8 Rare Timepieces By Independent Watchmakers Featuring In The Phillips November 2018 Geneva Auction
Phillips Watch Auction: EIGHT takes place November 10 and 11, 2018 in Geneva, and it features no less than eight rare watches by independent watchmakers that are well worth looking into. These include F.P. Journe, Kari Voutilainen, Vianney Halter, Mr. Daniel Roth, Richard Daners, Laurent Ferrier, and De Bethune.
While many watch connoisseurs know Daniel Roth, hardly any know the name Jean Daniel Nicolas – yet they are one and the same. After Roth sold his boutique brand to The Hour Glass (who in turn sold it to Bulgari), the watchmaker at home in Le Sentier set up a new workshop in 2001 utilizing the trilogy of names belonging to his wife Nicole, son Jean-Daniel, and his own.
The Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon in both round and shaped cases is currently the only timepiece Roth makes. Collectors wishing to commission one can expect an extremely long waiting period as Roth makes only three pieces a year.
Hand-manufactured and hand-finished using traditional techniques, the platinum case watch is visually characterized by its guilloche dial, blued steel hands, and extraordinary tourbillon architecture including a mirror-polished “bat wing” bridge at center stage.
Our Ian Skellern happens to own one of these rare-as-hen’s-teeth masterpieces, which you can thoroughly read about in The Watch That Changed My Life: The Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon By Daniel Roth.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/JEAN-DANIEL-NICOLAS.
Quick Facts Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon
Case: three-piece clipped (not screwed) platinum case, 39 mm
Movement: hand-crafted, manually wound two-minute tourbillon caliber, 60-hour power reserve, two spring barrels
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve indicator
Retail price: CHF 180,000 in platinum
Limitation: rare as hen’s teeth
Auction estimate: CHF 50,000-70,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 110,000
Considered one of the founders of modern independent creative horology, Vianney Halter has been one of the most disruptive watchmakers to grace the horological art form.
Launching in 2000, Halter christened his steampunk UFO the “Classic” for its round case. But of course there was a twist: the bezel was inspired by the portholes of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus and features rivets for each hour marker. This is completed by a multilevel architectural dial featuring an elegant mix of frosted and polished surfaces. Tempered blue hands make for the proverbial cherry on top.
Turning the watch over, we find a full-sized sapphire crystal rotor enabling a full view of the beautifully finished movement.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/VIANNEY-HALTER.
Quick Facts Vianney Halter Classic
Case: 36.5 mm, pink gold
Movement: automatic caliber (base Lémania 8810) with “mysterious” sapphire crystal central rotor and twin spring barrels
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 250 pieces total in pink, yellow, and white gold
Estimate: CHF 15,000-25,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 37,500
Richard Daners, who passed away in 2018, was a talented independent watchmaker executing unique commissions for Swiss retailer Gübelin. He is famous for his restoration work as well as creating ultra-complicated, unique timepieces, his specialty being the tourbillon: he hand-created 14 different tourbillon timepieces for Gübelin during his lifetime. In 1997 he received a Prix Gaïa, known as the Nobel Prize of the watch industry.
This pocket watch from 1988, a unique piece as confirmed by an extract from Gübelin’s archives, indicates the time using just one hand on a 24-hour scale, obliging the owner to trigger the minute repeater to know the exact minute count.
The polychrome flinqué enamel dial is without a doubt the focal point of this watch with its vibrant yellow, orange, red, mauve, blue, green, and yellow colors, each graduating in hue to mimic the color spectrum. The enamel artist undertook the painstaking and almost impossible task of applying each color individually, with the delicate result of each color subtly morphing into the next without any overlap.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/GUBELIN/CH080218/11.
Quick Facts Richard Daners Minute Repeater for Gübelin
Case: diamond-set yellow gold, 43.5 mm
Dial: polychrome flinqué enamel
Movement: manual winding Caliber 13”’ based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre ébauche, 29 jewels
Functions: 24-hour single hand, minute repeater
Limitation: one unique piece
Estimate: CHF 15,000-25,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 20,000
With the launch of the Vingt-8 line, Kari Voutilainen introduced his first fully developed in-house movement. While it looks simple, looks can be deceiving: a complex direct impulse escapement enables a more constant distribution of energy. In addition, the movement’s extra-large balance allows fine regulation of the watch using a rare balance spring system boasting two curves: an exterior Breguet overcoil and an internal Grossmann curve.
This movement is a work of art, each individual component painstakingly hand-finished in Voutilainen’s Môtiers workshop.
As part of the 25-piece limited edition for Swiss watch retailer A l’Emeraude, the watch originally came with a glossy black dial. However, the owner requested and obtained a blue dial featuring three different hand-guilloche patterns. Voutilainen also created a new set of white gold satin-brushed hands specifically for this timepiece. The masculine 39 mm platinum case is topped off by Voutilainen’s signature teardrop lugs.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/VOUTILAINEN.
Quick Facts Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8 Power Reserve
Case: 39 mm, platinum
Movement: manually wound Caliber V-8R with direct-impulse escapement and extra-large balance
Functions: hours, minutes; power reserve indication
Limitation: 25 pieces for Swiss watch retailer A l’Emeraude
Remark: comes with a second dial
Auction estimate: CHF 35,000-55,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 81,250
De Bethune is one of the originators of creative contemporary independent watchmaking. Since its founding by David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet, De Bethune has crafted 30 in-house calibers and registered a dozen patents.
For genius watchmaker Flageollet, innovation is the tradition of watchmaking – which is why he takes an almost scientific approach to creating twenty-first-century haute horlogerie. The movements he makes have an architecture and finish that are hardly recognizable as belonging to watchmaking.
This DB25L features a hand-guilloche silver dial that puts the spotlight on the boutique brand’s three-dimensional spherical moon phase display made of titanium and platinum. It is accurate to 122 years.
De Bethune offers complementary servicing of this watch to the winning bidder.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/DE-BETHUNE/CH080218/143.
Quick Facts De Bethune DB25L
Case: 44.5 mm, white gold
Movement: manual-winding Caliber DB25 with five-day power reserve, self-regulating twin spring barrels, titanium/platinum balance wheel, silicon/platinum balance, triple pare-chute shock absorber, silicon escape wheel
Functions: hours, minutes; spherical moon phase
Auction estimate: CHF 15,000-25,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 35,000
Inspired by the work of eighteenth-century watchmaker Antide Janvier, Journe first created a pocket watch using the resonance phenomenon in 1983, followed by a wristwatch version 17 years later.
F.P. Journe’s Chronomètre à Resonance was the world’s first wristwatch to harness the phenomenon of resonance. Comprising two independent balances beating in opposition to even out each other’s discrepancies, the movement theoretically enjoys greater accuracy. The Chronomètre à Resonance is simultaneously a useful dual time watch.
This Chronomètre à Resonance is part of a limited edition of only 12 pieces launched in 2006 to mark the second anniversary of F.P. Journe’s Tokyo boutique. Different from the regular collection edition, it features striking differentiated design elements such as a titanium case with a pink gold crown and a ruthenium-coated dial with pink gold hands.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/F-P-JOURNE/CH080218/13.
Quick Facts F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Resonance Tokyo Boutique Edition
Case: 40 mm, titanium
Movement: manually wound Caliber 1499.3 with two independent balances, 18-karat rose gold plates and bridges
Functions: 2 x hours, minutes, seconds (can also be used as two independent time zones); power reserve
Limitation: 12-piece edition celebrating 2006 second anniversary of F.P. Journe’s Tokyo boutique
Auction estimate: CHF 30,000-50,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 100,000
In less than 20 years, François-Paul Journe has established himself as one of the most prominent living independent watchmakers.
Fascinated by tourbillon watches, Journe transposed Abraham-Louis Breguet’s whirlwind invention into a wristwatch, but improved upon it by adding a remontoire system – a constant force device enabling greater accuracy.
He finished his first prototype in 1991, and to finance the project and create a version that would be commercially viable – ultimately launched in 1999 – Journe used a subscription system for his first 20 tourbillon wristwatches, each individually numbered on the dial and offered to close friends and clients.
This tourbillon bears the number 16/20 and is in almost brand-new condition as its owner, a friend of Journe’s, is a pocket watch collector who purchased the watch to support his friend’s new venture. He never wore it, though.
Owning one of Journe’s original subscription tourbillons is like owning a piece of horological history and an opportunity that rarely presents itself as the present model is only the fourth to ever grace the international auction market – and the third to be offered by Phillips.
You may also enjoy Behind The Lens: The F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/F-P-JOURNE/CH080218/14.
Quick Facts F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Souscription
Case: platinum, 38 mm
Movement: manually wound Caliber 1498 with constant force regulated by remontoir d’égalité
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds (on tourbillon cage); power reserve indicator
Production years: 1999 through 2004
Limitation: subscription edition of 20 pieces
Original price: originally about $120,000 in platinum
Auction estimate: CHF 120,000-180,000
Price achieved (including fees): 468,500
Laurent Ferrier, who spent close to 37 years in product development at Patek Philippe, presented his first watch in 2010: the Galet Classique was a superb classic timepiece with a gorgeous hand-decorated tourbillon movement. The namesake’s vision of elegant designs and superbly finished movements have made the brand a favorite among connoisseurs.
This titanium Galet Traveller is one of a limited run of only 15 watches made for online retailer and blog Hodinkee; this one is number 10.
Two buttons on the case side move the hour hand backward or forward by one hour to set time in a new time zone; home time is elegantly displayed in the window at 9 o’clock. This limited edition watch features details exclusive to the model and not found in other Galet Travellers such as a polished titanium case, the removal of the subsidiary second dial and date window, a deep blue enamel dial center, and a ruthenium-plated movement.
The Galet Traveller’s movement features a double direct-impulse natural escapement invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late eighteenth century using two nickel-phosphorous (LIGA) escape wheels and a silicon pallet lever.
This marks the first time that a Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller for Hodinkee is offered on the international auction market. Laurent Ferrier offers full complementary servicing of this watch to the winning bidder.
For more on the original edition of the Galet Traveller, please see Glowing Above And Below: The Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveler Boréal.
For more information, please visit www.phillips.com/detail/LAURENT-FERRIER.
Quick Facts Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller for Hodinkee
Case: 41 x 12,64 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber 230.01 with micro rotor and natural-style escapement with silicon and LIGA elements; ruthenium plating
Functions: hours, minutes; second time zone via 24-hour disk
Limitation: 15-piece edition for Hodinkee
Auction estimate: CHF 30,000-60,000
Price achieved (including fees): CHF 71,250
You may also enjoy:
The Watch That Changed My Life: The Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon By Daniel Roth
Behind The Lens: The F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain.
Understanding Resonance, Featuring The F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance, Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance, And Haldimann H2 Flying Resonance
Glowing Above And Below: The Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveler Boréal
You Are There: Visiting The Vianney Halter Workshop
Is Independent Creative Horology Dead?
Also published on Medium.