Collector : Time for the exceptional

The highly anticipated ninth edition of the Geneva Watch Auctions, organized by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, awaits collectors on May 12th and 13th at La Réserve Genève.

Eagerly awaited by the most sophisticated collectors from the four corners of the globe, these new Geneva auctions are likely to surprise and even make headlines. Will this be thanks to an extremely rare Patek Philippe ? It is indeed true that an extraordinary ref. 5208 model combining tourbillon, minute repeater and chronograph will be in the spotlight. But that would be too easy. A Rolex ? Not this time. Of course, the famous brand with the crown emblem will be well represented and Daytona Paul Newman fans with well-lined pockets will vie fiercely for reference 6263 offered complete with original presentation box and documentation. Still trying to figure out who we are referring to ? Here’s a clue : the Maison in question is also based in Geneva and has an equally spectacular history and name. Quite unfairly, it has never unleashed as much passion at auctions as the two previously mentioned brands, despite being the creator of the world’s most complicated watch… You guessed it ! Vacheron Constantin will be the star of these May auction days. A fabulous selection will be presented to the public, including an incredible 6782 Tournographe bearing no fingerprints, apart from those of the watchmaker who cased it up. Yet the highlight will be even more exceptional : a milestone creation that is unique in the world. A watch so rare and mysterious that at the time of writing, no information could be disclosed to me. With such a tantalizing announcement, one can safely bet that nothing will prevent you being there to find out.

But that’s far from all there is, since the other major surprise of these sales involves change of era. As you are certainly aware, Phillips has mastered the consummate art of finding extraordinary timepieces, but in Geneva, they generally all date from the 20th century to the present day. This time, however, the auctioneer carries us back one hundred years to reveal some great 19th century masterpieces. These notably include a beautiful Ilbery watch as well as a remarkable Breguet model made for the Turkish market and featuring a stunning enameled caseback. Back to the present, and indeed almost to the future when it comes to certain lots. As is now the case for each session, a rigorous selection of timepieces from the best contemporary independent watchmakers will be offered. For while “vintage” models still appeal to many connoisseurs and constitute the heart of these auctions, creations from today’s watchmaking geniuses are acquiring ever greater importance. Among others, one might single out the incredibly talented ‘insider’s tip’, Vianney Halter, with a “Classic” ; along with one of the undisputed masters of contemporary tradition, Kari Voutilainen, and his GMT with its finely engraved dial. An “Upside Down” by Ludovic Ballouard is also worth a mention. This delicately romantic piece conceals breathtaking technicality and is also adorned with an aventurine dial. Finally, in a clever blend of futurism and a return to childhood, a MusicMachine from MB&F is in fact the only lot that is not wearable on the wrist. Just as I mentioned earlier, this is a not-to-be-missed event !


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