Exclusive: Revealing Four, Just-Delivered Philippe Dufour Simplicity “Special Editions” Beyond the Original Run

Widely regarded as the timepiece with the most remarkable movement decoration made in recent history, the Philippe Dufour Simplicity has become a cult object prized by collectors, especially since only 200 were made - until now.
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The Philippe Dufour Simplicity is probably the most desirable timepiece made by an independent watchmaker, representing the perfect synthesis of simplicity and a remarkably executed movement. Only 200 were ever made, with the last delivered in 2013. Except that four additional Simplicity watches were delivered in late 2014 – a huge surprise for observers of independent watchmaking.

newsWhen the Simplicity was still available from Dufour in the early 2000s, the Simplicity was relatively accessible, priced between 40,000 and 56,000 Swiss francs, depending on the material and size (though the earliest owners paid less). The Simplicity is now so scarce and sought after that it is now worth about double the original price. Four lucky collectors, however, did not need to venture into the secondary market.

This quartet of very, very fortunate individuals received brand new Simplicity watches, fresh from Dufour’s workshop in Le Sentier, via a sealed package delivered by a Brink’s armoured van.

Each watch was snugly packed inside the oblong, polished wood box familiar to owners of the Simplicity. All four watches share the same 37 mm case, but in varying colours of gold. Three of the Simplicities, however, are unique, with dials never seen before.

The first is in white gold with a grey dial in a style that Dufour has used in other specimens, except the hands and indices are in rose gold. Typically the hands and indices are the same colour as the case.

Another has a guilloche dial with unusual Breguet numerals and hands.

The third has a white lacquer dial favoured by many Simplicity owners, with the addition of a small red heart below the 12 o’clock marker.

And the last is the most conventional, with a standard white lacquer dial.

Because these four watches are not part of the original 200-piece run of the Simplicity, and as such have no serial numbers on the movement. Instead, each is engraved with the owner’s name or nickname on the plate where the serial number typically is located.

The origins of these additional Simplicity watches lie with a good friend and longtime supporter of Dufour, who introduced a young Chinese collector to the Swiss watchmaker. That young collector then purchased the last Dufour Grande Sonnerie wristwatch (serial number 8). But the collector also wanted a Simplicity, and eventually Dufour agreed to make four watches: for the collector, another for his wife, one for an aficionado in Hong Kong, and the last went to the person who made it all possible with the initial introduction.

Many thanks to a good friend who was amongst the four lucky individuals. His original post can be found on Ctime, a Chinese language watch forum. More photos of the grey dial Simplicity follow.

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Pre-Basel 2015: Introducing The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse (With Specs And Price)

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In March 2015 the Solar Impulse aircraft will start its round-the-world flight, and its main sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Omega, will introduce the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse, a multi-function pilot’s wristwatch. 

Originally designed for astronauts as the successor to the Speedmaster Moon Watch and released in 1998, the Omega X-33 was a multi-function pilot’s watch that was amongst the first of its kind. Now it has returned with major technological upgrades, as the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse, a limited edition made to mark the first solar-powered circumnavigation of the planet that will be officially unveiled at Baselworld 2015.

Starting in 2006, Omega has supported Solar Impulse, a Swiss project led by Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard (whose father Jacques was the famed undersea explorer who reached the deepest point on Earth with a Rolex) that aims to fly a solar powered plane around the world. That will become a reality in March 2015, when the Solar Impulse aircraft will take off from Abu Dhabi and circumnavigate the globe, returning to its starting point after five months.

Worn by the pilots of the Solar Impulse, the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 features a plethora of functions, including triple time zones, three alarms, chronograph and countdown functions, and as well as perpetual calendar. For the pilots of Solar Impulse, the watch also includes an extra loud alarm that chimes every 20 minutes at a volume of 90 to 100 decibels (the same level as motorcycle engine) to keep the pilots awake during the night.

The calibre 5619 is thermo-compensated, which means the integrated circuit has been regulated to account for the effect on temperature on the quartz oscillator.

The 45 mm case is titanium with a blue ceramic bezel insert while the dial is a liquid crystal display (LCD) with analogue hour and minute hands.

The Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse is a limited edition of 1924 pieces, with 1924 being the year the first round-the-world flight took place. It’s fitted on a blue and green canvas NATO strap and is priced at 7600 Singapore dollars inclusive of 7% tax, equivalent to about US$6100.

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SIHH 2015 Roundup: Ralph Lauren – Everything Explained With Original Photos And Prices

Ralph Lauren smartly kept to more affordable watches this year, with several automotive-inspired watches featuring wood with wood dials and bezels, as well as additions to the entry level RL67 Safari Chronometer line.
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Ralph Lauren is unfortunately best known for its polo t-shirts, meaning it does not get enough credit for its watches, which are well designed and well made. While the brand started out in the wrong direction with overly pricey timepieces, it has dialled own its ambitions. Most of its new offerings from SIHH 2015 are accessibly priced.

The best looking line of watches from Ralph Lauren is the Automotive collection, inspired by the dash of the designer’s Bugatti 57SC Atlantic convertible, hence the use of wood on the dial or bezel.  The Automotive Chronometer is the new entry level model in the line-up, available in a 39 mm or 45 mm case. Well proportioned with a military-type aesthetic, the dial has an attractive elm burl wood inlay. Inside is a Sellita automatic movement. This is priced at 4800 Swiss francs for the 39 mm and 5000 Swiss francs for the 45 mm.

Offering a similar aesthetic is the Automotive Chronograph, though the spacing of the sub-dials give it a slightly cluttered appearance. The case is 45 mm in diameter. This is powered by the Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 751, a self-winding chronograph movement. The price tag is US$7800.

Also 45 mm is the RL Automotive, distinguished by the narrow, polished amboyna burl bezel, and the large “RL” logo at 12 o’clock that gives this its name.

The material for the bezel is unconventional, but the look works well. However, the durability of the bezel is worrying, given the size of the watch and the softness of wood.

Two versions of this are offered, one in steel with a matching bracelet (for 14,000 Swiss francs) and another with a black coated case (for 13,500 Swiss francs).

Both versions of the RL Automotive are equipped with the hand-wound IWC F.A. Jones calibre, visible through a display back with a faint grey tint.

The flagship model for 2015 is the RL Automotive Skeleton. This is essentially a skeletonised version of the watch above.

The bezel remains amboyna burl, while the movement remains the same Jones calibre, except it has been skeletonised in a manner that suits the design well. And the bridges and plates of the movement have been black coated, highlighting the gilded and steel components of the movement.

The RL Automotive Skeleton, however, is expensive, with a retail price of US$35,000. Ralph Lauren also grew its entry level RL67 Safari Chronometer line with the addition of two models, one featuring a camouflage pattern dial and another with a khaki dial.

Both use COSC-certified Sellita automatic movements, with steel cases finished in a tumble polished gunmetal, giving them a worn look. The camouflage model is US$4000 while the khaki dial is US$3750.

The rest of our SIHH roundups are right here:

A. Lange & Söhne

Cartier

Greubel Forsey

IWC

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Panerai

Parmigiani

Piaget

Ralph Lauren

Roger Dubuis 

Vacheron Constantin

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