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Aurel Bacs: “We each brought our best expertise to the...
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Aurel Bacs: “We each brought our best expertise to the table”

Friday, 22 May 2015
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Fabrice Eschmann
Freelance journalist

“Don't believe all the quotes you read online!”

“In life as in watchmaking, it takes many encounters to make a story.”

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2 min read

Aurel Bacs reveals why he left Christie’s and explains his strategy with Phillips.

Cast your mind back to November 10th 2013. After Christie’s extravagant “Lesson One” sale in Geneva for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Daytona (“Lesson One” sends Rolex into orbit), Aurel Bacs, the star of the evening, took his final bow after a decade-long career with the auction house. All kinds of wild guesses were made as to the reason for his departure at the top of his game, and what his next move would be. Eighteen months later he returns, as passionate as ever.

Why did you leave Christie's at end 2013?

I didn’t agree with the strategy to always want to sell more. I prefer a “less is more” approach: only take the best of the best. Quality over quantity.

What have you been up to since then?

First I took a few months off to travel with my wife, Livia. Then in June 2014 she and I set up our own company, Bacs & Russo. In November we started putting together Phillips watch department.

Bacs & Russo is one entity.
Aurel Bacs
So you're not employed by Phillips…

No. Bacs & Russo is one entity, Phillips is another, and Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo is yet another.

Why not simply join the auction house?

It was important that I remain independent. My wife and I want to make ourselves available to every collector, to give advice, valuations, and for private sales. With Phillips, we each brought our best expertise to the table.

Traditional values are still a priority for the truly passionate collector.
Aurel Bacs
What ambitions do you have with Phillips?

To prove that in the world of collecting, nothing matters more than the human element and the object itself. Despite all the technology, the internet and the apps, traditional values are still a priority for the truly passionate collector. They are even prepared to pay more for real services and true expertise.

What is your involvement in this new watch department?

I put all the teams together, in the United States, England, Geneva and Hong Kong. For this session, I was also involved at every stage, from sourcing the watches to selection, estimates and presentation. My personality comes through in all of this.

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