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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Besides the brands, the watch department at Phillips auction house also showcased some of the world’s finest collectors’ watches at the Geneva Watch Days.

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is already a regular at the Geneva Watch Days. This year they also moved into one of the suites of Hotel Beau Rivage and exhibited a preview of the upcoming online Geneva Sessions and the Geneva Watch Auction: XVI. 

The Geneva Sessions from 12-16 September

UPDATE – 16 September: The sale achieved CHF 2,664,774 and was led by a Patek Philippe Nautilus chronograph in pink gold ref 5980/1R which sold for CHF 252,000. Over 600 bidders from the international collecting community vied for this tightly curated selection of timepieces.

This summer Phillips announced ‘The Geneva Sessions’, the first online auction to have been curated by Phillips’ watch specialists in Geneva. The selection is close to contemporary – from the 1990s to today, offering a wide range of watch brands and a selection catering to different collectors’ budgets. 

Alexandre Ghotbi, Head of Watches, Continental Europe & Middle East and Tiffany To, Head of Sales said, ‘… We wanted to have an online sale very different to what has been done before in terms of presentation of the watches with a very artistic approach to the photography and videography as well as the cataloguing. This sale follows the remarkable results achieved in our first online auction curated by Phillips’ watch specialists in Hong Kong, which was 100% sold. All of the watches in this sale have been carefully selected for their exceptional quality, condition and provenance. Every watch included has its full set of papers and box, and this sale has the highest average lot value that we have seen for a watches online sale. We look forward to engaging with collectors around the world in the lead up to, and for the duration of, The Geneva Sessions.’ 

The bidding opens on 12 September at 10am CET and will close on 16 September at 4pm CET.

F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain – Lot 51

There are high-end watch brands and there are a few ultra high-end ones, in terms of aesthetic, finishing and technical excellence – F.P. Journe belongs to the latter category. 

François-Paul Journe is one of the finest contemporary watchmakers who has been passionately creating haute horlogerie pieces for more than 3 decades. His pieces are a part of the collections of many high-profile watch aficionados (like Patrick Getreide, whose collection includes 600 ‘One of A Kind’ vintage and contemporary museum-quality watches, including F.P. Journe ones)

F.P. Journe created the Centigraphe Souverain between 2008 and 2018, as his innovative take on the chronograph complication.

As Mr Journe tells ‘I met Jean Todt through the ICM Foundation and during the course of our meetings we discussed the ideal chronograph for the world of car racing. I thus remember research I carried out over 15 years ago for the creation of an exponential chronograph quickly showed me that a chronograph with 3 hands revolving at different speeds was a good starting base. I followed up with research on chronograph pushers, on questions of the balance of power in the movement, requirements and energy loss and I made use of a patent registered for the Sonnerie Souveraine. I patented two additional innovations concerning motricity. I am proud that Jean Todt has agreed to be the Centigraphe’s godfather.’

This ingenious timepiece – powered by the F.P Journe’s cal. 1506 – indicates elapsed times from a 100th of a second to 10 minutes via the three subdials, each with a time scale in red and a tachometer scale in black. The subdials are: a 100th of a second register at 10 o’clock, a 20-second register at 2 o’clock and a 10-minute register at 6 o’clock. 

The traditional chronograph pushers are replaced by a rocker at 2 o’clock that starts, stops and resets the registers that are all activated and stopped at the same time. To achieve such a feature without interrupting the timekeeping system, a mechanism within isolates the chronograph from its timekeeping system, meaning that the amplitude would not be affected when the chronograph is activated.

The particularity of the model is that normally, you’d need 50Hz (100 beats per second) balance frequency for measuring a 100th of a second, but this one manages it with a 3Hz (6 beats per second) balance. The Centigraphe Souverain achieves it by letting the wheels slip between their six engagements and a brake lever catches the driving wheel of the hand between beats.

The model is very slender (40mm in diameter and 10.1mm thickness) and is made of gold with a silver grey dial and white subdials. The Lot 51 is from 2014, in excellent condition and comes with its F.P. Journe fitted box, outer packaging, guarantee and additional strap. Estimate was CHF40,000 – 80,000, price achieved: CHF 126,000.

F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain
F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain