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PROPERTY OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER

Gene Clark
A UNIQUE 18K PINK GOLD OPENFACE FIFTY SECOND TOURBILLON WATCH WITH UNUSUAL HACK FEATURE  CIRCA 2000 NO 32
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 62,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
110

PROPERTY OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER

Gene Clark
A UNIQUE 18K PINK GOLD OPENFACE FIFTY SECOND TOURBILLON WATCH WITH UNUSUAL HACK FEATURE  CIRCA 2000 NO 32
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 62,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Watches and Clocks

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Gene Clark
A UNIQUE 18K PINK GOLD OPENFACE FIFTY SECOND TOURBILLON WATCH WITH UNUSUAL HACK FEATURE  CIRCA 2000 NO 32
• gilt movement with lever escapement, unusual bi-metallic escape wheel composed of blued steel center wheel with polished steel teeth, the openwork cock, balance wheel and tourbillon carriage all polished steel, balance wheel with inset timing weights, tourbillon revolving once every fifty seconds, the movement visible through sapphire crystal protective plate, unusual hack setting feature that stops the carriage at exactly 60 seconds • silvered dial with sunburst engine-turned center, Roman numerals, subsidiary seconds, blued steel hands • pink gold case with polished back, milled band, Breguet-style chain and double ended gold ratchet key • with original letter dated 22 January 2000 from Gene Clark detailing the mechanical specifications of no. 32.
diameter 49 mm
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Catalogue Note

Accompanied by original display case and setting pin.

Gene Clark (1948-2006) has been recognized as one of the most skilled American Independant watchmakers in the world and arguably the finest in the United States.

Highly regarded during his lifetime, Clark was awarded the first Henry B. Fried Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Watch and Clockmakers Institute in 2002. The award was in fact created to honor Clark. It remains today the Institute's highest honor and since 2002, has only been awarded two more times.

Gene Clark became interested in horology in 1974 following a career as a restorer of antique sporting arms and a maker of gun locks. Self-taught, Clark began restoring watches in 1976. He started making his masterful tourbillon watches in the style and tradition of Breguet in 1986.

No. 32 was the last tourbillon Clark made. The watch is accompanied by a signed letter from him dated, 22 Jan 2000. In the letter, Clark states that No.32 is his latest piece and comments, "As I think you will agree, it is the best one yet."

No. 32 was also the smallest tourbillon Clark produced. It features a different design from his others, including a carriage that revolves once every 50 seconds rather than the typical 60 seconds. The movement is also protected by a "sheet of sapphire, perforated for winding and setting."  His accompanying letters provides instructions for winding and setting the watch, and it further explains the hack feature. 

The small size of No. 32 can be traced to Clarks' interest in making a wristwatch tourbillon. To that end, he completed a minute repeating wristwatch in 2001. This wristwatch was made with the assistance of other craftsman and not totally his design, however. Clark found the work difficult, and he would write afterward that he would never make another one. 

There are approximately seven tourbillon watches known by Clark. Sotheby's has had the honor of offering four of the seven pieces for sale, including the present example, No. 32. Clark did not use a consecutive numbering system, making No "32" a misnomer. He completed No. 5 in 1994, seven years after he completed No.7 in 1987, for instance. No. 32 is the final of the only seven masterpieces thought to exist.  

Clark worked alone, and each hand-finished watch took several years to complete. No. 7 took Clark four years to finish, from 1983 to 1987. No. 4, a far more complex piece, also took four years to complete, from 1987 to 1991. For an illustration of No. 7, see Sotheby's, New York, June 22, 1988, lot 732, and for No.4, see Sotheby's, New York, October 27, 1998, lot 449. For No. 5 and No.1, his minute repeating wristwatch, see Sotheby's, New York, 2006, lot 321 and 322.

Like his other watches, Clark completed No. 32 in his Colorado workshop. In addition to fabricating the movement, case dial, hands, chain and key, he also smelted the gold for the case in order to get the color to his satisfaction. The only feature that Clark outsourced was the engraving, which was supplied by Lynton Mckenzie.

 

 

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