When it comes to supporting a good cause, the global watch community can always be counted on to dig deep and throw its concerted weight behind it. We witness staggering results every two years at the Only Watch auctions in support of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Revolution’s own Pink Dial Project has raised substantial sums for breast cancer charities. The art world, on the face of it, achieves staggering sums at auctions; it is often said that the watch world is merely “playing at it” compared to the results that art auctions achieve. Having spent over a decade and a half in the education sector, initially as an arts specialist, I feel qualified to state that the on-the-ground picture is very different. Contemporary artists, arts education and exhibition centres are not rolling around in cash from aforementioned auctions. That cash sits with collectors and dealers primarily. The Swiss Institute is working in partnership with Phillips Watches during its New York sale this weekend to hold a benefit sale of watches to raise money to support the art world. With a fantastic assemblage of unique pieces on offer, some of which have been created alongside artists, this is a great opportunity to support a worthwhile cause and grab a special watch!
The Swiss Insitute is one of the world’s leading independent non-profit art venues, hosting exhibitions, education workshops, and public programs since 1986. Says Maja Hoffmann, President of Swiss Institute & Simon Castets, Executive Chair of Swiss Institute: “Swiss Institute is grateful for the outpouring of support from the watchmaking world; we see the beginning of a new wave of philanthropy. Haute Horlogerie is starting to embrace contemporary art of a new generation, moving the creative conversation forward in a way that is genuinely community-driven.”
The curated watches that are included in the inaugural TimeForArt auction, all focus of the theme of ‘artists for artists’ and are either unique collaborations with world-renowned artisans, interventions by leading contemporary artists, bespoke examples of innovative craftsmanship or coveted limited-edition timepieces. The companies that are taking part are Andersen Genève, Arnold & Son x Matt Copson, Chanel, Chopard, De Bethune x Marc Newson, Hermès x HODINKEE, HYT L’Epée x ECAL, Laurent Ferrier, M.A.D.Editions, Maurice Lacroix, Ralph Lauren, Romain Gauthier x Anita Porchet, Speake-Marin, Trilobe, UNIMATIC x King Nerd x Massena LAB and URWERK x Cooper Jacoby.
The New York Team at Phillips, headed by Paul Boutros, is delighted to have been able to include the 17 watches in its Watch Auction SEVEN sale. Boutros stated: “It’s our privilege to host TimeForArt – a first-of-its-kind, collaborative initiative with Swiss Institute. Seventeen lots were generously donated by some of the finest and most prestigious Swiss brands and we are certain the collection will not only excite watch collectors, but will also introduce art enthusiasts to the world of fine watches.”
All the pieces that make up the TimeForArt collection will be offered with “no reserve” and 100% of sale proceeds, including Phillips’ buyer’s premium, will be donated to the Swiss Institute.
Highlights include a M.A.D. Edition from 2021 (Lot 21) that was the former property of designer Eric Giroud. The offered watch is one of the blue watches that have proven to be extremely popular with collectors. Romain Gauthier has worked with Anita Porchet, who has painted on enamel to create a unique watch, C by Romain Gauthier Platinum Edition (Lot 23). Another unique piece is a steel Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor with a jade dial (Lot 43). Stone dial watches are hot at the moment and I’m pretty sure this will sell incredibly well.
Another fascinating inclusion is a 30-minute hourglass by DeBethune and Marc Newson (Lot 129), one of the world’s leading industrial designers. An eye-catching threesome is included in the shape of Unimatic, Massena lab and London-based artist King Nerd (Lot 130). This unique bronze watch features a hand-engraved dial inspired by William Tell and his famous apple. HYT has donated a very colourful piece, a unique DLC-coated titanium fluid-filled wristwatch with rainbow SuperLuminova hours, (Lot 113) that look the same hue in normal and low light conditions.
The full catalogue is available to view here and the lots are being offered across both sessions this weekend at Phillips New York sale.