Philippe Dufour’s rare watches are among the most sought-after made by a living independent watchmaker. This fall, some of his rarest pieces will be up for grabs at the same time.
On Thursday, Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo announced that it will sell four Philippe Dufour watches in the Geneva Watch Auction: XIV this November. The lot includes the first-ever Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch in yellow-gold, alongside the Swiss master’s coveted Duality watch in pink gold and a Simplicity reference in platinum. For the first time ever, collectors will be able to bid on a unique Grande & Petite Sonnerie pocket watch in yellow-gold, which completes the set. The auction marks the first time in history that all four watches will be offered by one auction house during a single season.
The watches were previously owned by a private collector who kept them in pristine condition. The unique Grand & Petite Sonnerie pocket watch, lot number one, is the first of these complex watches Dufour made as an independent watchmaker, and the only one to bear his name on the dial. It’s expected to sell for between $436,000 and $872,152.
The Grand & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch in the sale is one of eight Dufour made, and one of only five examples with white enamel dials. The timepiece was the first to bring the difficult-to-master grand and petite sonnerie complication down to wristwatch size, and this example, the first in the series, is expected to sell for between $1,090,000 and $2,180,000. Earlier this month, the third watch in the series sold for $7.63 million, which makes the estimate for this watch feel like small potatoes by comparison.
Dufour’s Duality watch was introduced in 1996 and took inspiration from the so-called school watches made at his alma mater, the Vallée de Joux watchmaking school, in the 1930s. With only nine examples made, the piece is known as the first wristwatch to incorporate a double escapement. (It features two independent balance wheels compensated with a central differential gear that improves accuracy while also countering the effects of gravity.) It’s expected to sell for between $872,142 and $1,744,520.
Last but not least, the sale will feature a Simplicity watch, Dufour’s beloved time-only watch. Though it doesn’t feature an innovative complication, collectors seek them out because they’re finished at perhaps the highest level you’ll see on a three-hand watch. It’s also more common than some of his other work: this one, number 57, is an earlier example of the series. It’s expected to sell for between $272,581 and $545,176.
“We are honored to have been entrusted with this collection from an owner who had the vision and passion to patiently assemble a collection like no other,” said Phillips’s head of watches Alex Ghotbi and Bacs & Russo’s senior consultant Aurel Bacs in a joint statement. “Dufour’s lifetime output is smaller than paintings by masters such as Modigliani and Mannet and for any Dufour connoisseur, this collection represents the Grand Slam of Dufour collecting.”
For more information on the Geneva Watch Auction: XIV and Philippe Dufour’s watches, visit Phillips.com.