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.
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.
It’s pretty interesting to us to find out what you like to read most, and we hope that it’s interesting for you to read, too – particularly at the end of the old year. For this reason, we bring you the top ten most-clicked posts of 2015 on Quill & Pad. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order.
Now, it seems fairly evident that we are on the down slope of either a cyclical correction in prices or, if one takes a less optimistic view, a permanent loss of watch value as the mechanical timepiece industry faces a variety of challenges and potential disruptions. So what’s a collector to do? And what lessons can we draw, both from recent watch auction results and the history of other luxury categories, to guide us?
It’s no secret: I’m an immense admirer of Philippe Dufour. Part of greatness, of course, is leaving a legacy; not only through one’s works, but in the skills and inspiration passed on to those who follow, which Dufour has liberally done. But who, if anyone, will history regard as the lineal heir to the Dufour tradition? I’ve reached what may seem a counterintuitive conclusion: Romain Gauthier.
I deliberately wrote the headline as “Why We Are In A Golden Age For Appreciating Superlative Hand-Finishing . . . ” because, the fact is that if many people do not appreciate superlative hand-finishing, then fewer will pay for superlative hand-finishing, so there is likely to be less superlative hand-finishing on offer. So what does any of this mean for the future of superlatively hand-finished timepieces?
Ah, Paris! City of Lights, Paname, Babylon on the Seine – no matter how one refers to it, there is nothing remotely like it. For the watch collector, it’s a great place to visit as well with boutiques aplenty, some owned and operated by the major brands; high-end mega-stores like Bucherer; and smaller independent retailers like Chronopassion and Dubail. Recently, I took a quick weekend trip to Paris and while there I took the opportunity to pack in as much fun as possible. Come along with me and join in!
For this edition of Behind the Lens, I’m sharing a series of photographs of one of the great watches of our time, the Philippe Dufour Duality. The Duality, with its linked twin escapements, was originally planned for production in a series of 25 watches. In a turn of events that seems almost unbelievable today, a lack of initial demand eventually led Dufour to limit production to just nine pieces, one of which is owned by a good friend of mine.
For the past five years, I’ve had the delightful experience of traveling to Switzerland with several friends to experience SIHH week, before finishing up with a Friday night dinner at which we review our impressions of the week by answering what watch we thought was best of show at SIHH; what was the worst watch; what current-production watch that we saw at any event during the week would we buy if money were no object; and what current-production watch did we see that we would buy with our own money?