Philippe Dufour is a name that is regarded among the elite in horology and the master is known as perhaps the finest watchmaker of all time. His works fetch prices into the hundreds of thousands and as many watches decrease in value, his creations reach higher collectible values. Best known for three original designs including the Simplicity, the Duality, and the Grand Sonnier, a few variants also exists. We offer you the five best watches ever produced by the master craftsman.
1. Philippe Dufour Simplicity Number 17 – $250,000-$400,000
The Simplicity Number 17 is a distinct example that features the number along with the initials of the watchmaker engraved on the movements and the case. The simplicity offers luxurious beauty in the deceiving simple aesthetic that does not fully belie the true complexity of the inner workings. The case is a round shape that is offered in a 34mm width and is offered in your choice of white gold, yellow gold or rose gold materials the case front has been polished to a lustrous high gleaming finish. It’s complemented with a genuine leather strap with buckles that match the material of the watch case. A platinum edition has also been made available. There are a few variations found within the markers and dial colors. One commonality is the subsidiary seconds dial with its placement directly between the six and nine o’ clock positions. The markers feature a subtle application in most examples. The last year of production for the Simplicity and its variations was 1996.
2. Philippe Dufour Simplicity Pink Gold, 37mm edition
This rare watch is a breathtaking example of the customization process that avoids departure from the tradition of excellence extended through each Phillippe Dafour watch made. While not the usual build, this example features a rose gold material with the case, a larger 37mm round shape with a brightly polished finish. The watch recently surfaced in a Hong Kong auction with an undisclosed starting bid. The dial is a lacquer creation featuring contrasting roman numerals applied to a white background that makes up the face of the dial. This example bears the subtle engraving of PD which are the initials of the watchmaker and not found on every Simplicity model produced.
3. The Philippe Dufour Duality – $180,000
The Duality is so named for the two escapements which are innovatively housed within a single movement. The unique design distinguished the Duality for all time as the piece that was the debutante to exhibit the feature. The dual escapements are independent of one another, but are powered by one large barrel connected through one gear train. The intention along with the result has been an exceptional degree of precision in timekeeping that cuts the error at in half. Slight variations in the dial and in the cases are observed from one example of the model to another.
With a look that is nearly identical to the Simplicity, the distinctions lie within the placement of the subsidiary seconds. Those located on the left between the six and eight o’clock positions are the Duality and those with placement at the 6 o’clock position are Simplicity. Another glaring difference is in the value assigned to the two different models. While some anomalies occur within individual bidding events, on average, the Simplicity will double the value of a Duality, or sometimes better.
4. Philippe Dufour No. 2 Grande Sonnerie, 1995 – $458,858.16
The No. 2 Grand Sonnerie, 1995 is a rare and unique example of the original design crafted in an 18 karat white gold featuring a petite sonnerie wristwatch crafted with an enamel dial and a hinged case with a two-train minute repeating grande. This example features a 41mm diameter case made of 18 karat gold material. It features a circular shaped case with a hinged back. The movement is a caliber featuring 35 jewels with a minute repeating function along with a grande and petite sonnerie striking of the twin hammers in polished steel. The dial is an enamel type with wonderfully contrasting Roman style numerals, further complemented by blued steel hands in a moon-style along with subsidiary seconds. The case is a round shaped large 41mm in diameter housing in an 18k white gold high polished finished with signatures on the movement, dial and case.
5. Philippe Dufour Duality Platinum, 00 1996
This example is a specially built Philippe Dufour Duality in a platinum material with a black crocodile Philippe Dufour strap and clasp style buckle that matches the case materials. The case measures 35.5mm in diameter and is crafted of platinum with a high polish finish. The movement is a caliber 10 with 40 jewels. The significance of the double zero is evidence that this is the very first Duality that was made by the master watchmaker, increasing its overall value as an extremely rare and one of a kind collectible piece.