Opened in 2006, Vacheron Constantin's Les Cabinotiers department is something of a world apart. It renews with the tradition of bespoke watches and one-of-a-kind pieces, offered as a service to collectors.
The first exhibition to be jointly curated by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and the Michelangelo Foundation, both of which recently relocated to a historic building in downtown Geneva, highlights rare crafts and the "singular talents" who perpetuate these skills.
During his reign (1788-1808), King Charles IV of Spain built up an important collection of clocks, which he acquired from the main centres of European clockmaking. The monarch, who had inherited a traditional royal passion for clocks, took a keen interest in the art of clockmaking in his youth and even repaired and produced movements using the tools that he kept for this purpose in a workshop inside the royal palace.
The Imperial Fountain limited edition series by De Bethune couldn't be more topical. In June, two of the twelve bronze heads from a fountain at the Summer Palace, the imperial residence looted in the nineteenth century, were returned to China. The same twelve sculptures that inspired the twelve horological artworks by De Bethune.
Christie's and Sotheby's have ended their spring season in New York, where Christie's sent waves through the collecting community with a Grande Complication by Patek Philippe that rewrites the Manufacture's history. It fetched USD 2.25 million.
In George Daniels, A Master Watchmaker & His Art, Michael Clerizo paints the portrait of the self-taught English master watchmaker. A vintage-car racer, photographer, musician and writer, he lived his life as one long adventure.
While Patek Philippe again claimed the most valuable lot at the spring auction session in Geneva, Rolex confirmed its ascension with a new world record at Christie's. In contrast, several dozen lots went unsold.
The appeal of the Geneva brand never stops growing, a situation that partly reflects the peaks that Patek Philippe has already reached. The heart is torn between the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon offered by Antiquorum (estimated at CHF 1 - 1.5 million) and the Rolex split-seconds chronograph, ref. 4113 presented by Christie’s (estimated at CHF 700,000 - 1.2 million). But lovers of antique watchmaking will have to travel to Frankfurt and the Dr. Crott Auction house.