It was a little over a month ago that Phillips announced it would be selling this watch and I gave you a pretty in-depth report on the background, context, and watch then. However, since then, I’ve had a chance to chat with the folks at Phillips and see the watch in the metal, giving me a slightly better understanding of what this watch is, why it’s meaningful, and how it came to be up for public auction.
The short version of the story is this: In 1935, a collector named Francisco Martinez Llano ordered a custom minute repeater with retrograde calendar complication from Vacheron Constantin through Madrid retailer Brooking. In early 1940 the watch was delivered to him in South America and it remained with the family ever since. The only outside evidence of this watch was a lone black-and-white photograph found in a book published in 1992. Last year, Phillips Watches’ Aurel Bacs found the watch and worked with Vacheron Constantin to have it brought back to working order and properly documented. Now it’s hitting the auction block. (If you want to know more, check out that original story liked to above.)