At auction, a mint condition, mid-century Patek Philippe wristwatch of any style is guaranteed to start a frenzy among collectors. But add the name Serpico y Laino, a famed Caracas retailer, to the dial, and all bets are off—the signature instantly makes the timepiece in question rarer, more sought after and infinitely more valuable.
(Don’t believe us? Check out the story behind this Serpico y Laino-signed Patek Philippe Ref. 2499. It sold for $3,252,500 last fall—double its low estimate.)
The allure of “double-signed” watches is so great that alongside its 10th Geneva auction—to be held Nov. 9 at the city’s Hotel La Reserve—Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo will present an entire sale based around the theme.
“Double Signed: A Celebration of the Finest Partnerships of Manufacturers and Retailers” will feature “some of the rarest, most coveted and unusual double-signed timepieces with a goal to surprise and amaze collectors looking for more than a watch but a piece of horological history,” according to Aurel Bacs, senior consultant of Bacs & Russo and Alex Ghotbi, head of sale at Phillips Geneva.
Collectors should be on the lookout for prestige watches—mostly by Rolex and Patek Philippe—signed by the likes of Gobbi Milano, Gübelin, Hausmann & Co., Linz, Tiffany & Co. and, of course, Serpico y Laino, all highly sought-after models not only for their rarity but for the stories implicit in their exotic and glamorous pedigrees. (In Phillips’ words, the key to these timepieces is “the discreet hint of their glorious, cultured and worldly past.”)
Watches of this ilk hark back to a time when retailers were the global gatekeepers for an insular Swiss industry, which relied on agents worldwide to import its mechanical timepieces and introduce them to a discerning clientele.
The auctioneer is currently accepting consignments for the sale. Highlights will be presented this summer.