So, it seems Phillips, in association with Bacs and Russo, are now doing collaborations with watchmakers to create limited editions for friends of the auction house. A brief chat with my friend “C” aka. @running_sands helped shed some light on this new development. Here’s an instagram post detailing the new release:
So at first, you might wonder why the heck anyone would want to collaborate with Phillips. You then might realise that Aurel Bacs is a respected watch collector too, and arguably a ‘taste leader’ with regards to watches. He also has a client book which any watch dealer would love to access… hold that thought for now.
So @running_sands referenced a previous video where Aurel Bacs described how he would commission 10-20 watches from certain watchmakers and sell them amongst his friends – like a private collaboration of sorts, but simply for the love of the brand, and to have the ability to add his own design into the watches. The implicit irony is that this also creates a set of ‘future stock’ for the auction house… as they will inevitably market these as “very rare, limited pieces” one day when they auction them off.
Anyway, where have we seen this before? Remember when Hodinkee started making limited editions of popular watches? Perhaps, at first, people wondered the same thing… Why would I want a watch collaboration with a media company? Turns out, they made some great design tweaks to the watches they commissioned, and people liked them. Of course, what also happened was these watches, being limited, tended to appreciate in value over time. Today, nobody questions why any brand would collaborate with a media company… it all seems pretty normal.
Back to Phillips – this is arguably something they should have done a long time ago… but now that it is happening, what does it mean? Well, Phillips have a client book, and I’m sure Aurel Bacs can easily contact nearly every affluent collector on the planet. This means Phillips can simply make whatever they want in a limited run of 10-20 pieces… and it will sell out instantaneously. These collectors will buy it because it is Aurel recommending it, and its extremely exclusive, which is something they undoubtedly love to hear.
What does it mean for us, average people? Nothing really. Likely that all of these collaborations will be sold out by the time it becomes fully public anyway… and even if they aren’t, the rationale for why Phillips would do this is quite evident now. Thanks for the chat C.