Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has announced that four major Philippe Dufour timepieces will be offered in The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV.
These masterpieces are coming from a private collector. The group includes the Grande & Petite Sonnerie pocket watch Number 1 in yellow gold, the Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch number 1 in yellow gold, the Duality in pink gold and the Simplicity (37mm) in platinum. It is also first time in auction history that these four Dufour watches will be offered by one auction house during a single season.
An independent Swiss watchmaker since the late 1970s, Philippe Dufour restored antique and vintage timepieces, which led him ten years later to develop a very small series of pocket and wrist grande sonnerie watches.
Inspired by the pocket watches in the 1930s, the Duality is the world’s first wristwatch incorporating a double escapement. The Simplicity features a special movement architecture designed to demonstrate hand finish and decoration that modern horology had not yet witnessed. In the span of over 30 years since he created his eponymous brand, Dufour created only these four models under his name.
Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie Pocket Watch Number 1, Unique Piece
A Grande Sonnerie is a timepiece that automatically chimes the hours on every hour and hours and quarters on every quarter, and when on petite sonnerie mode the watch will only chime the passing of the quarters. Phillipe Dufour began his work on the grande sonnerie with a series of five pocket watches made for a large brand in the early 1980s.
The fact that the brand never acknowledged his work led him to create his own Grand & Petite Sonnerie pocket watch in the late 1980s. The present example is number 1 and the only Dufour Grande & Petite pocket watch made that bears his name on the dial.
Estimate: CHF 400,000-800,000/ US$436,000-872,152 / HK$3,384.000- 6,768,000
Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch Number 1 in Yellow Gold
From 1989 to 1992, Dufour set out on the difficult task of miniaturizing his sonnerie movement to wristwatch size and the result was the present Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch number 1, a world premiere that makes the present example offered at auction the world’s very first Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch.
This version was produced in only five examples with white enamel dials, respectively 2 cased in white gold, one in yellow and one in pink gold, as well as one in platinum.
Estimate: CHF 1million-2 million / US$1,090,000 -2,180,000 / HK$ 8,461,000-16,922,664
Philippe Dufour Duality Pink Gold, Number 8
Dufour’s inspiration for the Duality came from a few school watches from the Vallée de Joux Watchmaking School of the 1930s – the same school that Dufour graduated from. These pocket watches had a single gear train delivering power to two balance wheels through a differential. Once again, like with his sonnerie wristwatch, Dufour set out on the task of shrinking this mechanism to wristwatch size.
In 1996, Dufour introduced his iconic Duality, the world’s first wristwatch incorporating a double escapement. Featuring two independent balance wheels compensated with a central differential gear, the mechanism improves accuracy while also countering the effects of gravity.
He initially planned to produce 25 examples, however, only nine were made including an example with movement number ‘00’ (sold at Phillips New York in 2017 for close to $1 million), making the present example bearing number 8 the last one made. It is one of three pink gold examples ever produced.
Estimate: CHF 800,000-1.6 million/ US$872,152-1,744,520 / HK$6,768,000 – 13,540,596
Philippe Dufour Simplicity 37mm Platinum, Number: 57
After having proven his undeniable talent and expertise in creating ultra-complicated mechanisms, Dufour set out in 2000 on the challenging task to create a simple three hand watch with a movement architecture designed to demonstrate hand finish and decoration that modern horology had not yet witnessed.
The gentle flow of the bridges’ curves, the bold and alluring inward and outward angles, the hand-applied Geneva waves and red rubies all provide a seductive visual harmony.
The decoration and assembly are done by hand and only less than a dozen Simplicities left Dufour’s workshops in the Vallée de Joux per year. The present watch bearing movement number 57 is one of the earlier models that the master produced.
Estimate: CHF 250,000-500,000 / US$272,581 – 545,176 / HK$2,115,743 – 4,231,326