Asia's rich sat on their hands when Chinese ceramics and jadeite came up at spring auctions - then fought each other over newly fashionable watches and wines. The Sotheby's and Christie's sales have brought predictable signs of the recession sweeping the region, but also held surprises. A vivid pink diamond ring set an Asian record by selling to London jewellers Graff for $9.15 million, while a flawless diamond necklace fetched $9.97 million during enthusiastic bidding for Western jewellery, Christie's said. But last night bidding was slow for jadeite during the house's auction at the J. W. Marriott Hotel. 'The auction was very selective and compared with the interest in Western jewellery is proving to be more difficult,' said Francois Curiel, the head of Christie's international jewellery department. However, a strand of 114 jade beads with a Cartier clasp sold for $3.5 million and a strand of 30 jadeite beads fetched $7.35 million. Over in Admiralty, Chinese ceramics were moving slowly at Sotheby's auctions in the Furama Hotel. About half of the 300 lots went unsold. 'Honestly, it's not that satisfactory,' said spokesman Onie Chu. 'We must admit that people are very cautious in their buying behaviour.' However, Sotheby's inaugural wine sales were branded a sparkling success, with 90 per cent of the lots sold in a packed room of 350 people. The highest amount paid was $825,000 for one of the world's most expensive wines - a mixed lot of 1985 Domaine De La Romanee Conti from the Burgundy region in seven Methuselahs (six-litre bottles). The spirited bidding reflected the region's new-found interest in fine wines, said Sotheby's director Stephen Mould. 'We found in the UK that some of the bidding for top wines had dropped back a bit. What was encouraging was to find a solid base here. There seemed to be a lot of hungry people,' he said. The fashion for collecting watches also produced strong interest. A platinum Patek Philippe watch sold for $3.32 million at Sotheby's.