Rare Swiss watches fetch record prices

Records tumbled at a special auction in Geneva to mark 175 years of Patek Philippe watches, with a rare pink gold item going for $2.71 million, auctioneers Christie's said.

Rare Swiss watches fetch record prices
Patek Philippe watch that sold for more than $2.7 million. Photo: Christie's

The auction on Sunday of 100 wrist and pocket watches brought in a total of $19,731,099, double the original estimate, and set nine world records in the process, Christie's said in a statement after the three-hour bidding battle.
The top lot of the evening was the pink gold watch, manufactured in 1951 by the Geneva-based maker, and one of only four of its kind known to the market.
"This sale has exceeded our expectations in every way," said John Reardon, international head of Christie's watch department.
"(It) sets a new benchmark for thematic sales and shows the amazing strength of the Patek Philippe market," he added.
All 125 seats in the sale room had been reserved 48 hours ahead of the auction, and over 300 collectors and watch enthusiasts attended the event.
The sale continues on Monday.
On Tuesday, Sotheby's is set to auction off what is billed as the most famous, and expensive, watch in the world, another Patek Philippe creation.
The celebrated timepiece known as the "Henry Graves Supercomplication" after its original owner, a New York banker, was made in the 1930s and estimates say it will sell for $15 million.

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Swiss watchmaker Swatch wins latest trademark battle with Apple

A top Swiss court on Thursday handed the watchmaker Swatch victory in a trademark dispute with US technology giant Apple – the latest in a series of legal disputes between the two firms.

Swiss watchmaker Swatch wins latest trademark battle with Apple
Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek with the Zero One wristwatch in 2014. File photo: AFP

In the current case, Apple had alleged the Swiss company’s ‘Tick different’ slogan was too similar to the US company’s ‘Think different’ slogan of the 1990s.

Apple originally filed an objection with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, but that organisation turned down the complaint.

Read also: How luxury watchmakers are gearing up for Brexit

The US company then took the case to the St-Gallen based Federal Administrative Court.

To have a chance of winning its case against Swatch, Apple had to prove that the famous slogan – the related TV commercial won an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial in 1998 – had more than 50 percent recognition in Switzerland.

However, the Federal Administrative Court ruled Apple had not provided sufficient evidence that this was the case and found in Swatch’s favour.

The evidence for awareness of the slogan in Switzerland consisted of just several articles on Apple in Swiss broadsheet NZZ.

This dispute was just the latest in a series of legal confrontations between the two companies.

In 2007, Swatch, which is headed up by charismatic businessman Nick Hayek, trademarked the term ‘iSwatch’ before Apple was able to register the term ‘iWatch. 

The Swiss watchmaker also trademarked the expression ‘One more thing’, which was made famous by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Apple has had other legal problems in Switzerland. In 2012, it reportedly paid 20 million Swiss francs (€17.8 million) to Swiss Federal Railways to avoid going to court over its use of the design of the Swiss railway clock in its i06 operating system.