S otheby’s is pleased to present Important Watches Part II, running from the 28 October until the 11 November alongside the Important Watches live auction on 10 November. This sale includes an exciting selection of contemporary and vintage wristwatches from various renowned makers such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.
The last independent, family-owned watchmaker still operating in Geneva today, Patek Philippe is a lodestar of horology. Founded in 1839, the brand has led the charge in numerous watchmaking breakthroughs, including the introduction of a keyless winding system in 1845 and the first perpetual calendar in 1925. Patek Philippe’s long history of marrying technical excellence with aesthetic elegance has earned the brand bold-faced fans such as Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, and Pablo Picasso.
More than a mere watch brand, Rolex is international shorthand for quality. Hyperbolic as that may sound, it’s no exaggeration: based on Google statistics, Rolex regularly ranks among the top five luxury brands worldwide and is consistently the most searched-for watchmaker. Of those searches, Rolex’s single most sought-after model is the Submariner. What the Birkin is to handbags, what the Bugatti Veyron is to supercars, the Submariner is to watches. In plainer terms, it is the most coveted watch in the world.
Founded in 1875 in the Swiss village of Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet has long been one of the most esteemed watchmakers in the world, priding itself on ancestral expertise and drive for innovation. Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet were respectively fourth and fifth generation watchmakers with successful careers in the industry. When Audemars and Piguet joined forces, the emergence of industrial machinery and serial production had already begun its encroachment upon traditional watchmaking techniques. During these times, the two friends held to hand-crafting complicated mechanisms and established themselves as masters of ultra-complicated pocket watches.
Audemars Piguet played a pioneering role in the development of the wristwatch, serving at the foundation of the brand’s experimentation in form and function.
Quite significantly, they also lent their horological expertise in crafting the movements of timepieces for women, who in the fashion of the times wore them as pendants, brooches or rings – and by extension, the wristwatch which was regarded as ladies’ jewellery. These were all painstaking technical feats in miniature. In the broader context, it was thus that Audemars Piguet played a pioneering role in the development of the wristwatch, serving at the foundation of the brand’s experimentation in form and function.