CULTURE

Extravagance in timepieces

As a highly successful executive in watchmaking companies, Richard Mille’s dream was to create his own, top-end watchmaking label. He succeeded; Horometrics and Richard Mille Watches was established in 1999. This niche brand is based on powerful design and technical innovation and features the RM chronographer series (including new arrival 004, with prices ranging from 105 to 111,000 euros). «It’s refreshing to develop something in a crowded world,» said Mille. For master watchmaker Francois-Paul Journe, the beauty of the craft goes back to 18th century wizards, such as Abraham-Louis Breguet. Having developed his first pocket watch at the age of 20, Journe went on to execute special orders. In 1999, he created a collection signed F.P. Journe with the working Invenit et Fecit – certifying the uniqueness of each model. «There is no point in making a new model per se,» said Journe, «but in order to add something new to chronometry.» The notion of watches as collectors’ items was also on the agenda. «Quality, rarity, exclusivity, authenticity and style,» said Aurel Bacs, international head of Christie’s watch department, on the subject of what makes a watch a collectible, adding that today, vintage watches may also trigger trends. «We create excitement,» said Geoffroy Ader of Antiquorum, a leading watch auctioneer, citing examples of big sellers: a Rolex Daytona going for 7,300,000 euros in Geneva and a 12-million-euro Patek Philippe sold in New York. What about tomorrow’s collectibles? «Today’s limited series,» said the experts.