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by Muhammad Yusuf November 06, 2014
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Antiquorum Auctioneers, the world’s premier auctioneers of modern and vintage timepieces, together with Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo Group, held a two-day exhibition (Nov. 1 – 2) in Dubai to preview the highlights of the ‘Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces’ auction to be held in Geneva Nov. 8 – 9. The Dubai event spotlighted the exceptional Singing Bird Cage Clock and an outstanding Patek Philippe Ref. 2499, Third Series, in addition to featuring more than 200 exclusive timepieces.

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the Exceptional Early & Small Singing Bird Cage Clock with Automaton Jumping Bird & Automaton Waterfall, attributed to Jaquet-Droz et Leschot Geneva. Made in 1785, this is a fine and diminutive gilded-brass, automaton  singing bird clock with “jumping” early-type  painted bird with automated beak, wings, tail and automaton waterfall activated at will and by the clock every three hours.

Collectors are urged to appreciate the magical jumping effect of the bird, the delicacy of workmanship in the cage’s construction as well as the “ball and claw feet” that are distinctive of the workshop Jaquet-Droz.

Another highlight was the Patek Philippe Ref. 2499, Third Series, retailed by Beyer (Zurich). Made in 1980 and from the property of the original owner, this is a rare 18K gold wristwatch with round button chronograph, 30-minute register, perpetual calendar and moon phases.

Kanoo minced no words when he spoke about his love for watches. “It has been a passion for twenty years”, he said. “But I have no idea how many I own. It is also a hard question as to where I keep them”.

Calling watches – contemporary and antique – “art on hand”, he was all praise for the mechanisms of the pieces on show. “They are absolutely gorgeous”, he said. According to him, by possessing such watches, ordinary people could own what once adorned the hands of only maharajahs, or kings.

He said that Antiquorum Auctioneers was the “number one watch auctioneer” in the world. They are super specialists in the field of watches, not interested in auctions alone, but also in promoting good taste in watches.

He has been their customer for long. “I am trying to bring them to a new part of the world”, he said about the Dubai presentation. Many of the watches are wearable, and not just “showable” items. “It all depends on what one likes to show”, he said.

In the last few years, he has been noticing a change in the market. Watches used to be a man’s market, but is no longer so. Women also make up a good part of the buyers. Watches are shifting their role from being plain products into much desired accessories.

The watches can be sourced from anywhere. Previously loved watches, now out of favour due to change of fashion or taste, make up a sizeable volume of watches up for auction.  

Yet other highlights from the showcase:

* The Blancpain 1735 Grand Complication, No. 03/30.  This timepiece is one of the most complicated wristwatches ever made and required six years of research, development and testing before it could be presented.

* The Isaac Daniel Piguet “The Heart”, a musical watch with see-saw musician and windmill automatons. Made for the Eastern market in 1820, this is a gold painted on enamel, pearl and turquoise-set heart-shaped quarter repeating watch with three automaton actions – sea-saw, musician and windmill, activated at will.

* Rolex is well represented in the sale with the much sought-after Rolex Ref. 6241 Paul Newman. Made in 1968 and from the property of an English collector, this is a stainless steel wristwatch.

* The Patek Philippe Reg. 866/4 – a unique watch with the enamel miniature ‘The Shepherd in Love’ by Madame Bischoff. Made in 1972, this is a polychrome painted on enamel miniature with ‘The Shepherd In Love’ signed M Bischoff. Known as one of the great enamellists who worked for Patek Philippe along with Suzanne Rohr and J Pellarine LeRoy, Madame Bischoff’s work is known for great depth and tonality.

Antiquorum, established in Geneva in 1974, is the world’s premier auctioneer of fine modern and vintage timepieces. It has set world records for auction sales and holds approximately ten auctions a year in Geneva, New York and Hong Kong, with previews held in major cities worldwide. To allow collectors to preview highlights from its collection, it is holding events in cities such as Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai and Geneva.

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