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
When a Philippe Dufour is offered it usually is a Simplicity, his hallmark piece and accountable for most of the production since mr. 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 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
Back to Phillips: the four pieces that will be sold at the forthcoming Geneva Watch Auction XIV include the first Grande et Petite Sonnerie made. 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 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, and the estimate of $ 436,000/$ 872,000 is nowhere near what we are expecting as a hammer price.
The third watch is a Duality in pink gold. The Duality was revealed in 1996 as Philippe Dufours first timepiece under his own name, and 9 pieces were ever produced. This is number 8, and the estimated $ 875,000-1,700,000 is in line with a previous example sold at Phillips in 2017.
The fourth is one of the 200 produced Simplicity pieces, number 57 to be precise. As said, the Simplicity is the important fundament of the Dufour oeuvre, and was conceived out of his ambition to create the perfect three-hand watch, both in movement architecture and level of finishing. Simplicity's were produced 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..
The forthcoming auction of 4 unique Philippe Dufour timepieces will be one for the history books and for the record books as well. Keep an eye on further announcements of Phillips Watches if you want to witness this.