PHILLIPS in association with Bacs & Russo
START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs
Hôtel La Réserve, 301 Route de Lausanne, Geneva
14 May 2016
Stopping Time by Aurel Bacs and Sam Hines
Over the centuries, the world’s most ingenious watchmakers and engineers have graced us
with dazzling and bewildering complications. May these complications enhance precision such as tourbillons, offer an acoustic delight such as minute repeaters or squeeze the cosmos into rotating pinions and gears such as perpetual calendars and moon phases, few are at the same time speaking to the hidden adventurer within us, action loaded and visible as the chronograph.
From the Greek “chronos” meaning time and “graph” meaning to write, the chronograph measures and records time intervals stated in seconds (and sometimes even less), minutes and/or hours.
However, the chronograph also embodies one of mankind’s greatest – yet unattainable dreams – that to control and stop time. However, what it does allow is to freeze a moment, preserve it for posterity and to look back with consideration.
It is of no surprise that doctors, scientists, sportsmen and members of the armed forces have relied on their trusty chronographs in the course of their daily lives, their successes (and sometimes failures) recorded by their timepiece. Where life does not offer the possibility to stop time it does sometimes offer a second chance and as with chronographs to reset and start again. A second opportunity to overcome a failure, to repeat a success and sometimes, to break a new record. Thus the name of this thematic auction: START-STOP-RESET.
Rome, January 2016. During a dinner with Pucci Papaleo we started discussing a thematic sale focussing on tool watches, those most likely to have been used in action loaded, rough and exciting environments and by dessert the theme of stainless steel chronograph wristwatches, the date of the auction, the scope and responsibilities were decided upon! Curating this sale was a fascinating journey for the specialists at Phillips Watches. A true team effort shared with our friend Pucci Papaleo whom, after the Glamorous Day-Date auction, needs no further introduction.
The team includes Andrea Foffi who kindly shared his encyclopaedic knowledge and prepared many of the watches for photography, Fabio Santinelli, whom many consider the world’s most talented photographer of watches, supported by Gino La Bella for image management, Paolo Gobbi, an extremely talented contributing writer and finally Naomi Ornstein as general coordinator… and believe me, the need for a coordinator was vital!
Choosing is renouncing and we had to regretfully refuse highly interesting pieces that either did not meet our extremely stringent quality criteria or duplicated another consigned piece. We wanted to offer you the broadest variety in terms of brands, styles and period and each model needed to tell a captivating story. The result being a catalogue reuniting over 80 classic, legendary, rare and attractive examples from the world’s most prominent chronograph makers.
Being chronographs aside, all the timepieces shown in this catalogue have in common that they are not only technically and visually stimulating but are historically relevant, having survived in amazing original condition, decades after they left the workshops and happily accompanied their wearers, may they have been sportsmen, doctors or members of the armed forces.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this journey through 20th century watchmaking and that we will be able to welcome you personally to one of our preview exhibitions or in Geneva for the auction and maybe one of the chronographs in this auction will enable you to start, stop and reset your own story.