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“It’s like an extreme sport. You have to know when to...

“It’s like an extreme sport. You have to know when to stop!”

Wednesday, 06 November 2013
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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

For the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Daytona, Christie’s is holding a special sale on Sunday 10th November. It comes at the same time as the announcement that its creator, Aurel Bacs, is leaving the auction house.

As a fitting celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Daytona, the International Head of Christie’s Watch Department, Aurel Bacs, has put together a themed sale, the auction house’s first in ten years. Titled Rolex Daytona – Lesson One, it offers fifty exceptional examples of the legendary chronograph wristwatch, and will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, from 8pm on Sunday 10th November. The sale will also be something of a goodbye for Mr Bacs who, after ten years at Christie’s, has announced his departure at the end of the year.

Fifty models

With estimates ranging from CHF 10,000 to CHF 600,000, each of the watches in the sale has been selected from the most distinguished collections around the world. In addition to the very first Daytona, launched in 1963 when it was still known simply as the Cosmograph (lot 1, est. CHF 40,000-80,000), the sale includes a model made in 1974 for the Sultan of Oman (lot 26, est. CHF 300,000-600,000), another worn by Jean-Paul Belmondo in crime film Peur sur la Ville in 1975, and a number with gem-set cases, all made to order.

Christie’s Rolex, lot 1, Rolex Cosmograph ref. 6239 (1963), CHF 40,000-80,000 © Christie’s
Christie’s Rolex, lot 1, Rolex Cosmograph réf. 6239 (1963), CHF 40’000-80’000 © Christie’s

This “lesson one” from Christie’s expert may turn out to be the last. On October 18th, the auction house issued a release announcing that Aurel Bacs would be standing down at the end of the year. The statement emphasised the “key role” which Mr Bacs has played over the past ten years, and the profound influence he has had.

"No projects"

For observers all around the world, Aurel Bacs is a man at the top of his game and his departure has surprised many. Particularly as he admits to having “no particular projects” for the immediate future. “After selling 25,000 watches for CHF 1 billion over the past ten years and all over the world, the time has come for me to hand over to the next generation. It’s like an extreme sport. You have to know when to stop! But I stay loyal to Christie’s. I’m not leaving to take up a rival offer. I’ll take a break in 2014 and then I’ll start afresh, do something new.”

> A long-awaited return and a surprise departure mark this autumn’s auctions in Geneva

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