With all due respect to the many great watchmakers and brands we have in the industry, I think we all agree that Philippe Dufour is the Grandmaster, the Non Plus Ultra of horology.
The quality of his watchmaking, the extremely limited production numbers and the fact that every watch comes from the master himself have created a perfect storm of collector appreciation in recent years. Having a Dufour in the collection is the holy grail for each collector, and even the most esteemed and wealthy collectors will have a challenge to get to this goal.
Well.. They have to pay attention and check their bank accounts, as Phillips has announced a unique collection of no less than four stunning Dufours coming to the market soon.
A Philippe Dufour is as rare as it is expensive
Philippe Dufour offers simplicity
When a Philippe Dufour is offered it usually is a Simplicity. That’s the hallmark piece and accountable for most of the production since Dufour started creating watches in the 1990’s. A Simplicity was originally priced at approximately CHF 40,000 some 20 years ago. Nowadays the market easily demands 10 to 20 times that amount.
Last week A Collected Man, the UK based hig- end watch dealer, announced the sale of another highly complicated piece, a Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie, no.3 made in a very limited run, for a record-breaking $7,63 Million (ukp 5,000,000)! A world record price for a living watchmaker.
The price indicates how the works of Dufour are appreciated these days. It has exceeded horology and has become a piece of art where the hand of the master Dufour is comparable with Leonardo Da Vinci, Modigliani or Johannes Vermeer: The very best objects, created by the very best artist, in a very limited supply.
The ulitimate Philippe Dufour collection
Four Philippe Dufour timepieces at Phillips Auctions
The four pieces that will be sold at the Geneva Watch Auction XIV include the first Grande et Petite Sonnerie. In the light of the recent A Collected Man transaction, the estimated $1 million seems way out of sync with reality and much too low.
Second piece is another Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie, in pocket watch configuration this time. Clearly an important element in mr. Dufours career as a watchmaker, as he was responsible for the construction of five of these pocket watches in the early eighties, while working for Audemars Piguet. This is a unique piece, as rare as things can get. The estimate of $ 436,000/$ 872,000 is nowhere near what we are expecting as a hammer price.
Limited to 9 pieces
The third watch is a Philippe Dufour Duality in pink gold. Philippe Dufour revealed the Duality in 1996 as the first timepiece under his own name. He produced only 9 pieces and this is number 8. The estimate of $ 875,000-1,700,000 is in line with a previous example that was sold at Phillips in 2017.
Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity is the important fundament of Dufour’s oeuvre
The fourth is one of the 200 produced Simplicity pieces, number 57 to be precise. The Simplicity is the important fundament of the Dufour oeuvre. Dufour had the ambition to create the perfect three-hand watch, both in movement architecture and level of finishing. Dufour produced the Simplicity’s in both 34 and 37 mm, the one on offer is a platinum 37 mm. example. The estimate is in the $ 300-500,000 range, and again this will not be a big challenge to reach, to say the least..
Auction at Phillips – This auction took place in the past
The forthcoming auction of 4 unique Philippe Dufour timepieces will be one for the history books. Keep an eye on further announcements of Phillips Watches if you want to witness this.