Jean-Christophe Sabatier, Chief Product Officer at Ulysse Nardin , will speak about The Freak, one of the Le Locle-based watchmaker’s best known timepieces, at the upcoming Horological Society of New York (HSNY) lecture on Monday, November 7.
Sabatier’s lecture is the latest of the HSNY’s monthly lecture series. It will take place at 7 pm at the General Society Library on 20 West 44th Street in New York.
Sabatier is responsible for the brand’s product range from design of new collections to market distribution. He will discuss how the Freak has been a significant contributor in establishing Ulysse Nardin as an independent integrated manufacture. Sabatier will also discuss its history, cutting-edge components and more. He will be joined by special guest Kris Endress, Ulysse Nardin’s Head Watchmaker.
Doors to the lecture open at 6:00 pm, and the lecture begins promptly at 7:00 pm. Free tickets are required to attend. Click here for additional details.
Zurich-based auction house Ineichen Auctioneers will offer an enticing series of auctions featuring complicated watches during the final quarter of 2022.
First up is an auction on October 29 that features more than thirty watches and will showcase tourbillons and open-worked (skeletonizied) watches. Part two of the series, slated for December 3, will focus on watches with chronograph and date functions.
Notable lots for the October auction include a Vacheron Constantin Les Complications Tourbillon Ref. 30050, an MB&F LM Perpetual, a Girard-Perregaux Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton, a Daniel Roth Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, several stunning Jaeger-LeCoultre complicated pieces, an IWC minute repeater and a pair of Breguet beauties, among others.
“Despite their mechanical complexity, I think tourbillon watches and skeletonized pieces are the most visually pleasing. This auction is purely about joy-inducing aesthetics for me,” says Ineichen Auctioneers CEO Artemy Lechbinsky.
Here’s a peek at a few of the top lots for the October 29 auction.
Vacheron Constantin Les Complications Tourbillon (Ref. 30050/000P-7605)
This early and rare tourbillon (dated 1990-2000) from Vacheron Constantin is cased in platinum 950 with a diameter of 38mm, a thickness of 11.5mm and a sapphire caseback.
Silvered gold dial with Clous de Paris guilloché pattern, Caliber 1760, hand-wound, double barrel. Functions: indication of time in hours and minutes, small seconds hand on tourbillon shaft, power reserve at 12 o’clock. Black leather strap, Vacheron Constantin half Maltese cross-shaped platinum pin buckle. Estimate: CHF 30,000-40,000.
An impressive limited-edition rose gold tourbillon and chronograph wristwatch. Estimated production period: 2013–2019. Case made of 18-karat rose gold, diameter 43mm and 13.4mm thick frames anopen-worked dial, sapphire caseback. Caliber PF354 is manually wound with power reserve up to 65 hours. Functions: indication of hours and minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, tourbillon at 6 o’clock, chronograph with central seconds hand and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. Original Parmigiani Fleurier black leather strap, made by Hermes, Parmigiani Fleurier 18-karat rose gold pin buckle. Limited edition of 30 pieces. Estimate: CHF 30,000 – 40,000.
The complexity of this fully integrated perpetual calendar developed by MB&F and Stephen McDonnell limits the production. The 581-component in-house movement was developed to eliminate the drawbacks of conventional perpetual calendars. It is designed to be user-friendly, ensuring that dates are not skipped or gears jammed. Adjuster pushers automatically deactivate when the calendar changes.
This watch forms part of a collection limited to twenty-five pieces that was launched in 2020. It is presented in a yellow gold case, which contrasts beautifully with the blue detail on the dial. High-end hand finishes that respect the 19th-century style can be admired throughout. The watch is fastened with a black leather strap with 18-karat yellow and white gold MB&F triple folding clasp produced by G&F Chatelain.
The numbered edition 42mm Laureato Flying Tourbillon Skeleton, first introduced in 2017, is produced exclusively in 18-karat gold. It is arguably one of the finest complicated luxury sports watches presented on an integrated bracelet.
Caliber GP09520-0001, which powers this model, is an extremely rare movement for Girard-Perregaux. It is equipped with a flying tourbillon, devoid of a bridge on the dial side, and features a proprietary design normally with three gold bridges. The GP09520-0001 is produced exclusively in the skeletonized version and was the brand’s first self-winding flying tourbillon movement. Estimate: CHF 60,000 to 80,000.
Daniel Roth Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Retrograde Date ‘XV years’ Limited Edition (Ref. 199.Y.70.011.CN.BD)
This watch showcases a rare combination of complications: a perpetual calendar with two retrograde indicators (date and leap year), tourbillon and automatic winding functionality, which are powered by the DR740 caliber. All Ref. 199 sub-references were produced in very limited quantities and precious metals including platinum as seen in the current lot. It was launched in 2004 as a jubilee limited edition to commemorate the brand’s 15th anniversary.
Early Daniel Roth watches are known for their elaborate dials decorated with different guilloché motifs that highlight the placement of his signature blued steel hands as well as double ellipse-shaped Ellipsocurvex cases and haute horlogerie movement finishes.
This piece is one of the first generation (Mk1) releases of the Ref. 199 design. It features a solid dial as well as a guilloché small seconds subdial with three “XV” embossed inscriptions woven into the pattern. Such decoration is atypical of the Daniel Roth style. The presence of a tourbillon is indicated only by the inscription “Tourbillon” on the subdial because it is only visible through the sapphire caseback. There is also an engraved inscription “XV years” on the rim of the caseback. Estimate: CHF 30,000 to 40,000.
Breguet Classique Grande Complication Tourbillon ‘Senza B’ (Ref. 5357PT/1B/9V6)
Thisrare and fine platinum tourbillon wristwatch was most probably produced in 2012. Case made of platinum 950, it measures 39mm by 8.9mm, with a signed crown, sapphire caseback, 18k gold silver-plated dial with hand-made guilloché decoration, recessed hours and minutes sub-dial, Breguet double secret signature between XI and XII and XII and I. The hand-wound caliber 558.1 is hand-engraved with Breguet hairspring. Functions – hours, minutes, tourbillon, small seconds hand on the tourbillon shaft. Black leather strap with Breguet platinum 950 double folding clasp.
This Classique Grande Complication Tourbillon Ref. 5357 was introduced in 2002 as a larger 39mm alternative to the original 35mm Tourbillon Ref. 3357 (initially 3350). Unlike reference 3357, Ref. 5357 featured a new single-layer solid-gold and silvered dial, decorated by hand-made guilloché pattern, with a recessed hours and minutes sub-dial and a round tourbillon aperture, but the same original Breguet’s hand-wound tourbillon caliber 558 (version 558.1).
The reverse side of the movement deserves special attention – it is exquisitely and lavishly engraved by hand, and, moreover, there exists at least five basic engraving generations. The engraving of caliber 558 is done by hand and although it follows one of the 5 basic designs, the engraving is different each time in small details, and therefore any watch is essentially a unique piece. Estimate: CHF 30,000 – 40,000.
Earlier this summer, Zenith hosted collectors and enthusiasts at its Master of Chronographs exhibition in New York. During the special three-day pop-up exhibit and watchmaking clinic, the Swiss watchmaker hosted hands-on demonstrations of chronograph movements and displayed a room full of historical Zenith chronographs.
We spoke with Zenith CEO Julien Tornare during the event to learn more about the purpose of the exhibit. His responses are below.
IW: What do you hope people will learn about Zenith when they see this exhibition?
Julien Tornare: If they know about Zenith, then they probably already know about the El Primero. But they may not know about our history before 1969. My objective is to show that starting from the end of the 19th-Century the race for precision and chronometry began. That’s how we got to the El Primero.
In the 1960s we did not wake up and suddenly decide we were going to make super precise integrated chronographs. No. This started much earlier in the minds of our watchmakers.
This exhibit is to show existence of our heritage and where we got to where we are today.
At the turn-of-the-century, the only argument for the best watches focused on the most precise. In those days precision not only meant accuracy but also security. Sometimes it was a question of life or death, for example in an airplane or in a train it was very important to be precise.
There was no digital backup or satellite at that time. That was the ultimate proof of quality. Zenith has won with so many chronometry prizes, 2,333, out of which 233 or ten percent, were won by the Caliber 135.
Today most clients aren’t going to check the super precision of their watches. During those years this was key and Zenith was the leader. In this exhibition we display this point clearly.
I wish we had more of these. This is unique. When we started the project we begin talking about the commercial versions of the Caliber 135. But the extra-specialized versions of that caliber, which were made strictly for racing contests, will never be done again.
We have only a limited quantity of those. We use these to get them on people’s wrists because we believe this is the best testimony to our incredible past achievements. The remaining pieces we will keep in our museum. All of the recent debut pieces are already sold out.
We will however have one more unique piece later this year with a different material, and a different dial, also by Kari Voutilainen. Phillips will auction that piece at the end of the year.
Many people wrote to me to obtain one of the ten limited-edition pieces. I told them you still have a chance when this piece comes to auction later this year.
Have the Skyline and new Chronomaster debuts met with your sales expectations in stores?
This is a fantastic program, one of the most exciting projects we have started. It is more than a project, it is happening. But we don’t produce those watches so we have to look for them and acquire them. The main challenge is the sourcing. Most of the time we have to find their watches and go to acquire them.
Last year, we acquired between twenty-five and thirty watches and ninety percent of those sold out. So if you go to one of the five Zenith boutiques today where we have these icons, you will see a few, but many of them are empty. Sold out.
We cannot produce these, so this is a great concept but we need to acquire more of the pieces. We are fully prepared with the restoration capabilities.
What are collectors looking for among the vintage Zenith pieces?
They are looking for a nice vintage watch that they know it is fully guaranteed and restored and certified by the brand. Many of them have purchased a vintage watch at auctions in the past. Or they bought them on other resale sites.
And when they receive their watch, it was not working properly. Or they realize much later that some of the parts in those watches are not genuine.
So we thought why not guarantee that you were getting something fully perfect. I’m not excited as much about the revenue from this project, but more about the concept and the message we give to our clients.
What is that message?
The message is that Zenith does commit. We will restore and repair every single watch since day one. You know there are some brands that just will not repair their own watches after twenty or thirty years. I don’t want to do that. I want to be sure that if anybody buys our watches, old or new, we can always restore them.
That is a strong message. The inspiration is there. When one of our employees is wearing an A386 from 1969, and we want to sell a new Chronomaster Original, the speech is right there. Just the presence of the vintage pieces in the stores will help sell the new pieces.
Are the late 1960s pieces currently most in demand among the vintage items?
Yes, primarily the A386, A385, A384. We are just starting to see interest in some of the vintage Defy pieces. The A277, the earlier Chronomaster Sports.
Next year we will begin the new generation of pilot watches, so I expect vintage pilot watches to also come back in demand.
Why should a watch collector today choose a new Zenith Watch?
When you buy a Zenith you buy three things. You’ve buying a brand that has a strong heritage. And when you get to know the brand, our history is so rich. This is a very important and it speaks to our legitimacy.
Second, look at our authenticity. At Zenith I can tell you that all of our stories are authentic. There are other brands that are successful commercially based on good marketing. Do you want to buy a marketing story or a true story?
Finally, we express our history in a very contemporary manner. We have, for example, the big Defy Extreme but also the Caliber 135, which is super elegant and decorated by Kari Voutilainen. We can do both of these things. We have the heritage, we focus on authenticity – and we exist in the 21st-century.
Last month Patrick Getreide, a passionate collector who has spent the past four decades quietly building what is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest privately-owned collections of wrist and pocket watches, made his collection freely available for all to see in a remarkable international touring exhibition.
The OAK Collection exhibition (OAK stands for ‘One of A Kind’) comprises 160 vintage and contemporary museum quality watches, among which are unrepeatable special orders, ultra-rare limited editions, the most valuable examples of their type and the largest number of Patek Philippe pieces once owned by the celebrated collector Henry Graves Jr. to now be held in private hands.
Every watch is in truly perfect condition, with the majority of examples being new or virtually unworn. All are serviced on a regular basis by a highly experienced watch maker whose working life is dedicated to maintaining the collection which, having been patiently gathered and never previously revealed, could fairly be described as one of the watch world’s ‘best kept secrets’.
Tour coming to U.S.
The OAK Collection exhibition was first unveiled in London on May 19 before embarking on a global tour. (We’ll alert our readers about the location and date for the collection’s stop in the United States.)
Getreide is a remarkable individual filled with exquisite passion to watchmaking and fine horology. He has amassed the OAK Collection (which comprises more than 600 pieces in total) and is happy to share the story of why and how he came to covet, and eventually own, many of the finest watches in the world.
“As a young boy at boarding school in Switzerland, I lived among the children of some of the world’s wealthiest people – but all I had was a small, weekly pocket money allowance. I didn’t feel envy, but I did want to be like these people and their parents. It gave me what I call ‘the Count of Monte Cristo syndrome’, a determination to achieve a level of success that would give me freedom to do the things I loved,” Getreide says.
“As soon as I achieved a moderate level of success, I began to buy watches at prices I could afford,” he explains. “Gradually, that amount increased and, little by little, the watches became better and the passion for collecting them became stronger. Perhaps strangely, I never thought of the financial aspect or that values might rise – but, thankfully, I seem to have bought the right ones at the right time,” he explains.
Over the decades Getreide has built up a small, tight-knit network of experts whom he has come to know and trust and who are now the only people through whom he acquires additions to the OAK Collection.
In the early stages of creating it, however, he would seek-out rarities everywhere he went.
“As I traveled the world on business, I would always look for watches – but it was at a flea market in France 35 years ago that I think I acquired my greatest bargain. It was a steel Patek Philippe Reference 130 Sector, and when I saw it, I began to shake.
“I see being able to send the OAK Collection exhibition around the world both as a reward to myself for building it and as a unique opportunity to share it with the many people who are just as passionate about watches as I am, but have not been as fortunate as me in having the time and the means to acquire so many special pieces” he continues, “I really do see owning them as an honor and, with that, comes an obligation to let others enjoy them.”
Showing the collection
Although Getreide has long wanted to show his watches to other enthusiasts, it was his son who originally suggested doing so by means of a global exhibition having spent a lifetime observing his father’s undying passion for horology.
“I have not been involved in acquiring watches for the collection, but I have been on the margins of it for as long as I can remember,” he explains.
“It has taught me that true collectors are a rare breed who simply never lose interest in the subject they love, but only want to learn more about it. There have been many occasions when I have found my father, very late at night or in the early hours of the morning, poring over watch books either alone at his desk or lying in bed, with dozens of reference works spread out around him.
“As a boy, for example, I quickly grew to understand that when he suggested we looked at a few watches on a Saturday afternoon, it would be a case of spending five hours at his side hearing about every detail and every nuance. And as for shopping for watches with him – that was always a painfully embarrassing experience for me, because he would ask endless questions to ensure that whatever he was considering buying met with his exceptional standards. Nothing must have been tampered with, cases must not be polished, dials must not have been retouched. Originality is key and the overall condition must only be pristine. These have always been the golden rules.”
The OAK Collection was displayed at The Design Museum London within a series of bespoke-designed, interconnected rooms that were recreated at each location and have taken the viewer on a tranquil horological journey comprising eleven sections, each of which could be described as a ‘chapter’ of time that encapsulates the Getreide’s appreciation of specific genres of watch, from simple, three-hand models to high complication pieces.
The maker most strongly represented in the exhibition is Patek Philippe. Vintage Patek Philippe models include references once owned by noted individuals including the musician Eric Clapton and the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, as well as pieces that were developed for particular uses or which display the maker’s mastery of rare hand crafts such as enameling and engraving.
Also remarkable is the OAK Collection’s extraordinary holding of Patek Philippe watches that once belonged to the legendary patron Henry Graves Jr, the late banker and railroad tycoon who, between 1922 and 1951, commissioned no fewer than thirty-nine watches from the revered maker.
Of those, only around thirty are believed to have survived, five of which form part of the OAK Collection. The only larger selection of Graves watches belonging to a single entity is that on show at the Patek Philippe museum, which holds thirteen.
The Patek Philippe models in the OAK Collection account for six of the exhibition’s 11 sections, covering Calatrava, Nautilus, World Time and perpetual calendar/ complication models in addition to the aforementioned Graves and rare handcraft pieces.
But while the collector focuses strongly on the work of Patek Philippe, he does not do so exclusively. As a Rolex connoisseur, he has allocated three significant sections of the exhibition to its pieces, and has also dedicated an area to watches made by the ‘new age’ independents, notably Francois-Paul Journe and Kari Voutilainen. Getreide’s commitment to modern makers is further demonstrated in the fact that, during the eight editions of the biennial Only Watch charity auction, he has been the most prolific buyer, accruing no fewer than ten unique pieces with dial names as diverse as Kari Voutilainen, H.Moser, and Chanel.
Source: The OAK Collection
iW Chats with Patrick Getreide
Vasken Chokarian, Publisher iW Middle East: Since you started buying watches to collect, did you ever imagine or think that you will get to where you are right now?
Patrick Getreide: Never. Absolutely not.
Your Patek Philippe collection at the OAK project presentation in The Design Museum in London is scary. I was stunned to see those amazing one of a kind watches, vintage or modern, collected by one person. Why Patek Philippe?
They are simply the best. They are the “Ferrari” of watches. They are the only ones to produce excellence in every category of watchmaking: complication, sport, classical etc…
Is your passion for collecting fine timepieces driven commercially?
Not driven at all by commercial objectives. I have never sold any of my timepiece except one piece only since I started collecting.
What advice do you give to today’s collectors who find it difficult to acquire watches they wish to collect?
Save money – learn a lot about watchmaking – patience.
Why present the OAK Collection, especially at such a global size and exposure?
To bring forth and present the fine watch making as a piece of art. My second objective was to be able to share it with the public.
Are you still collecting or there comes a time when you say it’s enough?
The more the time passes the more I love collecting watches. The passion remains intact.
What would be the first thing that appeals to you when you decide to go for a watch?
The dial attracts me first, then I feel some chills that make think this watch is for me.
How important are auctions to collectors? What other ways have you followed to collect watches?
Auctions are indeed very important but I also buy from some professionals.
What would you say if someone approached you today to buy it all? Would you sell? Why?
I would say “NO !” – I am not a sales man but a “buyer”…
iW Middle East has been supporting independent watchmakers for more than two decades. However there are so many who popped out during the last decade as independent watchmakers, some making “limited” watch collections and in doing so hiking up prices to unusual and sometimes illogical levels. What is your input on that practice?
That means that the watch market is in big expansion, we never have to complain about that. Moreover certain new indies could be the “big” watchmakers of tomorrow.
Where would you classify your drive and passion when it comes to buying a watch even though you are advised not to?
My experts explain to me about some watches particularities but at the end, it’s only me who makes my decision. Always.
The first that struck me about you is your humble and intellectual personality. How difficult is it for collectors to communicate and deal with watchmaking brands who are famed for their arrogance?
If arrogance is felt, it is very simple, I am not interested. Those who are arrogant – and there are many – I don’t buy their brands. Because I was raised learning that you should always respect the customer.
Which timepiece or an horology piece that you always wanted to have but you couldn’t?
Multi-disciplinary artist Samuel Ross teams with Hublot to create the Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross, a stylized, hexagonal 44mm watch with titanium honeycomb mesh featured on its sapphire dial, case, case back and strap.
The debut is the Hublot ambassador’s first wristwatch built with the Swiss watchmaker, which has teamed with artists for more than a decade under its “Hublot Loves Art” initiative.
Hublot has worked with Ross previously, though not for a watch, when the watchmaker awarded Ross its Hublot Design Prize in 2019 as the artist unveiled a multi-material ‘fused’ sculpture designed to celebrate Hublot’s fortieth anniversary.
On the Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross, the 30-year-old artist combines his signature use of color and geometry to make this lightweight, sporty tourbillon-regulated time-only watch. The watch’s multi-level sapphire and titanium dial is both eye-catching and technically impressive; its honeycomb caseback (below) delightfully mixes geometry and gearing.
Hublot explains that Ross opted for an orange color scheme to represent “energy and optimism” and has directed the color for the strap and accents on the crown and tourbillon bridge and lateral bumpers that protect the case. The bright color frames a grey, satin-finished case and bezel.
Inside Hublot sets its manufacture HUB6035 caliber (see specifications below) that offers an impressive seventy-two hours of power reserve. Hublot will make fifty Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross watches.
Hublot is celebrating the debut by enveloping its Fifth Avenue boutique in New York City in orange. The ‘takeover’ will then be repeated in Hublot stores globally as the watch reaches showcases.
Specifications: Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross
Case: 44mm by 13.75mm satin-polished titanium with satin-finished case back and bezel. Water resistant to 30 meters.
Movement: Caliber HUB6035 with self-winding micro-rotor, skeleton tourbillon, frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vph) and 72-hour power reserve.
Dial: Skeletonized with honeycomb pattern titanium, three sapphire bridges.
Strap: Orange rubber with titanium deployant buckle.