The collectible watch market is still going strong. A 1923 Patek Philippe sold at Sotheby's Tuesday for $2.965 million—more than twice the top estimate.
The piece, Patek's first split-seconds chronograph, was sold to a Swiss museum, according to Sotheby's.
While not the most expensive watch ever sold, it rivals the highest price ever fetched at a Sotheby's watch auction—$2.994 million for a Henry Graves Yellow Gold Minute Repeating Wristwatch by Patek Philippe that sold in 2012.
The yellow gold single button split-seconds chronograph originally sold on Oct. 13, 1923, making it the earliest known split-seconds chronograph made by the firm. It is the only split-seconds chronograph made by Patek with a white enamel dial. (Split-seconds watches have two independently controlled sweep-second hands).
The watch was part of a sale of 171 watches at Sotheby's that fetched $11.7 million. Of the 171 lots, 143 sold.
Sotheby's said demand was fueled by a broad diversity of buyers from around the world.
"Bidding throughout yesterday's auction was truly global, demonstrating the continued strength of the watch market worldwide," said Katharine Thomas, head of Sotheby's Watch Department in New York.
A titanium Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon with 12 complications, including a perpetual calendar, fetched $1.325 million.
—By CNBC's Robert Frank