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PRESS RELEASE – 14 October, 2022

TimeForArt is the first-ever benefit watch auction to support contemporary art, initiated by New York non-profit Swiss Institute. The auction will be part of the Phillips ‘New York Watch Auction: SEVEN’. 

UPDATE – 11 November, 2022: The Phillips ‘New York Watch Auction: SEVEN’ has two sessions, both including TimeForArt timepieces. Session 1 – 10 December 2022, TimeForArt lots 21–24, 41–44 and Session 2 – 11 December 2022, TimeForArt lots 112–115, 129–133. Please find the catalogue here. Phillips announced that the inaugural edition of TimeForArt saw tremendous enthusiasm, raising $1.2 million for Swiss Institute. In this first-ever watch auction to benefit contemporary art, seventeen watches were sold. Leading the group was Urwerk’s unique UR-102.02 “TimeForArt,” which soared to over ten times its estimate, setting a new world record for any Urwerk wristwatch.

The usual autumn auction season is approaching – all the big or small auction houses are preparing their previews and showing around the most interesting or important pieces. There is a ‘new-kid-on-the-block’ – TimeForArt is the first-ever benefit watch auction to support contemporary artists.

The organiser is the Swiss Institute (SI), an independent non-profit contemporary art institution dedicated to promoting forward-thinking and experimental art making through innovative exhibitions, education, and programs since 1986. 

The featured watches in the TimeForArt auction are either unique collaborations with world-renowned artisans, interventions by leading contemporary artists, bespoke examples of innovative craftsmanship or coveted limited-edition timepieces.

TimeForArt will be introduced as its own dedicated chapter of the Phillips ‘New York Watch Auction: SEVEN’ which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11. The inaugural edition of TimeForArt gathers exceptional timepieces from the world’s foremost watchmakers, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to supporting today’s most visionary artists through Swiss Institute’s innovative exhibitions, public programs, education & community engagement workshops in New York City and beyond.

Maurice Lacroix

Maurice Lacroix joined the initiative and unveiled a unique watch that will be auctioned. Based on the watch brand’s popular Aikon model, this one-off creation has a skeleton movement enriched with a myriad of hues. Luminescent hour and minute hands, along with a slim central sweep seconds hand, float above a sapphire dial and collaborate with indexes, once again luminescent, to indicate the prevailing time. 

Aikon Skeleton TimeForArt
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton TimeForArt

Maurice Lacroix has worked closely with movement specialist Sellita to conceive the exclusive Automatic ML115 (base SW200) featured within this watch – the oscillating weight, movement plate and bridges received a special rainbow treatment. 

The Aikon Skeleton TimeForArt has a 39mm stainless steel case on a matching bracelet and supplied with an additional black rubber strap.

Aikon Skeleton TimeForArt
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton TimeForArt

Romain Gauthier

One of the world’s greatest enamel artist, Anita Porchet teamed up with Romain Gauthier to create a unique timepiece: a C by Romain Gauthier Platinum Edition on the occasion of the TimeForArt auction. Anita skilfully decorates watch dials with the sophisticated enamelling techniques of cloisonné, champlevé, plique-à-jour, Grand Feu, paillonné or miniature painting. Her work is in demand by the finest names in watchmaking. This one-off creation has a miniature painting Grand Feu enamel dial inspired by botanical illustrations and Chinese ink wash paintings. 

Romain Gauthier x Anita Porchet, TimeForArt, C by Romain Gauthier Platinum Edition
Anita Porchet in her atelier
Anita Porchet in her atelier


URWERK will dedicate the #1 of the UR-102 “reloaded” to the cause. This single-piece edition stems from a collaboration with Cooper Jacoby, an American contemporary artist who reinterprets one of the most emblematic and decisive URWERK creations: the UR-102 in its new “reloaded” version. 

On the dial of this one-of-a-kind watch, Jacoby uses thermochromic pigments to embody one of the body’s most essential regulatory systems: temperature. The dial of this UR-102 is thus transformed through a range of infinitely variable color tones, interacting with and changing in response to thermal variations.

As URWERK chief designer and co-founder Martin Frei explains: “After graduating from the University of Arts and Applied Sciences in Lucerne, I started my creative journey in New York. With a few friends, we created the U.S.A. association (United Swiss Artists), an anchor point far from home, a point of fall or rather of support in difficult times. It is the same philosophy that I find in the approach of the Swiss Institute. Our involvement in this project was therefore self-evident.”

Urwerk UR102
Cooper Jacoby x UR-102 “reloaded” one-of-a-kind creation - dial

Prior to the event, each expression of horological art will be exhibited in various cities around the globe as part of the forthcoming Phillips Watches roadshow. See all the unique timepieces here.

•    Singapore: 13-15 October

•    London: 20-23 October

•    Geneva: 2-6 November

•    Hong Kong: 24-29 November

•    New York: 3-9 December

Source: press release. Photo credits: Maurice Lacroix, Romain Gauthier, URWERK
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