Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you are well aware that on October 26, 2017 Phillips conducted an auction in New York City at which the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona owned by Mr. Newman himself was sold for more than $17.5 million, a record price for a wristwatch of any kind. I was fortunate to attend the auction and its attendant events: there was much more to see and some lessons to take away, about both the current state of the vintage market and bidding at auction.
The click spring is one of the smaller components of a mechanical watch, but it is of enormous importance. Ever wondered why the crown doesn’t retaliate furiously and unwind every time you crank it? Without the click spring, a wound mainspring would immediately – and explosively – uncoil like a raging viper in a hat box.
“I have no secrets as past watchmakers had. There are graveyards full of secrets and that’s enough.” –Philippe Dufour, 2014
Have you heard of Philippe Dufour?
Chances are, if you have been collecting watches for any significant period of time, his name is well known to you. If not, let me enlighten you.
As regular readers know, the idea of the Behind the Lens series is to present great watches as seen from a variety of visual perspectives. Mostly, I feature watches on loan from my generous friends, but this time let’s look at a piece that I am very fortunate to have in my own collection: the legendary Simplicity by Philippe Dufour in a 37 mm white gold case with white lacquer dial.
Whenever I think about a watch made by an independent watchmaker, a certain recollection comes to mind – one that could explain my passion for timepieces created by masters with diminutive production but gargantuan horological expertise. This particular story involves a watch brand, a trip to Switzerland, and what is normally a very casual thing: lunch.
As the Naissance d’une Montre project will be concluded when the eleven timepieces are completed, Time Aeon, whose main objective is to perpetuate the art of handmade mechanical watchmaking, had invited three students from three different watchmaking schools to learn the handmade way of working in horology – on display at SIHH 2017. Here, Philippe Dufour talks to Marc-André Deschoux of The Watches TV to explain.
Anyone who visits online watch forums with any frequency very likely comes across at least a few heated discussions of “finishing,” a topic that seems to fascinate, and divide, enthusiasts. What is it and why are opinions divided?
The short documentary film ‘Time Piece’ features two of the world’s best living watchmakers, Philippe Dufour and Vianney Halter, and provides insight into what makes the watches by these masters so special.
Some meals are memorable for the food, some for the company, and some for a watch at the table. And then there are those meals that hit the ball right out of the park by getting top marks in all three. Make up any story you like to explain how a very contemporary De Bethune DB28 and a very traditional Philippe Dufour Simplicity came to be sharing a bowl of molten cheese in the Swiss Jura mountains.
I love independent watchmaking and independent watchmakers; one of my great joys as a collector is having the feeling that, in a small way, I am supporting their efforts.
So I put some thought into why independent watchmakers struggle in a business sense and how they can remain relevant in changing market situations.