Patek Philippe Ref. 5102G ‘Celestial’ sold at Christie's Dubai online auction in October.

While we can’t officially say we’re anywhere back to “normal,” Christie’s watches department can say it had a fantastic year—even when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The storied auction house reported a total sales volume of $205 million across 3,213 lots. That's more than 20 percent growth versus 2019, owing much to Christie's use of online auctions in complement to live auctions which were able to return after a rocky 2020 spent in quarantine. Rather than use online auctions as a temporary fix, Christie’s sees the global power of online auctions as a method of sale that’s here to stay.

Even more so, Christie’s saw a greater demand for watches worldwide than ever before, reporting an increase in buyer and seller demographics. High-end rare and exceptional watches sold at a rate five-times higher than 2019, and total online sales were up a bit more than 600 percent.

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All in all, Christie's hosted 20 watch auctions around the globe, including seven live auctions and 13 held online. Christie's Hong Kong watches division set 12 world records, Dubai held two online auctions in the spring and autumn totaling $24,627,250 in sales, and Christie's Geneva sold its full lot of rare watches in November.

Christie's headquarters in New York City held its final sale of the year earlier this month. The Fine Watchmaking: Important Timepieces and the Independent Collection welcomed bidders from 34 countries and saw more than 30 percent new registrants.

“Who knows how we will look back at this year,” François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Europe and Asia, and Chairman of the Luxury Division, says in a press release, “but one thing is certain: Our ability to meet its many challenges and continue to achieve strong results, even set new records, comes down to our focus on making Christie’s synonymous with the most exciting and rewarding auction experience for buyers and sellers. Both have dreams, and making them come true is the one true measure for success for all of us at Christie’s.”

Congrats to the team over at Christie’s and to all the collectors who nabbed a piece of history in 2021. Here’s to another fine year of watch collecting in 2022.