Best known as a watch auctioneer par excellence, Phillips recently established Perpetual, a watch store inside its London showroom on Berkeley Square. A permanent showroom offering watches year-round, Perpetual was conceived to offer clients something to buy in-between the twice-yearly watch auctions.
Perpetual comes a few months after the successful pop-up store that took place in March, where a Philippe Dufour Simplicity was purchased by Jean-Claude Biver, the legendary watch entrepreneur who’s now the non-executive chairman of the LVMH watch division.
The watch department in London, led by financier-turned-watch-specialist James Marks, is the first outpost of Phillips to have a permanent store. “I believe that auction houses cannot apply the same business model to every geographical location,” explains Mr Marks, “and rather than rely on traditional seasons we need to be proactive with clients year round.”
Perpetual officially opens on Wednesday, September 4, with a cocktail party and panel discussion. The panel is made of two industry luminaries – Mr Biver and Phillips’ auction chief Aurel Bacs – and myself. To RSVP for the panel discussion, register online with Phillips.
The inaugural offering at Perpetual is diverse, encompassing both vintage and modern watches. Being a personal favourite of Mr Marks, Rolex “Zenith” Daytonas are well represented, but the line-up also includes a selection of choice examples of independent watchmaking. [Full disclosure: I helped curate part of the independent watchmaking selection.]
The top watch is unquestionably the Roger Smith Series 2, “Edition 2, no. 1”, in a 38mm case made of 18k pink gold.
One of just five “Edition 2” watches made – all in the less common 38mm case – this is one of the earliest known examples of the Series 2. Mr Smith had planned the “Edition 2” as limited edition run, but scrapped the idea in favour of customised Series 2s instead, which why only five were made.
It’s accompanied by box and papers, and comes from the original owner who wore it less than a dozen times in as many years.
Another independent watchmaking highlight is an F.P. Journe Tourbillon Remontoire d’Egalite in stainless steel, one of the watches from the limited edition five-piece set the brand produced to mark the end of its 38mm case size. This too is being offered by its original owner.
Amongst F.P. Journe tourbillons, this is the rarest in terms of the movement – it is powered by the cal. 1493, which is the first generation movement was originally equipped with brass bridges and plates. But here the bridges and plates are in 18k red gold, a feature found only on the 38 tourbillons from the five-piece sets.
The line-up also includes iconic watch design, embodied by watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and Cartier Crash. The example of the Crash at Perpetual is one of the 50-piece limited edition from 2017, the Radieuse reimagines the classic Cartier Crash by incorporating a radiating shockwave motif into the case that continues onto the case.
And a Singer unveil
Perpetual will also be a platform to showcase independent watchmakers from time to time, starting with Singer Reimagined. The horological offshoot of eponymously named classic Porsche builder, Singer will debut the London Edition of its signature Track 1 chronograph at Perpetual.
The Track 1 is powered by the intricate and clever chronograph movement developed by Geneva specialist Agenhor, allowing all of the chronograph indications to be combined on a single, central axis, creating a clean, functional dial. Limited to 50 watches, the London Edition has a titanium case and a dark, metallic blue dial.
Event and venue information
To register for the panel discussion, RSVP with Phillips.
Phillips Perpetual is open Monday to Friday, 10:00am-5:30pm.
30 Berkeley Square
London W1J 6EX
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