The world’s largest private Swatch collection at Sotheby’s
It is quite unusual for Swatch to make headlines on the second hand market, but when you got the largest private Swatch collection going under hammer, it won’t pass unnoticed. Over the years, Paul Dunkel, a passionate European collector, acquired more than 5,800 elements, including exclusive prototypes, limited and special edition Swatch watches from 1983 to 2007, and collected artwork relating to Swatch designs.
His collection will go under hammer on April 7, at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, as a superlot called Swatch & Art from the Dunkel Collection.
Mr Dunkel declared
Collecting both the Swatch and the artworks is like having an intriguing marriage that works perfectly well, affording people the luxury of admiring art objects on their wrists.
What I enjoy the most about Swatch is that everybody can relate to it: regardless of age, origin, colour, culture, job and taste, most of us have had a Swatch in our lives. Over the years I have built an encyclopedic collection comprising nearly every model of Swatch produced in their first 25 years. I would like to thank Sotheby’s for the opportunity to share them with the world and I am looking forward to passing the legacy on to the next owner.
Among the Swiss brands, Swatch was a clear winner of the quartz revolution. In 1985, they have launched the Swatch Art Special collections, a series of collaborations with world-famous or up-and-coming artists from a broad range of disciplines initiated by Nicolas Hayek, founder of the Swatch Group.
Names immortalised in Swatch Art Special collaborations range from artists such as Keith Haring, Mark Kostabi, Sam Francis, Mimmo Paladino, Mimmo Rotella – most of them featured at the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum and Fondation Maeght – to world phenomena such as the Olympics Games, Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, the FIFA World Cup and James Bond movies along with their infamous villains. Produced in limited and numbered editions, each Swatch Art Special commemorates a unique occasion, extraordinary event or person.
Also known as “Kiki Picasso”, the French painter, moviemaker and designer Christian Chapiron (b. 1948), was the first artist featured in Swatch Art Special. This present example launched in 1985 is one of the first Swatch Art Special watches designed by Kiki Picasso, featuring a portrait of his wife and accompanied by a Swatch Kiki Picasso poster. Limited to just 140 pieces, Kiki Picasso is considered one of the most sought-after special editions Swatches. A Kiki Picasso wristwatch was auctioned in London for US$28,000 / HK$218,400 in 1992.
Very limited quantities of Swatch prototypes exist in the market, which places them among the rarest of Swatch collectibles. This collection encompasses some of the most unique Swatch prototypes from the early 1980s.
Launched in 2002 to celebrate 007’s 40th anniversary, the James Bond Leather Briefcase comes with 20 watches each representing a Bond movie, the release date and title of which are engraved on the strap.
The 007 collection is followed in 2008 with the launch of the James Bond Villains Set, produced in 222 numbered editions to pay tribute to some of Bond’s most outstanding nemeses from the best-known 007 films, including Christopher Walken’s venomous Max Zorin, Gerd Froebe’s Goldfinger and Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre.
As Nick Hayek said, “Omega is James Bond’s watch of choice, but real interesting villains prefer Swatch”.
For more information and images go to www.sothebys.com