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Hong Kong Auction Houses: History, Digitalization, Prominent Players | Green Auctioneers

Hong Kong Watch Auction Houses: History, Digitalization, Prominent Players | Green Auctioneers

The auction house industry in Hong Kong is currently experiencing growth and success. The economic vibrancy and strategic location of Hong Kong make it a popular auction destination for both domestic and foreign buyers.


The auction house industry in Hong Kong is currently experiencing growth and success. The economic vibrancy and strategic location of Hong Kong make it a popular auction destination for both domestic and foreign buyers.

This article will provide the information you need about the auction houses in Hong Kong, from their history to the major players, as well as the unique offerings of Green Auctioneers – the specialist in ladies’ watches, pocket watches, and vintage timepieces – if you’re also fascinated by this mysterious yet glamorous industry.


Hong Kong Auction House’s History

Hong Kong Auction Houses have witnessed remarkable transformations over the past few years from a pioneering Asian market to today’s global auction hub.

Hong Kong has always been a top-of-mind destination for art, collectibles, and luxury goods auctions because of its rich heritage and prestigious reputation.

Early in the 20th century, when the Auction Industry was still in its infancy, Chinese antiques and art were the primary focus of auctions.  Moving forwards to the 1970s, few prominent international Auction Houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s began to rise and strategically set up branch offices in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Auction for Chinese Art in the 1980s

Sotheby’s groundbreaking auction of Chinese art in 1980-81 marked the onset of their renowned single-owner sales in Hong Kong, capturing unprecedented worldwide interest. At the forefront of this milestone event was the exceptional collection of Edward T. Chow, The Edward T. Chow’s Collection represents the pinnacle of desire among Chinese art collectors looking for a treasured piece.

Hong Kong Auction for Chinese Art in the 1980s

Recognized as an eminent authority in the realm of Chinese ceramics, Edward T. Chow (1910–1980) is celebrated as one of the foremost connoisseurs. (Source: Sotheby’s Official Website)

With a blend of Eastern and Western culture, Hong Kong’s Auction Houses cater to every taste.  Apart from the ancient Chinese arts, Hong Kong also stages a great variety of auction themes, including but not limited to jewelry, watches, wine, property and more for collectors.

Digitalization of Hong Kong Auctions

In the ever-evolving auction industry in Hong Kong, the digitalization of auctions has certainly played a transformative role. Online bidding auctions and virtual auctions have now emerged as key components of this digital landscape among auction houses. 

A 2021 Online Watch Auction found 35% of bidders were first-time buyers, which indicates that the new auction format can engage new audiences in addition to offering convenience and accessibility.

Online auctions also allow the trading of several disruptors in the contemporary art landscape lately, digital paintings and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to name a few. In contrast to the limited gallery spaces, digital collectibles have proliferated in all directions and dimensions. Going beyond the bricks and mortar, online auctions help to convey the avant-garde novelty to the far-reaching global audience.

Jewelry and Watch Auctions in Hong Kong

The jewelry and watches auction market in Hong Kong is thriving. Known as the international financial center, from exquisite gemstones to rare timepieces, Hong Kong auctions have witnessed the sale of remarkable pieces. The demand for jewelry and watches, particularly among Asian buyers, has contributed to the market’s growth. Trends in the industry include the rising interest in vintage and unique designs, as well as the increasing participation of online buyers.

Jewelry and Watch Auctions in Hong Kong

This shows a watch live auction “The Champion Collection Part VI: The Finest Watchmaking” that was hosted by Christie’s on Nov 2022 in Hong Kong. (Source: Christie’s Official Website)

Phillips Online Auction “Jewels: Online Auction”

Van Cleef & Arpels ‘Magic Alhambra’ long necklace sold at the HK$138,600 (Estimates: HK$65,000 – HK$95,000) in the 2022 online auction event. (Source: Phillips’ Official Website)


Prominent Watch Auction Houses in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is broadly considered as the world-class hub by many foremost Auction Houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips.  While they are not exclusively dedicated to Watch Auctions, these auction houses have established dedicated departments for watches auction and offer platforms for watch collectors and enthusiasts to explore and acquire exceptional timepieces.


Sotheby’s Auction House

Sotheby’s was established on 11 March 1744 in London by Samuel Baker, a bookseller, and became the first auction house to operate in Hong Kong in 1973. Sotheby’s is an internationally recognized auction house known for its expertise in Old Master Paintings, jewelry, watches, wine, and collectibles.

Sotheby's Auction House

Patek Philippe, Annual Calendar Chronograph, Reference 5961

Sold Price: HK$825,700  (Estimates: HK$750,000 – HK$1,500,000)

(Source: Sotheby’s Official Website)


Christie’s Auction House

Christie’s is a British auction house founded in 1766 by James Christie. Today it is one of the most international and renowned auction houses offering art and luxury business.  In March 2023, Christie’s Hong Kong organized an online watch auction –  “Watches Online: Top of the Time”, at which the best luxury watchmakers including Patek Phillippe, Audemars Piguet, Rolex and Cartier have all made an appearance.

Christie's Auction House

Patek Philippe, Sky Moon Tourbillon, Reference 6002G

Sold Price: HK$45,450,000 (Estimates: HK$28,000,000 – HK$45,000,000)

(Source: Christie’s Official Website)


Phillips Auction House

Established by Harry Phillips in 1796, Phillips has a long-standing history in the auction world, particularly the field of contemporary art, design and photography. In May 2023, Philips Hong Kong auctioned “The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XVI”, highlighting an exhilarating selection of both popular classics and rare finds.

Phillips Auction House

Rolex, Cosmograpgh ‘Rainbow’ Daytona, Reference 116598RBOW

Sold Price: HK$2,794,000 (Estimates: HK$1,400,000 – HK$2,400,000)

(Source: Phillips’ Official Website)


Green Auctioneers Auction House: Advocate for Vintage Watch Auction

Green Auctioneers is the first French auction house established in Hong Kong, with a specialty in ladies’ watches, pocket watches, and vintage timepieces. Passionate about horological craftsmanship and the search for rare timepieces.  With a strong background in horology and a team of experts, Green Auctioneers offers exceptional knowledge and curated auctions focused on these specialties. Fine Watches Online Auction in December 2022 and Spring Auction: Fine Watches & Cartier Jewelry Live Auction in April 2023 were two notable auctions hosted by Green Auctioneers. The events showcased an exquisite collection of timepieces which captured the attention of watch enthusiasts and collectors.


Notable watches sold by Green Auctioneers

A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpétuel Watch “Pour le Mérite”

A notable and highly complicated A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph “Pour le Mérite” sold during the December auction 2022 in Hong Kong, making it the second-highest selling A.Lange & Söhne to be offered at auction in 2022.

Notable watches sold by Green Auctioneers-A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpétuel Watch "Pour le Mérite"

Sold for HK$2,437,500 (Estimates: HK$1,800,000 – HK$2,800,000)

Click here to view the lot details

This A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph “Pour le Mérite” is an extremely rare and exceptional timepiece. This high-end collectible features a labor-intensive winding mechanism, as well as a fusee-and-chain transmission. All these details make it a must-have collectible for collectors of tastefully crafted art.


Piaget, Asymmetric 18k White Gold with Opal Dial and Diamond-set Bezel Lady Vintage Watch, Circa 1970s

An extremely rare 18K white gold with opal dial and diamond-set bezel, 36mm diameter, manual winding movement Piaget lady vintage wristwatch. 

Notable watches sold by Green Auctioneers - Piaget, Asymmetrical 18k White Gold with Opal Dial and Diamond-set Bezel Lady Vintage Watch, Circa 1970s

Sold for HK$237,500 (Estimates: HK$120,000 – HK$200,000)

Click here to view the lot details

An astounding vintage lady’s Piaget from the early 70s stands out with its elegant and distinctive design. Made of asymmetrical 18k white gold together with a large round brilliant diamond bezel. 


Rolex, Cosmograph Daytona “Rolex Daytona Leopard”, Ref. 116598 SACO

The “Rolex Daytona Leopard” with its exquisite Cognac Baguette-Cut Sapphire Bezel was yet another rare find timepiece that captivated the audience at the auction. 

Covered with leopard print and surrounded by 48 diamonds, once glance at the Rolex Daytona Leopard you hear the powerful roars in the wilderness.

Notable watches sold by Green Auctioneers-Rolex, Cosmograph Daytona “Rolex Daytona Leopard”, Ref. 116598 SACO

Sold for €127,260 (Estimates: €38,000 – €70,000) *HK$1,080,000 (Estimates: HK$320,000 – HK$600,000)

Click here to view the lot details

Presented by Rolex with a very limited quantity, this “Rolex Daytona Leopard” features a bezel adorned with cognac baguette-cut sapphires and leopard print pattern. 

As a result of these auction results, Green Auctioneers continues to offer exceptional timepieces that have a unique distinctive feature and a historical significance. Green Auctioneers provides a platform for collectors to discover and acquire rare and special watches.


Green Auctioneers’ Auction Calendar

Hong Kong Auction houses have accelerated the shift to digital transformation, Green Auctioneers opens to bidders and collectors all around the world – 3 to 4 live or online auctions featuring rare and sought-after watches, striving diligently to provide diversity of watches on offer. Green Auctioneers is thrilled to continue to expand to jewelry, rare find accessories, Hermès handbags, Chanel handbags, Louis Vuitton and more in the upcoming auctions. 

Explore more upcoming auctions in Green Auctioneers:


Green Auctioneers’ BUY NOW

BUY NOW is an immediate way to purchase from Green Auctioneers outside the auction calendar. Green Auctioneers provides buyers to discover and acquire fine watches, jewelry and many more exciting items coming up on its BUY NOW, exquisite pieces from private collections and ateliers at any time from anywhere.

Explore items available for immediate purchase on BUY NOW:


Highlight Item

Piaget Black Tie Wristwatch Full Diamond Set

Piaget Black Tie Wristwatch, Diamond-set

Automatic movement with power reserve indication.
Original full paved diamonds.
HK$ 188,000


Green Auctioneers Presents: The Art of Piaget – 150 years celebration

Green Auctioneers is thrilled to announce an exceptional sale in 2024 to celebrate the 150 years anniversary of PIAGET – the legendary watch and jewelry Maison of creativity and craftmanship.

Green Auctioneers will feature a curated collection of Piaget timepieces, highlighting their exquisite craftsmanship, creativity, and timeless elegance. From iconic models to rare and unique pieces. With this auction, you have a unique opportunity to acquire coveted Piaget pieces that encompass the rich heritage and creative spirit of the Maison.

An early 70s exceptional and possibly unique Piaget 18k yellow gold and coral stone dial cuff watch manchette curated by Green Auctioneers

Green Auctioneers Goes From Strength to Strength

The auction industry in Hong Kong has a vibrant history and continues to evolve with the digitalization of auctions. Traditional prominent auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips have played an important role in establishing Hong Kong as a global auction hub. 

Green Auctioneers stands out with its specialty in ladies’ watches, pocket watches, and vintage timepieces. Watches and jewelry sold by Green Auctioneers have achieved excellent auction results, the year 2024 will establish Green Auctioneers as one of the major auction houses for ladies’ watches, pocket watches, and vintage timepieces.

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