At the origins of Antiquorum, two men: Osvaldo Patrizzi and Gabriel Tortella (†), both sharing the ability to appreciate the technical and artistic mastery of a watch’s mechanism. They were the first to understand the value of timekeepers and the vision to make them collectible objects and even investments objects.
A pioneer perspective leading to the creation of Antiquorum, in 1974 in Geneva, Switzerland, the first auction house devoted to timepieces.
Osvaldo Patrizzi spent thirty years of his career communicating about timekeepers as testimonies of our civilization history. Antiquorum team surrounded itself with the greatest watch experts such as Nathan Schoumolovitz (†) and Jean-Claude Sabrier (†) to Madeleine Ramel-Patrizzi (†), Simon Bull, Philip Poniz, Sharon Kerman-Bailly, Richard Chadwick, etc.
Today, the torch has been taken up by talented figures like Arnaud Tellier, Etienne Leménager, Julien Schaerer Jérome Lemoine and Romain Réa; an alliance of skills that spans the entire history of watchmaking.
Back in 1988, Antiquorum had the genius idea to organize thematic auctions, of which some of the most iconic ones:
- 1988 “The Art of Cartier”
- 1989 “The Art of Patek Philippe”
- 1991 “The Art of Breguet”
- 1993 “The Art of French Watchmaking”
- 1999 “The Art of Patek Philippe”
- 2005 “The Art of Vacheron Constantin” celebrating the 250th anniversary of the brand
- 2007 “Omegamania”
Each of them had been an indisputable success, generating international fervor amongst collectors.
Always ahead of its time, in 1979, Antiquorum settled an office in Hong Kong over 40 years ago and was one of the first international auction houses to organize auctions in Asia.
On September 22nd 2005, Antiquorum organized the very first edition of Only Watch, a biennial auction of one-off luxury timepieces for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy founded by Luc Pettavino in Monaco. Antiquorum was the first auction house specializing in watchmaking to officiate in the principality of Monaco.
Last March 21st 2020, Antiquorum became the First Major Auction House to host a confined Vintage & Contemporary watch auction broadcasting online in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“As the first horological auction house established in Geneva, it has always been part of Antiquorum philosophy to innovate. In 1974, nobody had thought that watches could be auctioned; today, in such an unprecedented situation it was challenging but important to accommodate with the context and to respect the fundamental stay at home priority” says Romain Réa – CEO & Watch Expert of Antiquorum.
WORLD RECORDS IN WATCHMAKING SALES
Antiquorum has established its market position with record results that have marked auctioneering history.
- Patek Philippe’s “Caliber 89” sold for over 5 million on April 1989 (lot 301)
- Cartier’s “Merle Oberon” necklace, with its 29 baroque emeralds, made history at “L’Art Magique de Cartier” sale in November 1996, with a staggering sale price of 2,643,500 CHF, predicting a bright future for jewellery at Antiquorum auctions
- Vacheron Constantin’s “Tour de l’Île” sold for 1,876,250 CHF on April 2005, establishing a new world record for a contemporary wristwatch
- Vacheron Constantin watch for King Fouad I of Egypt sold for 3,306,250 CHF and still holds today the world record for the highest price ever paid for a Vacheron Constantin wristwatch. Lot 182 – Geneva 3 April 2005: astronomical carillon trip minute-repeating, grande and petite sonnerie with silence, two-train clockwatch with split-seconds chronograph, 30-minute register, perpetual calendar and phases and age of the moon watch.
- This momentum continued into 2019, which witnessed no less than six new records, including:
- the remarkable 1795 clock from the Maison Jacquet-Droz & Leschot, fully enamelled and adorned with pearls, made for the Chinese market, featuring a singing bird, which was sold for 1,025,000 CHF (Lot 35 – Geneva 11 May 2019).
- Responding to current tastes for more sporty models, a steel Rolex Daytona chronograph Ref. 6263, from 1969, was bought for 1,100,000 CHF. The steep price can be explained by the very rare configuration of the so-called “Paul Newman RCO Musketeer” dial, with counters echoing the shape of “Musketeer” shirt cuffs (Lot 261 – Geneva 10 November 2019).