Christie’s | “A performance art”: The secrets of a Christie’s auctioneer

Hugh Edmeades is responsible for over £2.2 billion in sales at the world’s biggest auction house.

Here, he presents his expert advice for would-be auctioneers 

‘It’s showtime,’ declares Hugh Edmeades, Christie’s International Director of Auctioneering, who has conducted over 2,300 auctions since making his debut in August 1984 — selling over 300,000 lots for more than £2.2 billion.

‘Auctioneering is a performance art,’ Edmeades continues. ‘Our stage is our rostrum, and our only prop is our gavel.’ With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Edmeades is an expert performer, and now manages a select group of 65 men and women responsible for taking Christie’s sales across the globe. Many are graduates of his highly competitive ‘Auctioneering School,’ run every two years for Christie’s staff.

| Auctioneers must enjoy themselves, and the bidders will too |

In this video, Edmeades gives an exclusive insight into the rigorous training his potentials undertake. ‘If an actor doesn’t know his or her lines, then they cannot truly perform their part. And with auctioneers, if we don’t know our numbers and our increments then we cannot truly sell,’ he insists. 

His other nuggets of wisdom are more subtle, though no less important — from encouraging auctioneers to adopt bright accessories, to using hand gestures. Perhaps the most vital is a sense of enthusiasm. To succeed as an auctioneer, Edmeades says, requires speed and energy: ‘Auctioneers must enjoy themselves, and the bidders will too.’ 

As Edmeades approaches the 22nd anniversary of his first sale, that sense of enjoyment remains palpable — shining through a now expertly-polished performance.

Meridianaeshop | Have you ever seen a JLC like this?

IMG_8684Super rare JLC 70s in white gold cross mesh bracelet with its original night blue cortex dial. It’s powers with a Manual winding movement Ref.2181707, snap and oversize case. Completely original and in outstanding condition. Now for sale on the shop.

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Christie’s Geneva Auction on 16 May | Watch No. 217: A Breguet masterpiece

Owned by one of Napoleon’s most brilliant generals and then the founder of the world’s first news agency, the story of Breguet No. 217 — one of only two watches of its kind from the very rare perpétuelle series — is extraordinary

Regarded as one of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s masterpieces, the reappearance of this exceptional perpétuelle watch after decades in an important private collection provides devotees with the opportunity to obtain one of the most complicated and desirable watches ever made. Its remarkable provenance includes one of Napoleon’s generals — later a rival — and Charles-Louis Havas, the founder of Agence France-Presse (AFP), the world’s first news agency.

In addition to being from the self-winding or perpétuelle series, a great rarity in itself, Breguet No. 217 has the extra complications of both day and month calendar, power reserve and, most unusually and importantly, an equation of time indication. The equation of time in astronomy is the quantity that needs to be added or subtracted to switch from real time given by the sun, to the mean time: our time, which arbitrarily divides a day into 24 hours.

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Breguet et Fils, Paris, No. 217, Self-Winding Quarter Repeating Pocketwatch with Equation of Time, Day, Month and Power Reserve. Estimate: $600,000-1,200,000 / CHF600,000-1,200,000. This watch is offered in the Rare Watches auction on 16 May at Christie’s Geneva

Within Breguet’s total production between 1790 and 1830, only 15 watches with equation of time were made. Of these 15, only two are known to have been from the perpétuelle series — No. 217, and the legendary ultra-complicated watch No. 160, known as the ‘Marie Antoinette’ and now in the L. A. Mayer Museum in Jerusalem.

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A copy of the Breguet Certificate No. 2385 dated 10 March 1896

Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, but it was in Paris that he spent most of his career. His early breakthroughs included the development of the successful self-winding perpétuelle watches, the introduction of the gongs for repeating watches and the first shock-protection for balance pivots. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were among the early enthusiasts for his watchmaking.

During the French Revolution, Breguet took refuge in Switzerland. When he returned to Paris, it was with the ideas that led to the Breguet balance-spring, his first carriage clock (sold to Bonaparte), the ‘sympathique’ clock and its dependent watch, the tact watch, and finally the tourbillon, patented in 1801.

He became the watchmaker to the scientific, military, financial and diplomatic elites of the age. For his most celebrated clients Breguet designed exceptional timepieces, including the world’s very first wristwatch, conceived in 1810 for Caroline Murat, queen of Naples.

A detail of the movement under the dial on Breguet No. 217
A detail of the movement under the dial on Breguet No. 217

No. 217 was first sold in 1800 to Jean Victor Marie Moreau, who paid 3,600 francs for the watch. Moreau was a French general who served under Napoleon Bonaparte before later becoming a rival, and ultimately being exiled to the United States of America.

Moreau arrived in the USA in 1805. Seven years later President Madison offered him command of the U.S. troops, but Moreau decided instead to return to Europe, where he became involved with republican intriguers supporting the Prussians and Austrians in leading an army against Napoleon.

Moreau was mortally wounded at the Battle of Dresden in 1813 and died six days later from his injuries. His wife received a pension from Tsar Alexander I of Russia, and Moreau was posthumously given the rank of Marshal of France by Louis XVIII.

Breguet, as was his custom, particularly with the perpétuelle watches, bought back watch No. 217, presumably from Moreau’s family. He made some aesthetic improvements to it in the form of a new case and a stunning new guilloché silver dial by Tavernier in the latest style. This replaced the original white enamel dial, which by 1817 would have been regarded as old-fashioned.

Breguet’s repurchasing, updating and resale of his watches made excellent business sense because he could often update the watch and resell it for a much higher price. The perpétuelles, in particular, were very expensive, selling for upwards of 3,000 francs.

Charles Louis Havas (1817-1858), the founder of Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Charles Louis Havas (1817-1858), the founder of Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Charles-Louis Havas became the second owner of watch No. 217, purchasing it on 31 December 1817 for 4,800 francs. Born in 1783 in Rouen, France, into a wealthy Jewish family of Hungarian descent, Havas was a merchant, banker and publisher who had learned a number of languages — a very useful tool for his future business exploits.

In August 1832 he opened his own office in Paris, supplying news about France to foreign customers and translating articles from foreign papers and selling the translations to bankers, businessmen and politicians. Three years later, he restructured his operation and launched the world’s first news agency, calling it Agence Havas, which was described as ‘the first information bureau for the press’.

Havas employed every form of information technology available at the time, including hundreds of carrier pigeons delivering daily information on London stock exchange prices and news on various wars and conflicts. He was the first to use Samuel Morse’s invention, installing electromagnetic telegraph machines as of 1845, and thereby revolutionising the distribution of news.

The growth of the agency saw correspondents reporting from Crimea, Italy, Mexico and the United States. To cover his growing costs, the pioneering Havas created an advertising division in 1852.

His concept of an agency distributing news to the media was quickly adopted in other countries, notably by his most prominent employees, Paul Julius Reuter and Bernhard Wolff, who went on to establish Reuters in the United Kingdom and Wolff in Germany, the forerunner of Deutsche Presse Agentur. The 1859 agreement between the three major agencies — Reuter, based in London, Wolff in Berlin, and Havas — divided the world between them for the collection and dissemination of information.

Charles-Louis Havas passed away on 21 May 1858, and in 1879 Agence Havas became a publicly limited company.

Bregeut et fils, Paris, No.217 comes with Desoutter box numbered 217 containing a spare crystal, photocopy of Breguet Certificate No. 2385, photocopies of the 1965 catalogue entry and Daily Telegraph article
Bregeut et fils, Paris, No.217 comes with Desoutter box numbered 217 containing a spare crystal, photocopy of Breguet Certificate No. 2385, photocopies of the 1965 catalogue entry and Daily Telegraph article

On 25 November 1940 the News section of Havas was nationalised and became a government agency. The advertising branch, which retains the name Havas, and the news branch, which was renamed Office Français d’Information (OFI), were legally separated. Less than four years later, a group of journalists seized the offices of the OFI and issued the first news dispatch from the liberated city under the name Agence France-Presse.

Breguet watch No. 217 was sold at Sotheby’s in London in July 1965, and was described in the catalogue as ‘probably the finest Breguet watch to be offered for sale since well before the war’. It was bought by the famous Portuguese collector and art connoisseur Antonio Medeiros e Almeida for the then enormous sum of £8,500, an event deemed worthy of a story in The Daily Telegraph in London.

Today, Agence France-Presse (AFP), the company built by Charles-Louis Havas and headquartered in Paris, is the world’s third largest international news agency after Associated Press and Reuters.

Info on Christie’s

For sale on the shop: this wonderful Rolex Tank Ref. 912

FullSizeRender-3Fin dall’inizio le linee Rolex si sono contraddistinte per la loro eleganza e raffinatezza, mai fuori posto sempre concettualmente coerenti ai canoni d’eleganza del periodo. Canoni che spesso hanno forgiato leggi scritte sulla pietra, regole cui ancora aggi ci si attiene quando si parla di alta arte orologiera.

L’esemplare che oggi è sul nostro shop riassume in se un pò tutte queste caratteristiche. Si tratta di un Rolex Tank referenza 912 in oro bianco 18k. Questo magnifico timepiece prende la sua forma ereditandola dai Rolex Prince rettangolari e la trasforma in questa che rappresenta tipicamente i Tank: una cassa square dai profili cushion.FullSizeRender-5

Quello che stupisce sono le condizioni eccezionali in cui si trova, fantastiche per un orologio che sta per compiere i suoi primi cent’anni. Frugando in rete sono veramente pochi gli esemplari rimasti ma in ogni caso è difficilissimo trovarne uno in condizioni simili. Infatti oggi, questo orologio splende ancora come negli anni ruggenti che trascorrevano al battito del suo tempo.

For sale on

Another outstanding timepiece on Marvin Cabrio ’40s


Marvin è un marchio di orologeria classico immerso nella tradizione della orologeria svizzera sin dal 1850. Da oltre 150 anni, è rimasto fedele ai suoi criteri fondanti: passione e audacia uniti al gusto.
Per questo negli anni Marvin è diventato sinonimo di affidabilità, stile e di storia.

Linee uniche e audaci, attenzione implacabile per i dettagli e le finiture, concetti esclusivi, il tutto riunito dalla perfezione tecnica. Questo è ciò che la firma inconfondibile di un orologio Marvin rappresenta ancora oggi.

In vendita sul uno splendido esemplare di Cabrio anni ’40.

Marvin is a watch brand steeped in the classical tradition of Swiss watchmaking since 1850. For over 150 years, it has remained true to its fundamental criteria: passion and boldness united to style.
For all this time Marvin has become synonymous of reliability, style and history.

Unique lines, relentless attention to detail and finishes, exclusive concepts, all gathered with technical perfection. This is what the unmistakable signature of Marvin symbolize today.

For sale on


An outstanding Patek Philippe Ref. 1491 for sale on


La Ref 1491, prodotta tra il 1940 e il 1965, si distingue per un design sobrio accoppiato ad una forte influenza Decò visibile nelle caratteristiche anse a riccio. Le dimensioni di 34 mm per 9 mm di spessore della cassa in oro giallo 18 k, rispecchiano i classici canoni della maison che non ama i fuori misura.

Il Patek Philippe in vendita su presenta inoltre una personalizzazione molto particolare per casa Welsh Lima ed è corredato da fibbia oroginale dell’epoca ed estratto d’archivio Patek.


For sale on Gubelin – solo tempo


Gübelin maison svizzera a conduzione familiare con oltre 160 anni di esperienza ha da sempre focalizzato la sua attività sull’autenticità che solo il gusto, la grande passione per l’arte orologiera coltivata con maestria artigianale possono garantire.

Nel 1920 ha aperto un proprio atelier e allo stesso tempo un piccolo laboratorio gemmologico.
La Gübelin Jewellery Atelier è oggi nota a livello mondiale per le sue squisite realizzazioni artigianali che celebrano la bellezza mistica di magnifiche gemme ed è tenuta in grande considerazione da famose case d’asta, famiglie reali e collezionisti per la sua competenza autorevole.

For sale on

Gübelin – solo tempo

1950 circa, impermeabile, cassa a vite, quadrante oroginale in tre toni di colore con logo applicato, completamente originale, eccellenti le condizioni di conservazione.FullSizeRender-5_grande

A wonderful set of Omega Chronograph Seamaster for sale on

B64E9043-FE8D-4D98-943E-DF9D02A36821_1024x1024Ad inaugurare una serie di post relativi all’apertura della nostra piattaforma di e-commerce by Oredelmondo, questo splendido set di cronografi, di cui due Bullhead, nello stile tipico dei funky Omega fine ’60 e inizio ’70.

Molti produttori tra i quali Seiko, Citizen, Bulova, Breitling realizzarono “Bullhead style” timepiece con queste caratteristiche, contribuendo al seguito che questi orologi hanno da allora fino ai nostri giorni.

Per avere un’idea, basta provare a cercare “cronografo Bullhead” sul web ed osservare quanti risultati si presentano. Il Bullhead di Omega è sicuramente il più raro e prezioso del lotto e sicuramente il più ambito tra gli appassionati del genere dal momento che la maison lo ha tenuto in produzione solo poche stagioni. Questo orologi siano essi Omega o meno, hanno uno stile tutto loro ed assicurarsene uno vuol dire distinguersi dalla folla.

Prototipo di Bullhead marcato Lemania quadrante esotico movimento a carica manuale 861, del 1970 circa, cinturino e fibbia aftermarket condizioni pari al nuovo.
Omega Seamaster Soccer gmt, orologio molto raro in condizioni newoldstock, cinturino e fibbia originali dell epoca, quadrabte esotico, movimento carica manuale 861.
Omega Seamaster Soccer gmt, orologio molto raro in condizioni newoldstock, cinturino e fibbia originali dell epoca, quadrabte esotico, movimento carica manuale 861.
Omega Bullhead quadrante marrone condizioni newoldstock cinturino e fibbia originali, rarissimo modello.
Omega Bullhead quadrante marrone condizioni newoldstock cinturino e fibbia originali, rarissimo modello.

A rare Rolex double reference version of the Military Submariner, issued to the British Navy in the early 1970s

94609798-1-2A military issue Rolex wristwatch, originally purchased for under £1,000, was recently discovered by the BBC Antiques Roadshow to be worth several times the expected amount, now valued by Bonhams at £50,000-70,000. It is offered at Bonhams Fine Watch Sale, taking place 16 December. 
The vendor was first alerted to the potential value of his Rolex whilst watching an episode of BBC series, the Antiques Roadshow, when he saw a similar watch to his valued at a considerable amount more than he’d anticipated. When the Roadshow came to Lincolnshire in early 2015, the vendor took the watch along to have it valued. He was delighted to find that it was worth a great deal more than originally thought.94609798-1-4
“After the Antiques Roadshow valuation, the vendor was very excited to bring the watch to Bonhams,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Head of Watches. “It is a rare double reference version of the Military Submariner, issued to the British Navy in the early 1970s.”

The Royal Navy ordered a series of watches from Rolex for use by their specialist personnel. These watches have fixed bar lugs and the hands are of sword shape so they are more legible under low light conditions. The dials are also marked with the “Circle T“, which is the international symbol for Tritium, a treatment the watch received to help the wearer see the hands in the dark.

The case backs are engraved on the interior with the serial number and also on the outside case back with the Ministry of Defence issue number. The wristwatch was shown on BBC Antiques Roadshow on Sunday 8 November at 8pm.
It will be sold at Bonhams Fine Watch Sale, taking place 16 December at 101 New Bond Street.