Independents Set Auction Market On Fire

We are stoked! This watch auction season has been a real frenzy fuelled by the independents with their record sales. A group of famous indie brands, the bold and beautiful Richard Mille and MB&F, the venerable Philippe Dufour, and the late legend George Daniels, have all been welcomed in the recent Sotheby’s auctions. The remarkable results are a testament to their value and desirability.

Record-breaking Season

We focus our article on an insightful paper from Mr Geoffroy Ader, former Head of Luxury Watch Department at Sotheby’s in Geneva, who come from a family of Parisian auctioneers, with over 20 years’ experience in the fine watch auction market.

Enthusing over the George Daniels’ performance the article focuses on this record-breaking season kicked off by an exceptional watch signed by this watchmaking genius that became the new world record in this category.


The marvellous pocket watch lot 121 by George Daniels estimated at 1,200,000 GPB has been acquired for the modest price of 3,196,250 GBP.

In the wake of this fabulous success, Ader witnessed the second lot 122, “a wristwatch signed George Daniels, set fire to the auction room […] The low estimate of this watch, 80,000 GBP, was literally pulverized since the lot was sold [for] 200,000 GBP.”

Auction Indies Success Story

In essence,  Ader explains “the good results of these craftsmen of the dream watchmaker are truly a sign of the times, where pleasure is again associated with creativity, slowness deliberately facing against frantic pace of our consumption.”

True pillars of the Swiss watch industry, these independents infuse the market with the pace of slowness, a time of inspiration again respected.

“The meticulousness and passion with which [the independents] work their watch creations elevate their creations to masterpieces of art.”

Later on this season “Swiss independent watchmakers set fire [once again] to the auction rooms, this time in Hong Kong.”


In the same way “[the] lot 2198 signed Philippe Dufour was sold HKD 1’625’000.” Later that same day, “Lot 2326 by MB & F considered one of the most spectacular and ingenious watches the watch market has ever seen, sold for 1,150,000 HKD. The model was inspired by the design of military aircrafts from Second World War. Finally, lot 2343 by Richard Mille became the highlight of this season sold 14’500’000 HKD.”

At another intermediary auction, it was once again “Richard Mille that was the pinnacle of the auction with lot 9545, an interesting wristwatch with a blackened ceramic movement sold for 775,000 HKD.”


Richard Mille RM61-01 Yohan Blake Circa


Indies and Creativity

In the final analysis, Ader shares his view on a bright future for our cherished Indies “Many surprises from the watch auction world lead me to have a longer reflection about this article focusing on independent watchmakers from the auction block. It seems essential to me that they are the renewal scene of Swiss Haute Horlogerie.”

Given these points, we will simply conclude with this flattering comparison expressed by Mr. Ader – “Like in the fashion industry, you have two different sectors ‘couture’ and ‘haute couture’ and some of these master watchmakers to some extent have the genius and creativity of Yves Saint Laurent.”

All pictures credit to

Read full article on

Read full Sotheby’s report