Sunday, September 23, 2007

My thoughts on Antiquorum Only Watch Auction Results

After having a chance to review and contemplate all the results from this week charity action some results stuck in my head resulting in some thought-provoking opinions. Certainly whenever there are charity auctions one can hardly be in position to “accurately predict” or “judge” achieved valuations as in the end they’re (in most cases) a very generous (and tax free) contributions with an outcome of an exclusive plaything to boot. With that said taking out of the account the splendid amount of money raised for the worth cause some inordinate results stick out for one reason or another.

Granted the star of the show Patek’s one off Nautilus 5712 was expected to reach the sky not only owing to the uniqueness of it being a sole titanium model ever made, but as well due to the current inordinate Nautilus/Patek model demand (with the aspect to current certain geographical supply shortages). Considering the Pateks ever present ultimate luxury timepiece cache, adding the exclusivity of such piece unique and Voilà we have a creation of worldwide appeal to many present bidders all resulting in an instant collector blockbuster. The price achieved (almost 600K Euro with fees) was indeed impressive, yet a bit shocking how steep especially when compared to some other rather underwhelming prices that were achieved for some quite outstanding pieces. Perfect example of such is GP’s Perpetual Calendar Financial which was a steal and certainly a great bargain for the lucky bidder. I know that GP doesn’t have the same marketing clout of some of the big names in horology, but to score an outstanding one off complication timepiece for probably less then you could get similar regular series model from a retailer does seem shocking to me. Same can be said for the Frédérique Constant’s ”Heart Beat Zerodur”. I mean where else can one get for around 10K Euro a pink gold piece unique with moon-phase indicator containing innovative Zerodur balance and Silicium escape wheel. Even the next highest priced DeWitt and Jean-Michel Wilmotte “Incognito” creation and Richard Mille/Philippe Starck model make sense owing to their relative unique pairings that most likely will never be repeated or be close to compare to anything similar from the creators regular line up. As great as that might be then I notice the really fantastic Vacheron Constantine Malte Tourbillon featuring a carriage bridge in platinum (a first for VC) for almost 3rd of that price – a relative bargain of 130K. OK so I can understand the appeal of some special collaboration, but to have such disparity present here I am left here really puzzled. Especially when I see the 50K higher price for that IMO horrid Frank Muller Crazy Something creation – I mean aren’t we over this hoopla at this point. Then just when I was feeling a bit better I noticed a figging “pink quartzy” Swatch and the always horrible abomination from Zenith to make me think WTF is wrong with some of this bidding people? In the end after reviewing all I do calm down realizing that most watches realize 1.5 to 2.5 times their relative value for comparable series watches which makes a perfect sense at this point.
In the end I am smiling because the total of 2.7 million Euro raised is for medical Research on Duchene Muscular Dystrophy leaving me and my insignificant thoughts all flailing in the dust of big picture insignificance.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Antiquorum Monaco Only Watch Auction Results

September 20, Monaco Yacht Show.
In the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Only Watch
07 charity auction of 35 unique timepieces, first in series or prototypes
raised the exceptional sum of € 2,756,500/ USD 3'878'946,/ CHF
4'553'186. All proceeds from this sale, organized by Antiquorum,
will help fund important medical Research on Duchene Muscular

Luc Pettavino, President of the Monaco Yacht Show and founder of
the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy said:

” Sometimes talent comes from really wanting something. Only
Watch has proven this to be true. Everyone who was involved in Only
Watch 07 wanted to be a part of its unique energy and excitement.
In this “second edition” of Only Watch, creativity, celebration,
generosity and professionalism all joined together in an outstanding
charity event that will benefit international research into Duchene
Muscular Dystrophy.

The 2.7 million euros earned will allow the Association Monégasque
contre les Myopathies to continue to support ongoing research programs
and to encourage new ones. Thanks to Only Watch, each new day brings
us closer to finding a therapeutic treatment to relieve the suffering
of children who have Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank: HSH Prince Albert
II, who has sponsored and supported this event with great compassion;
the watchmaking brands; the auction house Antiquorum; the Monaco
Yacht Show; and all our partners.

Only Watch has become a yearly engagement in the world of charity
and Haute Horology. It is familiar and eagerly awaited by collectors
the world over, and it is immensely beneficial. Therefore, it is
with great pleasure that all the participants in Only Watch
07 join me in inviting you to attend the third Only Watch event,
to be held in September 2009: ONLY WATCH 09 - season III."

More than 300 people attended the auction, including
personalities such as Philippe Starck and Formula One driver Felipe
Massa. Fierce bidding in the room competing with hundreds of bidders
from all over the world via the Internet and over the telephone.  This
is the largest sum ever achieved by a charity event in Monaco.

Here the lots in alphabetical order (please click on the image for high definition picture):


Lot 1

Audemars Piguet ” Royal Oak
Offshore Volcano”, first in series.

A very fine, self-winding, stainless steel gentleman’s wristwatch with
approximately 60-hour power reserve chronograph, 30 minute and 12 hour registers,
date and  tachometer.


40,000 EUR


Lot 2

Blancpain “Ultra-Thin” Pièce

A very fine and exceptional 18k yellow gold keyless dress watch with ultra-thin
(1.9mm) mechanical movement and approximately 40-hours power reserve.


70,000 EUR


Lot 3

Breguet ”Chronograph Classique
A Rattrapante”
1 of a limited edition of 7 pieces.

A very fine and important, 18k yellow gold gentleman’s wristwatch
with split-seconds chronograph, 30-minute register, tachometer and
enamel dial.


90,000 EUR


Lot 4

Chopard “L.U.C. Chrono One Prototype” Fleurier
et Genève,
Prototype No. 1 of 2.

An exceptionally rare and interesting self-winding 18k white gold gentleman’s
wristwatch with approximately 60-hour power reserve fly-back chronograph, 30-minute
and 12-hour registers, date and a partially skeletonized dial.


32,000 EUR


Lot 5

Corum Admiral's Cup Challenge 44 Regatta,
number 1 in a special edition

A very fine and important 18k pink gold self-winding gentleman’s wristwatch
with approximately 42-hour power reserve, reserve split-seconds chronograph,
30-minute and 12-hour registers, date and an 18k pink gold, and rubber bracelet.


22,000 EUR


Lot 6

Daniel Roth  “Tourbillon
Date Retrograde Double Face”

A very fine 18k pink gold double-dialled gentleman’s wristwatch
with one-minute tourbillon regulator, retrograde date, 64-hour power
reserve indicator and 18k pink gold dial.


42,000 EUR


Lot 7

De Bethune “Time-Zone No.00”Pièce

A very fine and important titanium and platinum gentleman’s
wristwatch with differential winding - sport and statics, 6-days
power-reserve indication and triple anti-shock system.


45,000 EUR


Lot 8

deLaCour ”Saqra Weekend Graphite”Pièce

A very fine and interesting graphite and 18k pink gold self-winding
wristwatch with day, date and 40-hour power-reserve indication.


14,000 EUR


Lot 9

DeWitt and Jean-Michel
Wilmotte. “Incognito 2008” One-of-a-kind model.

Time and Creation, united in the shared vision of Jean-Michel Wilmotte for the
design and DeWitt for the horological substance. One-minute flying tourbillion
regulator and 21-day power-reserve. To be unveiled in January 2008.


400,000 EUR


Lot 10

Eterna “Madison” No.1
in a limited edition of 75 pieces.

A fine and special 18k pink gold centre seconds gentleman’s
wristwatch with deployant clasp.


9,000 EUR


Lot 11

Franck Muller, “Totally Crazy
Pièce Unique.

A very fine and amusing 18k white gold self-winding wristwatch with
random jumping hours, date and the Monegasque coat of arms on the dial.


180,000 EUR


Lot 12

Frédérique Constant ”Heart
Beat Zerodur”, Pièce Unique.

A fine and important 18k pink gold astronomic gentleman’s
wristwatch with date, moon-phase indicator, innovative Zerodur
balance and Silicium escape wheel.


11,000 EUR


Lot 13

Gerald Charles “Gérald Genta celebrates César” Pièce

Very fine and interesting 18k white, pink and yellow gold “Compression
de Cesar” self-winding gentleman’s wristwatch with sliding-hours.


40,000 EUR


Lot 14

Girard-Perregaux  “World Time-Perpetual
Calendar-Financial”, Pièce Unique.

A very fine 18k pink gold astronomic gentleman’s wristwatch with
Perpetual calendar world-time with 24 global locations, “trading-time” indication
for the major markets in the world and moon phase.


17,000 EUR


Lot 15

Glashütte Original, “Prince’s
Palace of Monaco”,
Pièce Unique.

An exceptional 18k rose gold self-winding gentleman’s wristwatch
with a Meissen porcelain dial with a polychrome depiction of the ““Prince’s
Palace of Monaco”.


30,000 EUR


Lot 16

Harry Winston “Avenue Exotic Birds - Set n°1
of a limited edition of 5”

A very fine set of four 18k white gold gem-set lady’s wristwatches
with gem set cloisonné enamel dials; this new mini-collection
is a fresh artistic and romantic interpretation of the Exotic Birds


80,000 EUR


Lot 17

Hublot ”Big Bang Only Watch” Pièce

A very fine, oversized black ceramic and titanium gentleman’s
wristwatch with chronograph, 30-min and 12-hour registers and date.


28,000 EUR


Lot 18

Instrument et Mesures
de Temps  “Instrument de mesure de
Régularité”, Genève, Pièce Unique.

A very fine and important 18k pink gold gentleman’s wristwatch
with split-seconds chronograph 30-minute and 12 hour registers, date
and a triple pointer chronograph with different coloured hands corresponding
to 3 timing scales.


26,000 EUR


Lot 19

International Watch Co. Schaffhausen “Fliegeruhr
5026, Perpetual Calendar”

Very fine stainless steel astronomic gentleman’s wristwatch
with secular perpetual calendar and phases of the moon.


80,000 EUR


Lot 20

Jaeger-LeCoultre“Joaillerie 101 Etrier”, Pièce

An exceptionally fine18k white gold diamond and pink sapphire set
back wound wristwatch.


28,000 EUR


Lot 21

Jaquet Droz“Les
Douze Villes Monaco”,
Pièce unique.

An exceptional oversized 18k white
gold world-time wristwatch with jump-hour and time correction for
12 cities


32,000 EUR


Lot 22

Louis Vuitton “Tambour
18 Mandarine Watch”, Pièce Unique.

Very fine and important 18k yellow gold diamond set lady’s
wristwatch with diamond set orange mother-of-pearl dial. Accompanied
by a Louis Vuitton “Mini-Trunk” designed in collaboration
with Paul Pettavino.
11 years old.


66,000 EUR


Lot 23

Mauboussin “Oryx
Tourbillon”, No.1 in a special edition.

A very important 18k white gold gentleman’s skeletonized
wristwatch with visible one-minute tourbillon regulator.


130,000 EUR


Lot 24

Omega “De Ville Hour Vision, Only
Watch”, Pièce Unique.

A very fine 18k red gold gentleman’s wristwatch
with two barrels and co-axel escapement, the case with sapphire crystal
body to view the movement.


25,000 EUR


Lot 25

Officine Panerai ”RADIOMIR 10 Days GMT PINK GOLD” Pièce

A very fine and important, gentleman’s
wristwatch with 10-day power reserve indicator, 24-hour dial and
day, night indication with special blue dial.


44,000 EUR


Lot 26

Patek Philippe, Ref 5712T “Nautilus Titanium”, Genève,
Pièce Unique.

Watch made of titanium incorporating the automatic Calibre 240 with
hour & minute indicator, seconds' between 4 and 5 o'clock, power
reserve, date and moon phase display. This Nautilus Titanium is water-resistant
to 60 meters and features a two-colour dial with a horizontally embossed
pattern, a composite material strap, and a safety fold-over clasp in


525,000 EUR


Lot 27

Piaget, “Altiplano, Prince Albert
II” Pièce Unique.

A very fine 18k white gold diamond-set gentleman’s wristwatch
with diamond-set dial replicating the fingerprint of H.S.H Prince Albert
II of Monaco.


38,000 EUR


Lot 28

Pierre Kunz, “Chrono Sport Monaco” Genève,
Pièce Unique.

A very fine and important stainless steel gentleman’s wristwatch
with chronograph, skeletonized retrograde 30-minute and 12-hour registers,
day/night indication and red “Texalium” dial.


12,000 EUR


Lot 29

Richard Mille and Philippe
integral interpretation in titanium”,

A very fine skeletonized Titanium self-winding gentleman’s
wristwatch with fly-back chronograph, annual calendar, oversize
date, month, 12-hour register, 60-minute countdown time and approximately
55-hour power reserve (without chronograph running).


320,000 EUR


Lot 30

Rodolphe ”Instinct
Chrono 180° Only Watch”,
Pièce Unique, Unique Inscription and Unique Dial.

An unusual PVD coated gentleman’s wristwatch with two movements,
one for the chronograph with constant seconds, date, 30-minute and
12-hour recorders and the other for the time functions.


7,000 EUR


Lot 31

Swatch, “Pearly Pink”, Piece Unique.

stylish pink crystal set steel lady’s
quartz wristwatch.


4,500 EUR


Lot 32

Ulysse Nardin“Maxi Marine Diver
Only Watch 2007 Set”
, unique Set.

A very fine stainless steel and white gold gentleman’s wristwatch
with date and power-reserve indicator (approximately 42-hours). Accompanied
by a barometer and a copy of the book “Making of a Masterpiece”.


24,000 EUR


Lot 33

Vacheron Constantin, “Malte Tourbillon Platinum” Pièce

An exceptionally rare gentleman's platinum tourbillon regulator tonneau-shaped
wristwatch with date and 40-hour power reserve indicator. Also featuring
a carriage bridge in platinum (a first for Vacheron Constantin). The
case, dial, strap stitching and buckle are equally in platinum.


130,000 EUR


Lot 34

Van Cleef & Arpels “Lady Arpels Féerie”,
Pièce Unique

A very fine 18k white gold diamond-set (D-E-F) lady’s wristwatch
with a purple guilloché dial. The delicate white gold and
diamonds fairy indicates the time thanks to an hour and minute retrograde
mechanical movement.


70,000 EUR


Lot 35

Zenith “Defy Extreme Stealth 1000m Only Watch 2007”, Pièce

A very fine titanium divers wristwatch with revolving graduated bezel,
chronograph, 30-minute register, central power reserve indicator and
partially skeletonized dial.


45,000 EUR

Antiquorum is, unquestionably, the world’s leading
watch auctioneer; Of the 62 watches ever sold publicly by major auction
houses above SFR. 1,000,000, Antiquorum claims an impressive 44 .
In 2002, Antiquorum established the all-time world record price for
a wristwatch at auction when it sold a platinum Patek Phililppe World
Time Ref. 1415 from 1939 for an astounding CHF 6,603,500 (US$ 4,026,524).
This record-breaking price more than doubled the previous world record
price for a wrist watch at auction. Another record price for a modern
watch was achieved in 2004, the unique white gold Calibre 89, also
by Patek Philipe, was sold for SFr. 6,603,500 (US$ 5,002,652).


Info by Antiquorum

TEMPUS Manufacture Jaeger LeCoultre - Master Class Workshop

As mentioned before during the TEMPUS there was an abundance of opportunities to get various hands on experience with different aspects of watch making art through various workshops offered. I was very keen on taking a full advantage of this opportunity during this trip as many times previously I was always constrained by lack of time.

During TEMPUS one of the workshops offered was a Master Class by the Manufacture Jaeger LeCoultre.

In this instance Master Class was a 4-hour watch training course during which we were fully educated on all the nuances of disassembly and reassembly of Jeager LeCoultre Calibre 875 both virtually and in reality.

The very sympathetic Frank, Manufactures Master watchmaker, was our knowledgeable, helpful yet very easy going instructor that made this one class I didn’t mind attending.

First it was theory time. Sitting at our work benches over our laptops and following the action on the plasma screen we got acquainted further with all the parts comprising the Reverso Grand Date Calibre 875. Via the interactive CD-ROM watch making game we proceeded with virtual disassembly of all the sum of it parts, proper order, adjustment and then returning it back in the working order.

After the theory it was time to put all that in actual practice. Before each set of actions about to be taken we were instructed in detail by Frank and then it was on us to follow through.

Reassembly following the proper steps …

… until there was noting more to disassemble.

I can tell you that viewing all the much bigger parts on the computer screen as well watching Frank do it so effortlessly is a whole other thing when you’re doing it (especially after a whole night and only 2.5 hours of sleep)
You really can easily lose some of the tiny parts …

… YES I said real easy. Duh!

As the assembly work slowly progressed …

… S L O W L Y ….

… the things started looking better

… until TA DA!

At the end if the mechanically manual-wound double-barrel eight-day power reserve movement was properly assembled we were a recipient of a very nice Master Class Diploma & the same software CD for future practice.

All in all a wonderful experience of the mechanical complexity and detailed functioning of what constitutes a properly operated fairly complicated movement. I would strongly recommend anyone interested to further expand their horological interest to try out this class. Thanks again to MJLC and Hour Glass for organizing this event.

TEMPUS Independent Watchmaker Report - McGonigle Tourbillon

During my trip to Singapore for TEMPUS I had the pleasure to meet another fresh breath of air in innovative and unique style that John and Stephen McGonigle brothers bring to the connoisseurs of the implacable horology from the school of independent watchmaking.

This was my first time having a sincere pleasure to meet and get to know both work and the person that is Mr. John McGonigle. I wouldn’t be really honest if I wouldn’t say straight out that besides being a truly a dedicated artist in the watchmaking field he is one lovable b@stard an obvious well known joke by now (and I do mean this with all the love and due respect). John over the time of Tempus became a person one would flock to unintentionally, not only due to his charming & realistic persona, but due to his infectious knowledge of watchmaking art especially in the way he would go about conveying. Need I say that some of the best talks we had were late night over cigars and beers.

All photography by Kok Choon Tay

Admittedly I only read about McGonigle brothers work in one article before meeting John in TEMPUS and was floored when I actually had a chance to examine and learn more about their sole model – the magnificent Tourbillon. Without a doubt IMVHO not taking into account the non-lubricated MJLC Extreme Lab this has to be by far the most impressive reinterpretations of this impressive classic complication. After talking to John I realized that very often the simplest ideas that would seem just the right solution on paper in practice sometimes don’t achieve the desired result or effect. This is when a studious and artful genius of watchmaker comes to shine like in example of novel application of cut sapphire crystal for displaying the wonderfully suspended Tourbillon cage.
From the lovely photography of my good friend Kok Chooon one can see the artistry applied in creating this stunning dial, M-shaped Tourbillion suspension arches (is the M for McGonigle or in my vain case for Milan LOL), the intricate hand wound mechanical movement development paired with bespoke finishing and lastly the gorgeous and oh so fitting Celtic font that furnish that unmistakable Irish DNA.

The Tourbillion cage “less is more” approach (dispensing with the regulator, removing weight from either side) grants an effort more efficient regardless of not being an easy thing to accomplish it presents a clean yet more aesthetic visceral appearance.

The distinctive captivating dial is machined out of sapphire crystal with 6 o’clock opening framing the tourbillon cage and at the top displaying the wolf teeth gearing of the mainspring barrel. The other two levels of the dial are not instantly recognizable unless carefully examined or being fortunate to have it convey by John. Under the sapphire dial there is barrel bridge (electro plated either in grey ruthenium or chrome black) which is fashioned in the same shape and provides that pleasing contrast for the dial graphics. The last lowest level is German silver ring with holes drilled for hour indexes completing the look of the dial. This all contributes to functional legibility of the piece as well artistic interpretation that draws the light toward the piece de resistance which is the tourbillon cage.

Another unique aspect are the grained and beveled arrow hands which are either polished or blue steel. The slightly oval case (available either in platinum or red gold) purposely fitted with strong and IMO very masculine lugs further complements the whole design of the piece especially when taking into account the purposefully large crown featuring their Celtic logo.

Undoubtedly the knowledge and extensive work that John performed for the stalwarts of the haute horology industry has certainly endowed him with immense mastery in his field, but it is his ingenious approach to attain his personal watch making objective and to spare no cost be it time, effort or capital. I finally understood what time consuming and painstaking endeavor an artist goes through to achieving his masterwork to see the light of day. At around almost 4 months of meticulous workmanship for each of these wonderful pieces the lucky customers will really get a piece of contemporary horology art signed by the McGonigle(s). Actually due to no outside assembly and the limited production there are no conventional numbering with their pieces instead each watch is dated and signed by one of the watchmaker be it John or Stephen. I am looking forward with trepidation and excitement at hearing what is the next piece in stored for us.

Daily thoughts, musings & interests about anything (mostly horology) that currently makes my soul & grey matter tick.