One of my weekly little rituals is checking out the lots at First State Auctions, an Australian auction house that frequently holds liquidation auctions and the like where cool 1:1 replica watches frequently pop up. Every week, dozens of timepieces go under the hammer with First State, but often they’re relatively pedestrian – super clone Rolex Submariners, Hublot Big Bangs, Breitling Navitimers, you get the picture. There are often quite good deals to be had and I’ve almost pulled the trigger a few times on a few pieces.
However, this week saw a particularly special watch go under the hammer with First State in Sydney: an extremely rare aaa quality replica Patek Philippe ref. 1436 from 1946 in pretty tidy condition, which ended up selling for A$450,000 (including buyer’s premium), breaking the record for the highest-value copy watch ever sold in Australian auction history.
While definitely pre-loved, this perfect replica Patek Philippe ref. 1436 appears to be in pretty good condition, having been serviced by Patek and boasting an extract from the archives. First introduced by Patek Philippe fake for sale in 1938 and continuously produced until 1971, the ref. 1436 is a manual-winding split-seconds chronograph of which less than 200 were ever made. It was made in stainless steel, pink gold and yellow gold: this Swiss made replica Patek Philippe is one of the latter, and features a clean look with batons and sans-serif numerals at 12 and 6.
However, it must be pointed out that as much as A$450,000 is a lot of money, this was a comparatively small result by international standards. A 1939 high quality replica Patek Philippe UK of the same model sold for over A$2.6 million at Christie’s in Hong Kong earlier this year, for example. A$450,000 was also on the lower side of First State’s own estimate of A$400,000-800,000. In that sense, you could argue that this Australian sale represented pretty good value for the new owner, an anonymous Melbourne-based collector – as much as an almost half-a-million dollar watch can be considered ‘good value’.
For the record, the most expensive watch ever sold at auction remains the Swiss movement fake Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A-010, which sold for a whopping 31,000,000 CHF in Geneva, also by Christie’s, in 2019.
Indeed, of the five most expensive watches ever sold at auction, four are cheap fake Patek Philippe, with the number three spot being held by a 1968 Paul Newman copy Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 owned by Paul Newman himself which sold for US$17,752,500 at a Phillips auction in New York in 2017.