The World’s Largest Audemars Piguet Collection's Fate

The World’s Largest Audemars Piguet Collection's Fate

These Little Piguets Went to Marcus…

…These Little Piguets Went Home

 Marcus Margulies has my sympathy, though he doesn’t seem to need it. He’s just closed a chapter in his life of nearly three decades of hunting and bidding and sourcing, by selling his world-class collection of Audemars Piguet watches – the largest ever assembled. As I’m in the middle of parting with my collection of LPs – 52 years of my life invested in it – I know that such pain is real. But when asked if he is suffering as I am, Margulies simply shakes his head.

Marcus and Ken

Although only a sprightly 70-something, Margulies seems to have been preparing for this for years – despite no sense of resignation whatsoever in his voice. He’s simply ready to move on, after 27 years’ worth of stalking the rare AP. And there was only one home in mind, Margulies revealing that the negotiations “didn’t take very long”.

Margulies is disarmingly laid-back about a transaction that would have devastated most watch enthusiasts. “When you collect things and you’re in business,” he says. “You’ll have to forgive me, but I can’t take the collection with me. It should have gone to Audemars because it completes their collection and it’s a question of money.”

And that’s how much? He replies, “Ask Audemars.”

Following the sale, Margulies isn’t exactly an Audemars-free-zone. The watch that started it all, the one given to him by his father, “was never part of the collection”. It has been reported that the sale included 89 pieces, but Margulies says: “I think there were 91. What you have to realise is that I kept buying until the last minute. I bought, I think, three or four pieces this year. And they all went to Audemars.”

Does the fact that they all returned home to Audemars take the pain out of it? “There’s never any pain in selling anything.” But surely this was close to your heart? “Ken, Ken, I’m in business and there’s nothing in business close to my heart. My private life is very close to my heart, but my business life is my business life. I employ a lot of people and I am responsible for them.

“It’s a private thing between Audemars and myself, and I am very happy that it’s gone to them. It’s where it should be. I’ve had a very long association with Audemars Piguet and I certainly put a great deal of effort in, but I had a huge amount of fun acquiring the collection. And I tell you, I had a huge amount of fun selling it. And another thing, with the new AP museum opening soon, I’ll always be able to visit it.”

As with my LPs, which I won’t sell to a dealer, the thought of Margulies’s watches going to a good home certainly assuages any anguish. Add future access to the collection by the world’s connoisseurs, in Audemars Piguet’s museum, and that increases the rightness of the sale. As for Margulies, he has new and exciting projects to keep him busy – watch this space – while I’ve learned a lesson: as long as my LPs, too, find a good home, I can’t mourn the loss.

“If it’s something done under your own free will – and I actually didn’t do it for the money – then it’s not painful. The only things that matter in life, especially as one gets older, are the things money can’t buy.”

40mm Chronograph (1946)
1969 Yellow-Gold, Open Face Minute Repeater
1955 Yellow-Gold Perpetual Calendar
1929 Platinum Manual Jump Hour
1928 White- and Pink-Gold Wristwatch
1940 Yellow-Gold Watch with Decorative Lugs
1943 Gold and Steel Wristwatch
Rectangular Skeleton Watches (1926-1953)
Slim Beauties: Manual-Winding Ultra-Flat Watches (1956-1961)