Bonhams to sell one of the world's largest watch collections



2015-11-02 13:46:19

Bonhams has announced it will sell one of the world's largest private watch collections ever offered at auction.

‘The Collection of a European Nobleman’ features a remarkable 2,000 timepieces acquired by the late Jan Willem Frederik baron van Wassenaer, a member of one of Holland's oldest noble families with a heritage dating back to the 13th century.

“This is one of the largest single-owner watch collections the world has ever seen. We’re delighted that Bonhams have been selected to offer the entire collection at sales throughout the coming year,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Head of Watches.

“Owned by a European nobleman, they’ve been stored all around his home, with new ones still untouched in boxes, vintage ones in drawers, further pieces in the safe, and others piled up high in cupboards, or on his desk. A fantastic medley of watches, a collection consisting entirely of the things he adored."

Van Wassenaer is believed to have assembled the world's largest private collection of Longines timepieces, and was particularly dedicated to collecting Alpina watches due to a personal family connection.

His father had previously owed, then subsequently lost an Alpina watch, before passing away when Van Wassenaer was just 21 years old. His son's quest to collect the watches was believed to have been inspired by the idea that he would someday own the watch that had belonged to his father.

The collection also highlights Van Wassenaer's obsession with acquiring watches with the serial numbers 3, 13, and 33, and the wide-reaching scope of his interests.

“What makes this collection so special is not simply its vastness, but the extraordinary variety of watches included," said Darracott. "From the most renowned and exclusive watchmakers in the world, to independent manufacturers who produce only a few pieces per year.”

The first offering of watches from the collection will feature in Bonhams' Fine Watch sale in London on December 16. Highlights will include an 18K rose gold Audemars Piguet Grande and Petite sonnerie wristwatch estimated at £40,000-£60,000; a rare rectangular rose gold Glashütte tourbillon wristwatch estimated at £20,000-£30,000; and a large, rare and complicated rose gold IWC Spitfire Perpetual Calendar chronograph estimated at £12,000-£18,000.

The majority of the collection will be offered by Bonhams in sales throughout 2016.


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