Traditional watchmaking scored a small but valuable victory on 30 May 2016 when the very first piece from the Le Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre project was sold for US$1,461,507 or HK$11,296,000 (based on the exchange rate of US$1 = HK$7.73) at Christie’s “Important Watches” auction held in Hong Kong.
Well, since we are on the topic of timekeeping which is about precision, this montre école or “school watch” was sold at 16:50 hours or UTC plus 8 on 30 May 2016.
Le Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre or “The Timekeeper – Birth of a Watch” when translated to English, is a highly noble initiative of master watchmakers Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and Philippe Dufour.
What is highly significant about this watch is that it is the result of six years of traditional watchmaking work and it is the very first watch from the Naissance d’une Montre project, hence it is known this montre école “school watch / prototype”.
This school watch was made by the “chosen one” – Michel Boulanger, a school teacher from a watch school in Paris, under the watchful guidance of Philippe Dufour, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, including highly skilled team members at Greubel Forsey.
Boulanger had never made a complete watch before this and he succeeded using traditional methods and processes.
What is also noteworthy is that the lowest estimated value for this school watch was US$450,000 while the highest was US$650,000.
In other words, the Christie’s auction was a super success for the Naissance d’une Montre project as the sale price was more than treble the lowest estimated value and more than double the highest estimated value.
This basically means more funding for the preservation of traditional watchmaking.
The entire proceeds will go to the Time Aeon Foundation that was set up in 2008. The buyer’s premium will also go to the Time Aeon Foundation, thanks to the support from Christie’s.
The funds raised will be used for the development of Naissance d’une Montre projects.
After this montre école reference, a further 11 fully-decorated watches will be made and each will be retailed at CHF450,000.
The online footage of the makings of this montre école can be found on youtube.
Naissance d’une Montre – “The Time Keeper – Birth of a Watch”
Pièce d’école or “school watch / prototype”
Semi-skeletonised tourbillon prototype in 18K white gold
By Greubel Forsey, Philippe Dufour and Michel Boulanger
Made in 2016
• Mechanical movement
• 25 jewels
• 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5 Hertz)
• Movement signed Michel Boulanger
• Silvered gold semi-skeletonised dial, two eccentric sub-dials for time display with enamel Arabic and baton numerals, and subsidiary seconds, blued steel hands
• Dial signed Greubel Forsey and Philippe Dufour
• Glazed display case back secured by four screws
• 45mm diameter case in 18K white gold
• Height of timepiece: 15.1mm
• Case signed Montre École and Naissance d’une Montre
• Montre École and Naissance d’une Montre finely engraved on the 18K white gold Tang buckle
If you would like to know more about the Naissance dune Montre project, do check out this article on timewerke.com:
i. Le Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre explained.