Philippe Dufour - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Philippe Dufour
    Year: 1989
    Movement No: N°1
    Model Name: Grande & Petite Sonnerie
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, inhouse, 34 jewels
    Dimensions: 60mm Diameter
    Literature: Philippe Dufour is prominently featured in Twelve Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos by Elisabeth Doerr and Ralph Baumgarten pp. 10-25 and in Masters of Contemporary Watchmaking by Michael Clerizo pp. 72-91.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Philippe Dufour set up his workshop in the Vallée de Joux in the mid-1970s to work on the restoration of antique clocks and watches. He soon went to creating movements for large brands and his first movement was horology’s most complex and difficult to implement: The Grande & Petite Sonnerie. He delivered five movements to be housed in a pocket watch with the first being delivered in 1982 and the last one delivered in 1988.

    The Grande & Petite Sonnerie watch is not only a herculean task to achieve, requiring talent, dexterity, experience, a musical ear and even a pinch of folly from the watchmaker, but is also considered the horological Himalaya for collectors.

    A Grande Sonnerie is a timepiece that automatically chimes the hours on every hour and hours and quarters on every quarter, but when on petite sonnerie mode the watch will only chime the passing of the quarters.

    Having delivered five of the most complicated movements to a large brand was not enough for Dufour who wanted complete liberty in expressing his vision of watchmaking, a vision that highlights the master’s love and passion for traditional handmade watchmaking where no corners are cut, where beauty is created for beauty’s sake and where each technical and design choice is relevant.

    Dufour therefore decided to create his own watches bearing his name and logically, his first piece was the Grande & Petite Sonnerie pocket watch in yellow gold and white grand feu enamel dial that we have the pleasure of offering you.

    Whereas the case and dial are understated in design and appearance, the movement is a firework of superlative finishing with an incredible number of interior angles and delightful curves, mirror polished components and perfectly applied Geneva waves. Each component visible or not has been delicately and painstakingly finished by hand. The chimes of the watch are loud, crystalline and similar to the voice of angels singing into one’s ears.

    It took Dufour over 2000 hours to complete this masterpiece and the result is nothing short of astounding.

    The historical, cultural and horological importance of the present pocket watch cannot be underlined enough. Not only is it the only Grande & Petite Sonnerie pocket watch with Phillipe Dufour’s signature on the movement and dial but it is the very first watch bearing the Phillipe Dufour name!

    This is THE watch that not only paved the path for Philippe Dufour to becoming who he is today but also somewhat of a first stone in the temple that independent watchmaking would become.

    The present watch, fresh to the auction market, went to a prominent collection upon completion where it remained, and as such, there are even very few photographs of it. Bearing number 1 and being the only Grande & Petite Sonnerie pocketwatch ever made by Philippe Dufour, it remains unique and a tribute to his incomparable talent.

  • Artist Biography

    Philippe Dufour

    Swiss • 1989

    Philippe Dufour is a modern master creating some of the most coveted timepieces available today. His watches feature clean, classic lines fitted with high-grade in-house movements and stunning finish and polish. His Simplicity model is near-perfect hand craftsmanship, produced entirely in a traditional manner without the use of modern industrial tools. Over a 12-year period he created approximately 200 examples often customized to the client's wishes. Today it is considered one of the finest mechanical time-only timepieces produced. Also highly sought-after is the Duality, a highly complicated masterpiece made in only 9 examples. Dufour worked for some of the top names in watch manufacturing including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and Gerald Genta. In 1978, he opened his own workshop creating all his own parts. He is both the man and the brand, and by keeping his production numbers limited, Dufour maintains absolute control over quality and is therefore considered one of the most important independent watchmakers today.

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A unique, superbly crafted and historically important minute repeating, grande & petite sonnerie pocketwatch in yellow gold

60mm Diameter

CHF400,000 - 800,000 

Sold for CHF2,329,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021