A Philippe Dufour Simplicity made in celebration of the legendary model’s 20th anniversary has just been hammered for CHF1,361,000 at the Phillips Retrospective 2000-2020 Auction in Geneva this afternoon.
For the uninitiated, Dufour is an independent watchmaker from Le Solliat in the Vallée de Joux. Such is the appeal of his work that clients have endured long waiting periods and paid top dollar to get their hands on one of his exquisitely hand-finished watches, prized among aficionados as a cult collectible. Dufour’s reputation is forged on the unshakable belief that a high-end Swiss watch should be made a certain way using time-honored methods.
The Simplicity is arguably among the most coveted time-only watches in the world. Made by the master watchmaker himself, this model was initially available only to 200 lucky owners who had to wait years to get their allotted watch. This far the only Simplicity available to buy, for those who could afford one, was via the secondary market or at auctions.
However, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the model, Dufour announced that he would be making 20 more limited editions and 00/20 would be up for grabs at the Phillips Retrospective 2000-2020 auction, a thematic sale that focused on the most important timepieces of the last 20 years. It is worth mentioning here that this is the first series of limited editions produced by the indie watchmaker. Dufour will be making seven of them in pink gold, seven in white gold, and seven in platinum of which he will be keeping one for himself.
The Anniversary model is slightly different from the other Simplicity models. The one sold today has a 37-mm-wide pink gold case but this one has been redesigned to include a hinged back. The crown now has his initials PD engraved on it, the initials can also be seen on the guilloché dial at 12 o’clock.
Dufour’s obsessive attention to details is visible on the hand-finished movements. Flip the watch over to see the gentle flow of the bridges’ curves and the impossible angles, all finished by hand. The watch went on the auction block with a pre-sale estimate of CHF200,000-400,000 ($218,000-436,000) but it sold today for CHF1,361,000 ($1,512,369) including a 26 percent buyer’s premium.