In the world of vintage watch collecting, provenance is key in the value attached to a watch. A strong and valuable indication of the early days of a watch is known as the double signature, where the name of a retailer is stamped on the dial. Double-signed watches have been a strong topic of interest recently at auctions, with names like Tiffany, Beyer, Gobbi or Serpico Y Laino multiplying the value of a watch (there’s a highly interesting article on this topic to read here, at A Collected Man). Asprey, a London-based luxury short, is one of them and today, it brings back the concept of double-signed high-end watches, with a handsome Andersen Genève Worldtime.
Just like Harrods or Selfridges, Asprey is one of the most influential addresses in London when it comes to luxury shopping. Since its creation in 1781 in Surrey by William Asprey, and mostly since the name has been associated with London where it moved in 1847, Asprey has been synonymous with high-end gift shopping, packing fine and luxurious objects from all over the world, and made by some of the most respected craftsmen. A testament to this success, Asprey’s customers include several generations of the Royal Family, Maharajahs or one of the Beatles…
Watchmaking has long been one of the specialities of Asprey, and it was responsible for introducing Patek Philippe to the United Kingdom. Countless double-signed watches have been made together with Patek Philippe, Jeager-LeCoultre and Rolex, mostly during the 1970s, as the name could attract an important Middle Eastern clientele, resulting in the famous watches with the Oman crest on their dial.
Asprey wasn’t only about large brands and established manufactures, but also about independent watchmaking. Double-signed F.P. Journe x Asprey watches have been made in the past, such as Octa Calendriers showing a moving engraved with John R. Asprey. While Asprey somehow lost this tradition for a while, it has decided to bring it back. That lineage of collaboration continues today with a series of watches with the next wave of leading independent watchmakers, starting with a handsome watch by independent watchmaker Svend Andersen.
The Asprey x Andersen Genève Worldtime
This watch not only brings back the unique charm of the double-signed timepieces, but it’s also the union of two great names, one being influential in the world of luxury shopping, the other being known as one of the most respected independent watchmakers, and an honourable member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI), which he co-founded.
Since he started his own workshop in 1980, following nine years at Patek Philippe, Svend Andersen has had several specialities, including complex calendar watches – his most complex piece being the Secular Perpetual Calendar – or handsome jumping hour watches. But Andersen Genève, his brand, is most notably famous for worldtime or “heures du monde” watches. While working at Patek in the 1970s, Andersen had the chance to work on several worldtime watches made by Louis Cottier (the creator of this complication). With this background, Svend Andersen created 1989 the Communication watch, Andersen Genève’s first worldtime watch. Followed the Christophorus Colombus, the Mundus, the 1884 and the Tempus Terrae series of worldtimers. Recently, the independent watchmaker manufactured watches for BCHH, which we covered extensively here.
With this in mind, the choice of Asprey to create a worldtime watch felt natural. This new watch, which marks the comeback of the Asprey double-signed watches, is also continuing a long tradition of close relationships with artisans, and combines Andersen Genève’s design and technical expertise with Asprey’s heritage.
The Asprey x Andersen Genève Worldtime isn’t just a name printed on a dial… It is a watch designed specifically for this new collaboration, yet using some of the most traditional codes of Andersen. This watch packs multiple inspirations from past worldtime by Andersen Genève. Housed in a restrained case of 39.8mm, made out of 18k 5N red gold and entirely polished, it’s mostly notable for its triangular lugs. These were some of the most distinctive elements of the 1996 Secular Perpetual Calender and 2002 Orbita Lunae watches, and they are back into this worldtimer. Elegance and classism are the keywords here.
The dial of Asprey x Andersen Genève Worldtime is as classic as it could be for the brand. It relies on another signature design element of Svend Andersen, a central part in 21k BlueGold with a hand-guilloché pattern. Here, Asprey went for a bespoke motif, directly inspired by Asprey Perfume bottles of the past, which until now has never been used on a watch dial. The name of both parties to the collaboration are printed in gold and positioned next to Andersen’s classic A-shaped openworked hands. The rest is typical of the brand’s worldtimer watches, with a 24h rotating disc with night-and-day zones, and a silvery-white city ring on the periphery. This Asprey x Andersen Genève watch is worn on a discreet yet casual Nubuck strap.
Under the sapphire caseback and framed by black Jade ring is a movement we’ve seen multiple times in previous watches of the brand, a vintage movement entirely restored and decorated by Andersen Genève, then fitted with an in-house manufactured world time module. Sourced from a company named A. Schild S.A. this automatic movement is fitted with a guilloche 21k BlueGold rotor. Finished with high-end decoration, it runs at a 3Hz frequency and stores up to 40 hours of energy.
The Asprey x Andersen Genève Worldtime is available exclusively from Asprey House in Mayfair, London or from www.asprey.com. It is priced at GBP 55,000 and isn’t advertised as a limited edition, even though it won’t be produced in many examples.
More details at www.andersen-geneve.ch.