Suspicions about Antiquorum’s financial health were partly laid to rest a few days ago when the auctioneer confirmed the arrival of a new investment partner, FIDES Business Partner, a Zurich-based institutional investment firm. Specialising in mid-size companies with a revenue base of CHF 30 to 100 million, this is FIDES’ first investment in the watch market, it was announced. No figures were released.
Aurel Bacs’ next move is also coming under scrutiny this season. He was spotted at different sales, bidding for a number of lots, and is said to have acquired several big-ticket items, including the Patek Philippe made for Henry Graves Jr., sold at Christie’s for CHF 1.205 million, and the gold and enamel snuffbox signed Piguet & Capt, which fetched CHF 749,000 at Sotheby’s. Word is that Christie’s former star is about to join Phillips Auctioneers Limited – previously Phillips, de Pury & Company Limited, an auction house co-founded by Simon de Pury – at the head of the watch department. Says Bacs, “My wish is to have complete independence. I can’t make any comments at the present time as there is nothing official yet. But there will be in a month.” Watch this space.