
An early 20th century sugarloaf and oval-shaped cabochon emerald and diamond brooch that once belonged to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain

Another colored gemstone, a 25.20-carat pink sapphire, also stood out, selling for CHF 1.4 million ($1.5 million), tripling its low-end pre-sale estimate of CHF 450,000 ($500,000).

25.20 carat pink sapphire
A 25.20-carat pink sapphire

In signed jewels, a suite of turquoise and diamond “Liberté” jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels sold for CHF 781,200 ($860,101), more than double its estimate of CHF 220,000-320,000 ($250,000-$350,000). 

From Tiffany and Co., a Schlumberger “Hedges and Rows” necklace fetched CHF 1.3 million ($1.4 million), topping its high-end pre-sale estimate of CHF 400,000 ($445,000). 

Several pieces by Cartier also were highlights of the sale, including a diamond, onyx, and emerald “Panthère” clip brooch that sold for CHF 554,400 ($610,395), above its highest pre-sale estimate, CHF 350,000 ($385,000). 

An early Art Deco diamond and onyx brooch from the brand sold for CHF 579,600 ($638,140).  

An Art Deco Clock by Cartier sold for more than CHF 900,000 ($1,050,000) following a half-hour long bidding war, nine times its pre-sale estimate. 

Other pieces by Buccellati, Georges Fouquet, Tiffany & Co., Jean Schlumberger, Marina B, Van Cleef & Arpels, Sterlé and JAR also shone, Christie’s said, and signed animal pieces were particularly popular.

Boivin lion brooch
A lion shoulder brooch, circa 1985, signed by René Boivin sold above its estimate for CHF 504,000 ($554,904) to a buyer in the room following about four minutes of heated bidding, Christie’s said.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Christie’s “Rare Watches” sale including timepieces owned by Formula One driver Michael Schumacher took place Tuesday. Christie’s pushed the sale back one day because of the cyberattack. 

It was also livestreamed on YouTube.

The auction achieved a total of CHF 22.8 million ($25.2 million). It offered 164 pieces and was 96 percent sold by lot.

The auction saw the highest price for a wristwatch sold this spring in Geneva, Christie’s said, a vintage Patek Philippe reference 1518 that sold for CHF 2.5 million ($2.7 million).

The watch is one of only 58 made in pink gold and one of 12 with a pink dial, the auction house said.

Patek Philippe ref 1518 pink gold
This 1948 Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 “Pink on Pink” was made for the Latin American market with the weekday and month calendars in Spanish, Christie’s said.

Remi Guillemin, Christie’s head of watches for EMEA and the Americas, said the sale saw strong global participation, particularly from the United States. 

Eight watches from Schumacher’s private collection sold for just under CHF 4 million ($4.4 million). The offerings included timepieces by Rolex, F.P. Journe, and Audemars Piguet.

An engraved F.P. Journe “Vagabondage” gifted to Schumacher by his mentor Jean Todt sold for CHF 1.5 million ($1.6 million).

It was estimated to sell for CHF 2 million ($2.2 million).

Schumacher’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak chronograph, also a gift from Todt, achieved CHF 415,800 ($457,380) against an estimate of CHF 150,000 to 250,000 ($165,000 to $275,000).

Michael Schumacher Royal Oak
Schumacher’s Royal Oak features a bespoke dial with Ferrari’s famous prancing horse emblem, six stars representing each World Championship the driver has won, and Schumacher’s red racing helmet.

Schumacher’s Rolex Daytona Ref. 6262 sold for CHF 315,000 ($346,500). 

The timepiece is one of the rarest vintage Rolex Daytonas, Christie’s said, and was in production only from 1970-1972.

Another Rolex Ref. 6262 Daytona also shone. It is thought to be the only one with a “Paul Newman” dial made for the Peruvian Air Force. It sold for CHF 302,400 ($332,640).

Rolex Dayton ref 6262 Paul Newman
This Rolex Daytona may have been made for the Peruvian Air Force, which is believed to have received around 700 Rolex watches between 1962 and the late 1970s.

Though each of the five watches were offered separately, the same buyer purchased Schumacher’s full F.P. Journe ruthenium collection, paying a total of CHF 1.7 million ($1.8 million) for the set.  

“These results demonstrate the passion of international collectors for exceptional timepieces. Our sincere thanks go to our consigners as well as the Schumacher family, who entrusted us with the outstanding property of Michael Schumacher,” said Guillemin. 

Christie’s said the “Rare Watches” sale results continue the success seen in Geneva with its charity sale, Only Watch, which took place earlier in the week.  

It was 100 percent sold, raising CHF 28.3 million ($31.3 million), for medical research. 

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