Andy Warhol’s Patek Philippe Watch Is Coming to Auction

The rare 18-karat gold watch was initially offered to the public in 1988 following the artist's untimely death.

An Andy Warhol is hitting the auction block this December. The lot isn’t one of his renowned prints or paintings, however, but a valuable watch previously owned and worn by the Pop Art figure.

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Gold watch with black strap
The rare Patek Philippe will be sold on Dec. 5. Courtesy of Christie's

Warhol’s work, known for its elements of commercialism and celebrity culture, has fetched large sums at auction—his 1964 Shot Sage Blue Marilyn became the most expensive piece of American artwork in 2022 when it sold for $195 million. But Warhol himself was a prolific collector, and not just of fine art. From plastic wristwatches to Rolexes, he amassed more than 300 timepieces.

One of the most coveted was a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Reference 3448, an extremely rare model that will star in Christie's Important Watches sale this December. With an estimated value between $350,000 and $600,000, the 18-karat gold watch showcases a moon phase display, gold indices and hands. It was cleaned and preserved by Patek Philippe in the mid-1980s, and its dial contains a silky finish known as “satine opalin,” which is attributed to dials made by Stern Freres. The combination of its storied provenance and superb condition makes it “one of the most individual and exclusive of the great classic to be offered at auction,” according to Christie’s.

Andy Warhol’s affinity for watches

The Patek Philippe was initially auctioned off in 1988 following the death of Warhol in 1987 from complications of gallbladder surgery. It fetched $22,000 during a ten-day Sotheby's sale dedicated to objects and artwork accumulated by the iconic artist.

Warhol’s collections were so vast that his friends often referred to his various items as “Andy’s stuff,” according to Christie’s. The subsequent sale of his estate was an ordeal, with around 10,000 lots of artwork, clothing, cars, furniture, and even cookie jars. “The most important things are the cookie jars,” Ronald Lauder, a billionaire art collector and Estee Lauder heir, told The New York Times during the 1980s auction.

The Sotheby’s sale also sold off Warhol’s significant watch collection—313 of them, to be exact. A roster of Patek Philippe, Rolex and Cartier models was littered with more affordable options depicting cartoon characters like Judy Jetson and Fred Flintstone. Instead of storing them in safety deposit boxes, the artist stashed most of the watches in the canopy of his four-poster bed. Another hundred were later found in a compartment hidden among his old filing cabinet. While Warhol clearly enjoyed a range of timepiece brands, he was most well-known for sporting a Cartier Tank. “I don’t wear a tank to tell the time. In fact, I never wind it,” he once said. “I wear a Tank because it’s the watch to wear.”

In the decades since the 1988 auction, a select few of Warhol’s watches have emerged on the market to fetch lucrative sums. Earlier this year, Sotheby’s sold off a Patek Philippe 2526 owned by the artist for more than $100,000, exceeding its high estimate of $80,000. In 2019, Christie’s realized 471,000 Swiss Francs ($525,000) for a stainless steel and pink gold Rolex worn by the Pop Art icon.

At Christie’s upcoming sale, Warhol’s Patek Philippe is set to surpass that figure. Other items to be offered during Important Watches include a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Reference 5002P-001, a platinum double dial wristwatch with an estimate of $1.2 million to $2.2 million. Meanwhile, an F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Second Generation No. 27 is expected to realize between $500,000 and $1 million. Before returning to New York for a Dec. 5 auction at Christie’s, highlights of the sale will be toured across Geneva and Hong Kong.

Andy Warhol’s Patek Philippe Watch Is Coming to Auction