Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – Top Three

So much happens in the watch industry, it’s nice to have some way to filter the wealth of releases, developments, and occasions that whizz by as the calendar is chewed up by time.

Award ceremonies are a great indicator of what’s hot and what’s not. More importantly, though, winning an award from a prestigious institution like the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) can add value and an esteemed provenance to a wristwatch purchased with investment in mind.

Here are my top three winners from the GPHG, based on aesthetics, mechanical sophistication, and collectability.


Image courtesy of Grönefeld

The Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire watch in rose gold is, in my opinion, one of the most refined and timeless watches to come from the minds of this Dutch fraternity. Listed at CHF 54,880 (about £42,817) this 39.5mm watch is limited to just 188 pieces. In terms of longevity, the size is a smart move. If you need a wow factor on your wrist, the movement is more than able to oblige.

So why did it win?

In clocks (and some watches) a fusée chain can help equalise the level of torque generated by the barrel by effectively keeping the power on a constant leash. The Remontoire does this flawlessly for the entirety of its 36 hours of power reserve before a stop-work kicks and shuts the whole thing down before a deviation in power can occur. Devilishly complex to achieve, the resulting isochronism is simply genius.


Image courtesy of MB&F

The MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual exactly the kind of fusion of old and new that speaks to multiple camps. At 44mm it’s on the large side, but with so much to digest it requires that space to not feel cramped. On the wrist it’s an endless wonder. Tip: Don’t wear it while driving – you’ll never look at the road!

So why did it win?

It’s simple to use. No, really. The perpetual calendar is one of the most complicated complications to set-up, but Stephen McDonnell, the calibre guru that designed the movement for MB&F has done the unthinkable by making it user-friendly and easy to adjust. You can own of his masterpieces for CHF 181,500 (£141,607).


Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is a chiming delight from the future. For most people, the entire Royal Oak collection is a love or hate thing, so I won’t preach about the universal appeal of this piece, because it simply doesn’t have it. What it does have is an aggressive, almost maniacal individuality and such an unwavering commitment to the cutting edge it’s a wonder its designers haven’t bled to death on their imagination.

So why did it win?

It sounds amazing. The acoustics of this super-light titanium case rival are crisp beyond compare, with the ceramic elements warming the tone a treat. The result is an audible feast and a snip at CHF 561,600 (£438,162).

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

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Top 5 Most Expensive Pieces of Football Memorabilia

From trophies to winning shirts, Borro takes a look at the top 5 most expensive football memorabilia that has ever been sold in auction.

  1. Alan Ball’s World Cup Medal: £164,800.

When England won the World Cup in 1966, Alan Ball was the youngest player to receive a World Cup medal at 21 years old. 34 years after the win, he put the medal to auction at Christie’s, which sold for £164,800.

Alan Ball's World Cup Medal

Image source:

  1. Jules Rimet Trophy Replica: £254,500.

This trophy is what was originally awarded when a team won the world cup. When a replica of this trophy was sold at auction by FIFA for £254,500 in 1997, which was ten times the reserve price, it was rumoured that the trophy may have actually been real. It was later analysed and proven to be just a replica.

Jules Rimet Trophy Replica

Image Source:

  1. Oldest Surviving FA Cup £478,400.

Four FA Cups were made in 1896 and were handed out to every winner of the competition between 1896 – 1910. This is the only one of the four that has ever been sold. In 2005, it sold at auction at Christies for £478,400.

Oldest Surviving FA Cup

Image Source:

  1. Football Rules Book £881,250.

This is the oldest known rules book for football, made by the world’s oldest football club – Sheffield FC. It was sold by Sheffield FC in 1857 as a pamphlet to raise money for the club. In 2011, Sotheby’s auctioned it off for £881,250.

Football Rules Book

Image Source:

  1. Geoff Hurst’s World Cup Winning Shirt: £2.3 Million.

Geoff Hurst wore this shirt when he scored the winning goal against West Germany in 1966, allowing the England football team to win the World Cup. In 2000, it was sold at auction for £91,750, and then again in 2012 for a massive £2.3 million.

Geoff Hurst's World Cup Winning Shirt

Image Source:

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Top Five Watch Auction Tips for Beginners

Even if the luxury watch market has experienced a few bumps over the past year (thanks very much global economy), the pre-loved market is booming. But if you want to get in on the action there are some things you ought to know. With Christie’s Magnificent Jewels and Important Watches, Sotheby’s US Important Watches auctions, Sotheby’s George Daniels, Father of Modern Horology and Celebration of the English Watch Sale, and Bonhams Fine Watches Sale on the horizon we thought it’d be a good time to give you potential investors the low-down on the simple dos and don’ts of watch auctions.


Tip 1: Go to the Auction

This might sound obvious, but in this digital age you don’t always actually have to be at an auction house to take part in the physical proceedings. You can place an advance bid via the phone or Internet, but you should avoid this until you’ve had a lot of experience of interpreting auction catalogues or possess an entourage who can examine the pieces on your behalf if you can’t make it to the show.

Tip 2: Talk to Experts

Get involved in the horological community. Talk to watch lovers on forums and especially experts present at the events. Build up as full a picture of the piece you’re interested in before buying. Does it hold its value? Does it run well? Is it comfortable to wear? Is it cool or an academic curio (or both)? Know your target inside and out before you raise your card.


Tip 3: Do your Research

It’s important to look into your chosen auction house’s past experiences with your target model. Look into previous prices for watches of this type. Do they have a regular price or is it a bit scattershot? If it falls into the latter category, you need to find out why…

Tip 4: Turn over Every Stone

Check if the watch has ever had any special edition variants, or any misprints on the dial that might send the price through the roof. The watch might be known for a particular weak spot that could send the value through the floor. If, for example, the apple of your eye is known for being fitted with after-market parts, make sure you know about it. ‘Franken-watches’ (watches containing unofficial parts) lack the provenance and therefore the value of an original. Auction houses should state if a watch has been ‘Frankened’, but you need to know what it means and why it drastically drops the price you should be willing to pay for your new old timepiece.


Tip 5: Don’t Forget About the Commission!

Auction houses need to make their money somewhere, and they do so by charging buyers (as well as sellers) a percentage on the final sale value of the piece. This can vary from house-to-house, but it’s often somewhere in the 10-20% region depending on the sale price (higher hammer prices generally mean lower buyer premiums). There can also be other hidden fees, so watch out!

And finally…

Very few people manage to make serious money from buying and selling watches. Watches are as much emotional investments as they are monetary. If you are sure you want to own the watch, go ahead and bid for it, but don’t do it if you don’t believe in the purchase. Being personally happy with your acquisition is the only way to guarantee success, so make sure you’re sure before the hammer drops.

Images courtesy of author

 Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

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Must-See December 2016 Auction Dates

As 2016 comes to a close, Borro shows you which auctions you would not want to miss before the year ends. From paintings to jewels to watches, you could be treating yourself or a loved one to something special this Christmas.

Sotheby’s Old Master and Sculpture and Works of Art – 6Th December, London

Sotheby’s Old Master and Sculpture and Works of Art

This sale includes highlights from the Reinhold Hofstatter Collection in Vienna. Such items include a life-size statue of St Florian, and a 16th century Virgin who balances on the moon. The top item is the Rothschild ivory Nef from the Taubman Collection.


Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening Sale – 07 December, London

Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening Sale

Three very important private collections will lead this Sotheby’s sale. With pieces from as early as 1650, Dutch and Flemish paintings hold a timeless beauty that will surely get buyers out of their seats. Two portraits will lead the collections in the sale on the 7th December.


Sotheby’s Fine Jewels – 13 December, London

Sotheby’s Fine Jewels

Aimed at experienced collectors, this auctions hosts a variety of jewels, from houses including Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari with minimum estimates of £3000. The sale will include diamonds, pearls and coloured gemstones, meaning there’s something for everyone.


Bonhams Fine Watches & Wristwatches Including the Collection of a European Nobleman – 14 December, London


This auction includes watches from the top-players in the luxury watch market. From Rolex to Patek Philippe, there’s a watch for everyone’s taste. With 153 lots, there will be plenty for the luxury watch collector to choose from.

Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings – 14 December, London

Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings

From Scandinavia to Spain, and Paris to Poland, this sale incorporates incredible paintings from all over Europe. You’ll be able to see how diverse artwork is from the 19th Century from a range of 88 pieces.


Sotheby’s Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas Tompion – 15 December, London

Sotheby’s Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas Tompion

This sale includes watches that have been carefully selected just for this auction. It includes pieces right through the 17th Century to the 20th Century. It also explores Thomas Tomion’s greatest achievements in timekeeping, and celebrating his students contributions.


Sotheby’s Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art – 15th December, London

Sotheby’s Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

This sale includes pieces from artists that were heavily influenced by the artistic advances that allowed British art to be revolutionized in the late 19th Century. There is a range of drawings, oil paintings and watercolours from Victorian artists such as Frederic Leighton.

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AuctionAuction HouseVerticalStart DateLocationURL
Valuable printed books and manuscriptsChristiesFine Art & Antiques01/12/2016London
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art, Maritime Art, Sporting and Wildlife ArtChristiesFine Art & Antiques01/12/2016London
December Jewels OnlineChristiesJewellery01/12/2016Online
Cufflinks for the Modern GentlemanChristiesJewellery01/12/2016Online
THE BOND STREET SALEBonhamsFine Art & Antiques04/12/2016London, New Bond Street
Fine Books and ManuscriptsSotheby'sFine Art and Antiques05/12/2016New York
History of Science and TechnologyBonhamsFine Art And Antiques05/12/2016New York
Native American ArtBonhamsFine Art And Antiques05/12/2016San Francisco
Medieval and Renaissance ManuscriptsSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
Old Master and Sculpture and Works of ArtSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
Old Master and British Paintings Evening SaleChristiesFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
SculptureChristiesFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
AntiquesChristiesFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
Photographs: The ClassicsChristiesFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016Online
African and Oceanic ArtBonhamsFine Art And Antiques06/12/2016LA
Important WatchesChristiesWatches06/12/2016New York
Modern and Contemporary Prints and MultiplesBonhamsFine Art And Antiques06/12/2016New York
The Bible Collection of Charles Caldwell RyrieSotheby'sFine Art and Antiques06/12/2016New York
Voice of the 20th CenturyBonhamsFine Art And Antiques06/12/2016new York
Old Master Evening SaleSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016London
Old Master Drawings and British Drawings and WatercoloursChristiesFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016London
European ArtHeritageFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016Dallas
Lapidary works of art, gemstones and mineralsBonhamsFine Art And Antiques07/12/2016LA
Luxury AccessoriesHeritageHandbags07/12/2016Dallas
Magnificent JewelsChristiesJewelry07/12/2016New York
Fine Watches, Wristwatches and ClocksBonhamsFine Art And Antiques08/12/2016New York
WineHeritageFine wine09/12/2016California
Arms & ArmorHeritageFine Art & Antiques10/12/2016Dallas
Rock & RollSotheby'sFine Art and Antiques10/12/2016New York
Fine JewelsSotheby'sJewelry13/12/2016London
English Literature, History, Children?s Books and IllustrationsSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques13/12/2016London
American Indian ArtHeritageFine Art & Antiques13/12/2016Dallas
Coins and MedalsBonhamsFine Art And Antiques13/12/2016new York
Fine Asian Works of ArtBonhamsFine Art And Antiques13/12/2016San Francisco
FINE WATCHES & WRISTWATCHESBonhamsJewellery & Watches14/12/2016London, New Bond Street
19th and 20th Century SculptureSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques14/12/2016London
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist ArtChristiesFine Art & Antiques14/12/2016London
Fine Printed Books And Manuscripts, Including AmericanaChristiesFine Art & Antiques14/12/2016New York
George Daniels, The Father of Modern HorologySotheby'sFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016LondonN/A
Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas TompionSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016London
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist ArtSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016London
Topographical PicturesChristiesFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016London
Arms and ArmourChristiesFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016London
Animation ArtHeritageFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016Dallas
Important JudaicaSotheby'sFine Art and Antiques15/12/2016new York
Israeli & International ArtSotheby'sFine Art and Antiques15/12/2016New York
JapaneseChristiesFine Art & Antiques16/12/2016London
Kansas CityMecumcars01/12/2016kansas
the bond sreet saleBonhamscars04/12/2016london
the december saleBonhamscars07/12/2016london
Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture & PopSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques01/12/2016Online
Prints & Multiples OnlineSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques01/12/2016Online
Contemporary ArtSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016Paris
De Magritte à IndianaSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016Paris
Impressionist & Modern ArtSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016Paris
The Vittorio & Caterina Di Capua CollectionSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques08/12/2016London
English Literature, History, Children?s Books and IllustrationsSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques13/12/2016London
Ancient Egyptian Sculpture & Works of ArtSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques15/12/2016New York
Impressionist & Modern ArtSotheby'sFine Art & Antiques16/12/2016New York
Living with ArtChristiesFine Art & Antiques02/12/2016New York
The Resandro CollectionChristiesFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
Paris JewelsChristiesJewelry & Watches06/12/2016Paris
European Sculpture and Works of ArtChristiesFine Art & Antiques06/12/2016London
From Ancient to Modern A Distinguished Art CollectionChristiesFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016London
Magnificant JewelsChristiesFine Art & Antiques07/12/2016New York
Old Masters Evening SaleChristiesFine Art & Antiques08/12/2016London
Old Masters Day SaleChristiesFine Art & Antiques09/12/2016London
The Collection of Chiara and Francesco CarraroChristiesFine Art & Antiques12/12/2016New York
19th Century European & Orientalist ArtChristiesFine Art & Antiques13/12/2016London

World’s First Sports Car Headlines Bonhams’ Bond Street Sale


1914 Vauxhall ‘Prince Henry’ Torpedo

After the madness of the Duemila route in Milan things settle back down with the traditional December Bond Street sale from Bonhams. One lot gathering generous interest is a 1914 Vauxhall 25hp ‘Prince Henry’ Sports Torpedo, regarded as the world’s first sports car.

Remarkably the first owner T. W. Badgery amassed 140,000 miles through 1931. His passion for touring taking the car to travel the world. In fact, the three further owners of the car have also taken great pleasure in sharing the car around the world and have helped to make this a very desirable car for those interested in vintage cars. The car is estimated to achieve £500,000-£600,000 on December 4th.


Mercedes-Benz SLS 63 AMG

If you prefer something a little more modern the Mercedes-Benz SLS 63 AMG is also worth a look. These cars are still undervalued and relatively rare on the roads. This particular car has covered just over 13,000 miles during its life under two owners. The second owner has had the car in professional storage for 20 months. The estimate is £100,000-£120,000 and at that money is well worth consideration.


1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello

The 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello offered at an estimate of £200,000-£240,000 is a very interesting lot. Perhaps the perfect specification. Rosso Corsa paint with Crema hide and a manual gearbox. With one owner and just 4,054 miles on the odometer you can start to understand the high estimate, only time will tell if this fine car can match pre-sale expectations. One to watch.


2003 Aston Martin V12 Zagato

A true modern classic, the 2003 Aston Martin V12 Zagato. Announced in 2011, Aston Martin’s 50th anniversary, this car is a modern incarnation of the much desired DB4GT Zagato. Just 61 cars were built and this particular example is number 47. Beautifully specified by its original owner and still in their ownership the car has covered just 400km from new. A fine display of resistance indeed!

£500,000-£600,000 is not unreasonable. Back in the summer RM Sotheby’s sale at Battersea one changed hands for £655,200 and carried 4,200kms on the odometer. An incredibly rare modern car that is bound to become a fine classic.


Porsche Carrera GT

The Porsche Carrera GT has had a somewhat troubled life with high profile crashes leading some to call the car dangerous. It is intact as most Porsches are, exceptionally good and well composed. But lest we forget this is a 612bhp supercar capable of well over 200mph. Just 1,270 cars were built out of a proposed 1,500. It’s a small number but three times more than the Ferrari Enzo. There is no denying these will become classics of the future and currently are undervalued. This example was an American car brought over to the UK by a well-known collector and prepared for UK roads. As such it is LHD, it has also had some small repairs to the off-side front of the car. The car does have just 1,722 miles but may still struggle infant of an increasingly discerning auction crowd. The estimate is £480,000-£540,000. Expect it to sell on the lower side of that estimate.

Images: © Bonhams 2016

About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Properties Outside of the UK

The UK property market is regular topic and one that Borro pays close attention to as a provider of loans secured by property and luxury assets. We decided to broaden our scope and take a look at the most expensive properties in the international market.

  1. Colorado – £14.2 million

most expensive properties

Kick-starting our list is this plot of 1278 acres has the Elk River flowing through it, allowing 2 miles worth of fishing right. There are 3 bedrooms in the main houses, but the guest cabins provide 12 more.

Sphere Estates

9. Connecticut, USA – £18 million

most expensive properties

This beautiful Tudor-style mansion comes with 128 acres of land. It has 2 guest cottages, 11 bedrooms, 11 stalls in the equestrian barn to compliment the riding tracks. It’s also less than 20 minutes to New York by air, and comes with its very own helipad. That may be why this wonderful property is worth £18 million.

Halstead Property

8. Montreux, Switzerland – £19 million

most expensive properties

This property is a 19th century villa by Lake Geneva. There’s a grand entrance hall followed by 3 spiral staircases for 3 floors. It is home to 6 bedrooms and 6 office spaces and is worth a lovely £19 million.


7. New York, USA – £21 million

most expensive properties

Based in Manhattan, this 3-floor penthouse has 5 bedrooms and large entertainment areas. There’s a large rooftop area with seating and a Jacuzzi, overlooking the city. This New York apartment is 8th on our list at £21 million.

Halstead Property

6. Florida, USA – £22 million

most expensive properties

This property is just one of 32 homes located on the little Island of Indian Creek. The island is all about exclusivity: from an exclusive golf course to an exclusive police force. The chateau boasts 7 bedrooms over the space of 2 acres, costing around £22 million.

ewm Realty International

5. Mallorca, Spain- £41m

most expensive properties

This property was designed to meet the needs of a buyer looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Its hilltop location allows for enjoying a breath-taking view of the greenery and lake along with a myriad of activities. It features an indoor and outdoor pool, wine cellar and media room. This majestic villa is also primed for entertaining with 8 bedrooms for guests who are sure to want to make an extended visit.

Mollorca Sothebys Realty

4. Marrakech, Morocco – £45.9 million

most expensive properties

There’s a reason why the detailing to this apartment is so elegant – it took 3 years and 2,000 craftsmen to complete. It goes by the name ‘The House Under the Palms’ and has 8 bedrooms, and even its own reception area. The gardens play a large role in the beauty of this house, with wonderful flower displays, pools, water features and let’s not forget the forest of palms. That might explain why this stunning property is going for £45.9 million.

Aylesford International

3. New York, USA – £57 million

most expensive properties

This apartment is designed for city-lovers who have a love for luxury. It is located in what will be the tallest residential skyscraper in the western hemisphere. Half of these apartments have been sold and the building is not even complete yet. This apartment will still cost buyers £57 million.

432 Park Avenue

2. Switzerland – £58 million

most expensive properties

This penthouse apartment is not any old penthouse – it’s the largest one on the Swiss market. Located on Mont Pelerin, the apartment features incredible views 365 days a year, and will only set a prospective buyer back £58 million.

Gateway Real Estate Group

  1. Beverly Hills, California – £68 million

most expensive properties

Located in one of the most iconic areas of luxury, this beautiful house boasts one of the longest private driveways in Beverly Hills. It looks like something out of a movie – because it is. Scenes from The Bodyguard and the Godfather were filmed here. There is plenty of room for guests, as this mansion holds 29 bedrooms and 40 bathrooms. The luxury continues to the exterior, with an outdoor dining area with enough seating for 400 people. This property is set to sell for £68 million, placing it at the top of our list.

Hilton & Hyland

So there we have it, the top 10 most expensive list of international properties for sale right now, and what a diverse list it is. From villas to mansions to sky-scraper apartments, it seems that the luxury property market is catering for everyone at the minute.

Image Source: The Telegraph

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Art Finance Conferences 2017

The art and finance market is merging together more than ever, and many businesses are reaping the benefits. Borro has compiled a list of the top art finance conferences to attend next year, following their 2016 success.

The Art Business Conference – spring 2017, New York

The Art Business Conference 2014The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

The Art Business Conference 2014The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

This event is perfect for all collectors, buyers, sellers, advisors, gallery owners and auctioneers. There is a diverse range of presentations, discussions, workshops and Q&A sessions, allowing attendees to look into the key issues that are affecting the international art market.

This year, topics included the art scene in the Middle East, risks to owners and sellers, the art market value, online branding, Brexit’s effect on TA and VAT and protection of art assets.

The day closes with a networking event were attendees can get the chance to interact with others that operate in the art business sector.

Read more here: The Art Business Conference

Allianz Arts and Business NI Awards 2017


2015 Winners

This event sets out to bridge the world between art and business. The awards showcase creative collaborations between businesses and the benefits of working closely together.

Six awards will be presented, included the “Business of the Year” awards which goes to the business that has creatively integrated arts and culture with its business strategy.

One lucky arts organisation will be presented with an award worth £3000 to help them pioneer their ideas and develop themselves as an innovative business.

Read more here: Allianz Arts and Business NI Awards

Deloitte Art and Finance International Conferences 2017


Here, local players and industry experts are brought together to explore issues and discuss their visions for the future.

This year, the event looked at topics such as how the art market is developing, increasing the visibility of a fine art collection, how to protect art, how to turn it into a working asset and how to maintain an art collection over time.

The event closed with an exclusive tour of the Van Gogh Museum and a speech by his great grandson.

Read more here: Deloitte Art and Finance International Conferences

So there are the top art finance conferences to keep an eye on for next year. Whether youre in industry expert or new to the scene, the learning and networking potential of these events are great – so make sure to get involved!

Have we missed any? Let us know and we’ll add it to the blog.

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Sotheby’s Spread the Ziggy Stardust at Bowie Sale


Beautiful, hallo, space-boy, a spin painting which David Bowie created with Damien Hirst in 1995. As a general rule, these have fallen in value since pre-crash 2007 but it tripled its estimate to bring £785,000 at Sotheby’s.

Delivering the Sizzle

They call it ‘the sizzle’ – the dramatic music, moving pictures and dimmed lights that have become the norm in advance of a high-profile sale at Sotheby’s. Anything to get the audience in the mood to spend.

The sizzle for the Bowie: Collector sale conducted in London across three sessions on November 11-12 was one of the best yet – a video proclaiming the great man’s love of art with no shortage of backing tunes to pick from. Rarely had the Sotheby’s marketing engine been revved harder than it was for this moment – and the sale lived up to the hype.

Record Setting Attendance

The numbers speak for themselves. Some 51,470 visitors attended the pre-sale exhibition (a record for any London view), the trio of sales were attended by over 1,750 bidders while over 26,500 watched online. With estimates often proving an irrelevance, it took over 12 hours to sell every one of the 356 lots. It won’t be Sotheby’s biggest sale of the year – the total of £32.9m was less than the $50m (£40m) Edvard Munch’s Girls on Bridge achieved single-handedly by in New York the following week – but in terms of exposure, marketing and positive PR this was a masterclass.

Record Setting Prices

There were record prices for more than half of the artists included in the sale – sums that reflected both some well-chosen works and a large sprinkling of Ziggy Stardust.

Bowie had been particularly active in the art market in the 1990s – buying from the London dealer Bernard Jacobson and a regular at auctions of Modern British art with his art advisor Kate Chertavian. He would occasionally bid big for something he liked, paying a muscular £111,500 in 1994 for Interior (Mrs Mounter), 1917, a wartime domestic scene by the Camden Town School artist Harold Gilman. Two decades later, it is a record-holder again, selling at £485,000.


Frank Auerbach’s impasto oil Head of Gerda Boehm (1965), bought by David Bowie for £54,300 in 1995, reached a record £3.8m

In 1995 Bowie, had paid a prescient £54,300 for Frank Auerbach’s impasto oil Head of Gerda Boehm (1965) – a work about which he later said: “My God, yeah! I want to sound like that looks.” Auerbach’s saleroom currency has risen markedly in the past ten years. Six bidders competed the lot to £3.8m – surpassing the previous high of £2.32m for Primrose Hill, Summer sold in the same rooms in 2014.

The St Ives painters, represented by 35 works and a dozen artists, were a major focal point in Bowie’s eclectic collection. Witness, one of seven works by Peter Lanyon and the cover lot of the sale, achieved a record £797,000 while Winifred Nicholson’s 1928 oil and pencil view of the Cornish harbour town, last sold at Christie’s South Kensington in 1994, took £245,000.

Basquiat on Top

As expected, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1984 5ft 6in high oil Air Power was the top lot. Eight bidders drove the work to £7.1m (estimate £2.5-3.5m). The intro was making its fourth appearance at auctioning three decades: Bowie had played the role of Andy Warhol in the 1996 film Basquiat around the time he purchased the work at Christie’s in London for £78,500.


Ettore Sottsass’ 1981 Carlton wood and laminated plastic room divider sold at £52,500

Decorative Arts Deliver

The Bowie factor was easiest to quantify in the session devoted to decorative arts and, in particular, the designs of the Austrian architect Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group. These are not too difficult to find on an international market and, in fact, the last version of Memphis’ 1981 Carlton technicolour wood and laminated plastic room dividers to come for sale at auction in London (at Bonhams in 2015) had tanked at £5,000-7,000. David Bowie’s example, carried the same expectations but had no trouble selling at £52,500.


David Bowie’s record player, a Brionvega RR-266 Radiofonografo designed by Pier Giamcomo and Achille Castiglione c.1969 sold for £257,000

There was huge competition too for Pier Giamcomo and Achille Castiglione’s turntable and radio designed for Brionvega of Milian c.1969. Playfully arranged with the knobs and dials forming a face, this is justifiably considered a design classic, but what price David Bowie’s personal record player? Proving rather more desirable than the £800-1,200 estimate might have suggested, it was hammered down at £257,000.


The David Bowie sale in numbers

Part I: Modern and Contemporary Art, Evening Auction: £24.3m

Estimate: £8.1-11.7m (47 lots, sale lasted two hours)

Part II: Modern and Contemporary Art, Day Sale: £7.2m

Estimate: £1.7-2.5m (209 lots, sale lasted seven hours)

Part III: Design: Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group: £1.4m

Estimate: £77,070-117,020 (100 lots, sale lasted 3.5 hours)

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Hidden Gems from RM Sotheby’s ‘Sale of the Century’

This November see one of the most exciting auctions of the year. A huge sale of over 400 cars, 150 motorcycles, 100 bicycles and a few speed boats chucked in for good measure. RM Sotheby’s have the honour of running the sale in Milan that will be around the Milano Auto Classic show.

Everything will be sold and there is no reserve due to all the lots being from a government seizure, there are also some very enticing estimates. Some are certainly there to get potential buyers through the door and it’s working, many people are talking about this sale. So, what are the interesting lots?


1993 Aston Martin DB7 GT

This is a very interesting car, while the DB7 was made in fairly high numbers the GT is one of just 170. In British Racing Green with an ox blood interior it’s classic credentials are all there. It’s a manual too and LHD, so great for an American collector. The estimate is €35,000-€40,000 these cars currently sell for over €80,000, especially such a low mileage example. This car has just 16,740km.


1971 Fiat Dino Coupé

The clue is in the title here, Dino, as in Alfredino Ferrari, Enzo’s son who so tragically passed away aged just 24. This Fiat features the Dino engine from Ferrari, named as such because Alfredino was working on these engines at the time he passed away. Ferrari needed to sell over 500 cars to homologate the engine for motor racing and a deal was struck with Fiat to supply the engine for their Coupé and this helped Ferrari hit their target. With an estimate of €10,000-€15,000 this is a really interesting proposition. The car looks to need some recommissioning but these cars now change hands for over €50,000. Be warned, there will be a lot of very patriotic car collectors in Italy bidding on the Italian cars!


1970 Porsche 911 S

An original car in good condition sells for over €100,000, the estimate on this car? €5000-€7000! Admittedly this car has been subject to a number of modifications that haven’t helped its value. Most notably the body work has been changed to look like a more modern 911 from the 80s. The car has seen some form of motorsports at some point and as such the car is very raw. The really great thing about these 911s is that you can buy all the required panels to put this back to an original body. It could for the basis for a great real 911 race car.


1965 Jaguar E-Type S1 42. FHC

There are two options here. Restore to former glory and enjoy a classic on the road that will continue to appreciate, or, turn it into a fire breathing historic race car eligible for such events as the Goodwood Revival. While the build costs will be upwards of €100,000 the final value will be at least double that. €20,000-€30,000 buys you a lot of valuable Jaguar E-Type!

Photo: © 2016 RM Auctions, Inc

About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.

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Christmas Buying Guide: Luxury Watches for Women

Christmas is coming and you may be starting your search for the perfect luxury watch as a gift. To make life easier for you, we’ve produced two short buying guides (one for men, one for women) to help your luxury watch purchase run smoothly. We’ve tried to be sympathetic to your bank balance, so these are vaguely realistic suggestions of what you should be spending on this Christmas (forgive us for the last entry on the list…).

In this entry, we’re going to focus on luxury watches for women (one of my favourite topics). We’ve tried to categorise the suggestions into character types. Hopefully you’ll know a female fan of high-end horology that fits into one of our groupings.


Image courtesy of Sjöö Sandström

A watch for… An intellectual

Clean lines, superlative finishing, a time-only display… The Sjöö Sandström Royal Capital in rose gold is basically everything a woman with a lot going on in her head needs from a watch. It performs its function superbly, while retaining an elegance that is hard to match. If you want an example on how watchmaking is becoming evermore unisex, check out the follow-up article to this piece (spoiler alert!). Coming in at around £17,200, this Swedish superstar is not cheap, but it justifies its price tag by doing what it does as well as any mechanical watch I’ve yet encountered for the price.


Image courtesy of Rolex

A watch for… A professional

For a woman in a position of professional responsibility, power is key. So is the ability to smash conventions and do things your own way. If the woman you’re buying for fits this bill, the gloves are off. Why not go for a watch that might normally be considered for a man? The blue-dialled Rolex Milgauss speaks on solidity, power, and an eye for talent. A curveball selection, but I’ve seen it pulled off by women with aplomb. Retailing for around £6,500, the Milgauss is an investment as well as a joy.

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Image courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte

A watch for… A minimalist

If you want a lot of bang for your buck, NOMOS Glashütte is one of watchmaking’s leading lights. Thanks to their smaller sizes, the whole range is suitable for a woman. Try the rose gold Lux Ermine: Pure class at £16,250. It might look cute and simple, but don’t underestimate this in-house movement’s oomph! The DUW 2001 crams an impressive 84-hour power reserve into the tonneau-shaped case.


Image courtesy of Parmigiani

A watch for… A trendsetter

Can you get more stylish than a Parmigiani? I think it’s pretty hard to knock those gorgeous teardrop lugs. It’s also difficult to criticise the movement that powers the Tonda range. It’s slim, efficient, and garnished with an eccentric, platinum oscillating weight. The Tonda collection is full of standout pieces, but I like the Parmigiani 1950 Tonda Abyss Meteorite for the way the light plays on the dial. At £16,250, it’s never been a better time to buy a galvanoplastised piece of space.


Image courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

A watch for… The woman that has everything

This one is stratospherically expensive in comparison to the other suggestions on the list, but if the woman in your life truly does have everything, nothing but the best is going to cut it! Take a deep breath and dive into the world of Van Cleef & Arples. A master jeweller and watchmaker, their animated Pont des Amoureux is an exquisite example of the two crafts colliding in a moment of majesty. It will set you back £165,000, but the joy of its operation will last a lifetime.

Read on to part 2 – luxury watches for men

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

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