You maybe were wondering why the Collector’s Series hasn’t featured any vintage watches. Well, in truth, there is no reason. To rectify this, we sat down to discuss who maybe an appropriate candidate to kick things off. The jury was unanimous: it had to be someone with many years hands on experience… so we decided to ask our friend over Phillips Auctions, Mister Paul Maudsley, to introduce to us a watch of his own collection, and surprisingly, it’s just a vintage Doxa… but certainly not just your just any vintage Doxa.
Paul is International Specialist-Director at Phillips Auction House in London. For those unaware of it’s pedigree, Phillips was founded in London in 1796 by Harry Phillips, formerly senior clerk to James Christie. During his first year of business, Phillips conducted twelve successful auctions and soon the business was holding sales for some of the most distinguished collectors of the day including Marie Antoinette, Beau Brummel and Napoleon Bonaparte. Despite its extensive history, the Phillips Watch Department was only formalized last year in partnership with Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo. The inaugural auction (Geneva Watch Auction: ONE) was in May. The auction realized a combined total of more than 30,000,000 Euros. Crazy for a first, right. The auction sold four watches for over $1 million and established multiple records including for any stainless steel wristwatch, for any Rolex sold at auction, and for any Rolex Day-Date. Thus, it’s fair to say Paul Maudsley knows his vintage watches. This week I find out why his Doxa Telemeter is so close to his heart.
How did you come to join Phillips Auction House?
I had been 16 years at another auction house specializing in watches and wristwatches, undertaking auctions in London, New York and Hong Kong. For me to leave was a big step but one that felt very right to join a very new, but highly experienced team of like minded people wanting to offer only the best watches. From the best £3,000 watch to the best £3,000,000 its about originality and quality.
Did you always harbour ambitions of working in the watch world?
I first got into watches at the young age of 11 and a passion for motors cars followed not long after. I studied design, ceramics and silversmithing at Art College and University but all the while learning and collecting watches in my spare time.
What is the appeal of vintage watches vs modern for you?
To me the appeal of Vintage over Modern is the differences of design and function and the little nuances you get with older watches. From the slight different printings to the dial on a vintage Rolex or the ageing of a black dial on chronograph like this. Theses factors combined are what make me truly a vintage fan. I also carry the same factors over to car collecting, but on a smaller scale of course.
When did you come to own your Doxa Telemeter?
I have owned this Doxa for the last 3 years. The main theme of the watches I collect are chronographs, yet I also love ‘World Time’ watches. So basically you can say I collect all the watches with ‘functions’, that are hardly every used.
Had you been hunting one or did it catch your eye?
I hadn’t been particularly looking for this exact watch or by this exact maker, but it stood out to me because of its size and condition.
From an aesthetic perspective, what attracted you?
To me the key things are the design and balance of the case and dial. There’s no point having a great dial on a watch with a badly designed case, the two have to work symbiotically. The size of 38mm is what I call the ‘perfect size’ and the black dial with silvered scale creates an amazing presence on the wrist.
What powers the watch Paul?
The watch is powered by a Valjoux 22 movement, which is a 14 ligne, 31.3 mm column wheel controlled chronograph. They have two sub-dials, one for the 60 second counter and the other counters were either with 30 or 45 minutes. It had a beat of 18,000 per hour and a power-reserve of 40 hours. The Valjoux 22 was used on many chronographs of the period, by different manufacturers and due to the size, was found on watches of 38mm and above.
How would you describe its condition?
The condition is extremely good and when one considers it’s around 70 years old, it then becomes even more special. The Dial originality and condition are the key factors in watch collecting, from a Doxa to a million dollar Patek Philippe.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start collecting vintage?
This is easy: research and homework. When I first started I had to gather knowledge from reference books and auction catalogues. Now information is so much more easily available online. Although there can be so much incorrect and conflicting info on the web so treat some with caution.
In three words, how would you describe your Doxa?
Classic, Sporty and Functional.
One final question, I have to ask, is it tough working at an auction house being surrounded by some of the finest vintage watches around?
It’s not tough at all, it’s a privilege and a great place to be, to see and handle such diverse and magnificent watches. Every day is different and you never know what watch you may see coming in next.