Monsieur Dufour, as I like to call him, is one of the most revered watchmakers of Switzerland. Sort of a legend of the independent watchmaking scene, a person who’s capable of manufacturing some of the most refined movements you’ll ever come to see… And a man with very limited production. Of course, this combination of desirability and rarity already had its effect on the prices of Philippe Dufour’s watches, since a Simplicity can reach over USD 1 Million, and even more for a Duality. But what has just surfaced today is even more exclusive, being one of the rarest and most complex modern watches; one of the 8 Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie wristwatches ever made. And A Collected Man, the London-based online platform specialized in high-end watches, has listed this example for public sale at… USD 7.63 million. And that could become a new world record.
If the Simplicity can be seen as the purest expression of Dufour’s talent, and the Duality his take on chronometry, the Grande et Petite Sonnerie is probably his most emblematic movement, being found in both pocket watches (made for Audemars Piguet) and in wristwatches under the eponymous brand. The wristwatch version of the Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie is one of the most important modern timepieces, being one of the rare examples of such a complex movement produced in recent years – the grande sonnerie is an extremely rare complication, only mastered by a handful of watchmakers (for instance recently by Patek).
The present example is part of the highly restricted series of watches. According to ACM, “only eight examples have ever been made, with this one being the third to leave the watchmaker’s workshop, and unique in its configuration. Completed in 1995, it was first delivered to the Sultan of Brunei.” The Grande et Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch is also the first in Dufour’s series of watches, also comprising the Simplicity and Duality, and it has been crafted over the course of a decade throughout the 1990s. This watch certainly is a unicorn in the collecting world, which has been offered for sale on very, very rare occasions – one by Christie’s here for example. The present watch, Number 3, was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2012, where it achieved HKD 4.82 million (or about USD 620,000).
Back to London, with A Collected Man. Under this name is an online platform “for discovering, buying and selling the world’s most exceptional watches,” a sort of curator of high-end watches known for its focus on rare independent watchmakers such as Journe, Daniels, Dubuis or Roth. Today, ACM is offering for public sale a Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch at a price of USD 7.63 million or GBP 5.5 million. This only confirms the trend we’ve seen in recent years, with growing interest in some independent watchmakers.
If it achieves that price, this example of the Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie would become the most expensive watch made by an independent watchmaker to be sold publicly, as well as one of the ten most expensive wristwatches ever sold publicly.
This exceptional watch is listed here, at www.acollectedman.com.
Update: “A Collected Man has now confirmed publicly that the Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie Number 3 has sold for $7.63 million, making the watch the most expensive wristwatch made by an independent watchmaker ever to be sold publicly.“