Philippe Dufour - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Philippe Dufour
    Year: Circa 2000
    Movement No: 000
    Model Name: Simplicity "Prototype 000"
    Material: 18k pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 11’”, 21 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k pink gold Philippe Dufour pin buckle
    Dimensions: 34mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Philippe Dufour fitted box, International Guarantee and Certificate of Origin dated November 2016 and outer packaging. Further accompanied by a copy of a letter by Yoshi Isogai. the Preseident of Shellman Co. Ltd. explaining the history of the watch.

  • Catalogue Essay

    It is with a sense of pride yet humility that we present what is most probably one of independent watchmaking’s most historically important and seminal pieces: Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity prototype number 000.

    After having created two extremely complex wristwatches: the Grande & Petite Sonnerie and the Duality, Philippe Dufour set out to prove to the world that a simple 3 hand watch made with no corners cut could be a work of art unto itself.

    With this model he wanted to prove that simple could also mean sophisticated, with a movement architecture designed specially by the Master himself, to demonstrate hand finish and decoration that modern horology had not yet witnessed.

    Rewind to Baselworld watch fair 2000 where Dufour presented the aptly named Simplicity, a 34mm watch in either gold or platinum with either a white lacquer dial or a guilloché one (rapidly after he introduced a 37mm case version). Dufour presented 3 prototype Simplicity models numbered 000, 2 in white gold with a guilloché dial (one was Dufour's personal watch and the other was later gifted to Mr. Yoshi Isogai, the President of Shellman Co, Dufour's distributor for Japan). The last one -the present Simplicity - was in pink gold with white lacquer dial. Making the present example unique.

    Interestingly the 3 prototypes featured a Gyromax balance but the production pieces featured a screw regulated balance, furthermore the dials were only marked Swiss where as production pieces also featured the dial maker's name : Metalem, making the present timepiece even rarer.

    After the fair the present pink gold prototype number 000 was given to Shellman Co. as a display piece for presentation to potential clients.

    The Japanese market definitively had become enamored with the Swiss watchmaker, in interviews Dufour recalls his visits to Japan and being treated like a rock star by enthusiasts and collectors. The national TV channel NHK had prepared a documentary featuring Dufour’s work already back in 1995!

    The Simplicity when released seemed to be a perfect watch for them and almost 50% of the Simplicity watches made went to Japan.

    The present Simplicity number 000 was thus delivered to Shellman in 2000 and remained an exhibition piece not for sale until the current owner managed to convince Shellman Co management – with the approval of Philippe Dufour himself - to sell him the watch as the Master was no longer taking orders at the time.

    The watch having been delivered without any accessories Philippe Dufour supplied a box and a certificate dated on the date of the sale: 2016.

    The arrival on the market of a Philippe Dufour Simplicity is an important almost transcendental moment but having an original prototype display piece numbered 000 that was never intended to be sold featuring a Gyromax balance that was never used in the production pieces make the arrival on the market of the present piece an epiphanous event that will never be repeated.

  • 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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The only known and historically important pink gold prototype display wristwatch, numbered 000

Circa 2000
34mm Diameter
Case, dial movement and buckle signed

CHF400,000 - 800,000 

Sold for CHF660,400

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88


The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023