Welcome to The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Welcome to The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

- By Alex Ghotbi

The past months have been unprecedented for all of us around the world and the often used phrase, “business as usual”, has definitely lost its meaning. We have all been challenged like never before, and patterns that we believed were carved in stone, have shifted. Some members of our community, or their loved ones, have unfortunately suffered a great deal and our hearts go out to all of those impacted by the dreaded virus. While in confinement, we all had to adapt to a new normal, learning what was really meaningful to us: rediscovering playing with our children, listening to the birds early in the morning, baking with loved ones, reading a book we have already read numerous times, and even after the 20th Zoom meeting, the welcoming smile of a colleague or a friend.

For us, a most amazing surprise was the large amount of phone calls and inquiries from experienced, seasoned, and novice watch collectors reaching out to us, not to inquire about the market or prices but to simply share friendship , and solidarity but also to indulge in our shared passion. Watches are more than just precious objects. They provide a sense of belonging…belonging to a community, of friendship amongst people who may have never met but share common values and who want to support each other in any way they can. At the same time watches have offered a welcome and much-needed escape, serving as our “happy place” during these challenging times.

One key takeaway from this period has been the resilience of mankind, its capacity to adapt, react, be creative, and its ability to stand united. This period will change the way we live, the way we think and the way we consume, and at Phillips Watches, we are firm believers that attributes such as honesty, rarity, and craftsmanship will be even more relevant and coveted going forward.

This sale is also the first of this new decade and allows us to look back upon the past twenty years with a definitive conclusion: watch collecting is not a trend…it is here to stay. With each new sale, we see the arrival on the market of new clientele, some younger with a huge appetite to learn, but all with a yearning to keep this beautiful hobby of ours alive and thriving.

This desire to own a piece of horological history also reflects an aspiration to transcend time and to leave a personal legacy as watches are one of the extremely rare objects that are perfectly sustainable; their energy comes from human intervention and no programed obsolescence applies as they are made to last generations and be passed on as an heirloom. If you are reading these lines life has quite likely returned to (a new) normal. We at Phillips Watches hope that you and your loved ones are unscathed or fully recovered from the virus, and now have the peace of mind to appreciate what you will discover in the following pages: watches of the highest quality, rarity, collectability and desirability. A potent mix of rare modern watches and incredibly fascinating vintage models, our Geneva Watch Auction XI offers the type of diversity that adds color, depth, and balance to collecting.

We at Phillips have the honor and privilege of offering in this sale, four incredible Patek Philippe wristwatches from Jean-Claude Biver’s personal collection. Few in the watchmaking industry epitomize tradition and innovation the way Mr. Biver does. Mr. Biver is a titan in our field, with his fingers firmly on the pulse of the industry and to whom so many of us owe a debt of gratitude for his role in what 21st century watchmaking looks like today.

As you’ll see, there are too many watches of importance, beauty, rarity and originality in this catalogue to mention here. I therefore invite you to take your time, put your feet up, flip through the following pages, and discover the incredible selection. I hope our catalogue will give you as much pleasure as it gave us when putting it together for you.

Our Geneva Watch Auction XI originally scheduled for May 9-10 was postponed to June 27-28 and the gathering of over 200 tiempieces and the subsequent catalogue procedures (research, evaluations, photography, footnotes etc…) were all done in the midst of these uncertainties.

For this reason, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Phillips Watches teams, especially my colleagues in Geneva, for their never fading enthusiasm, incredible dedication and passion in preparing this catalogue. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. I would also like to express my gratitude to all our loyal clients for their trust in consigning their valuable watches in these troubled times knowing well that, like always, we have their best interest at heart and that we would treat their watches as our very own.