02 Sep A Horological Holy Grail: The World Of Double Signed Watches
Among the many spectacularly crafted luxury watches that avid collectors pursue, there is a particularly sweet prize. This is the double signed watch – a timepiece that tells a story, not only of its maker but of its provenance. Throughout history, the finest watchmakers have honored the tradition of periodically collaborating with high-profile retailers from around the world. The result is double signed watches, which bear not only the mark of the maker but a second retailer’s stamp too. Revealing a vision that passes backwards through time into an often short-lived partnership, the double signed watch is considered rarer and more valuable – making them the holy grail of the collectors market. Here, we will explore some of the most coveted specimens to be discovered, and what makes each collaboration so unique!
Prized Vintage Baume & Mercier x Asprey
This elegant Baume & Mercier timepiece is a Dual Time model, ref #32002, in 18k yellow gold. As a vintage watch, dated circa the 1980s, this would be an unusual and alluring find in and of itself. However, this double signed watch – bearing the mark of iconic retailer Asprey – claims a title of far greater value. The watch sports a rectangular case and refined gold and black dual dials. Each dial features black hands and gold markers.
The watchmaker, Baume & Mercier, finds its roots in the Swiss village of Les Bois, in 1830. The Baume brothers, Célestin and Louis-Victor, opened a watch store that would become the first small step of a high caliber enterprise. The brand’s success was most likely to be attributed to its innovative energy and the brothers’ motto: “accept only perfection – only manufacture watches of the highest quality.“
In partnership for this particular horological creation, we find the joining of Baume & Mercier with Asprey, a British luxury retailer. Founded in 1781 in Surrey, by William Asprey, this company moved to New Bond Street in London – a highly desirable West End location, enjoyed by only the most aspirational brands. Fittingly, Queen Victoria awarded Asprey a Royal Warrant for its craftsmanship in 1862. To this day, Asprey takes great pride in retailing “articles of exclusive design and high quality,” which is entirely fitting with this exquisite testament to horological history.
Ever-Classic Omega x Türler
Those who find that their heart skips a beat at the sight of an unusual Omega Seamaster will no doubt discover captivation in this double signed watch. In its creation, we uncover a perfect example of an unusual watchmaker and retailer collaboration. A manufacturer such as Omega would, of course, enjoy long-lasting relationships with their esteemed authorized dealers. However, on occasion – such as being in business for 50 or 100 years – the two would create special editions bearing the creative mark of both brands. In the case of this Omega Seamaster double signed Türler edition, a rare find has unquestionably been uncovered.
Of course, Omega is renowned as an iconic Swiss luxury watchmaker, perhaps best known for being the watch brand of choice for the first astronauts on the moon. Founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the brand’s reputation is among horological royalty. The Seamaster, in particular, is also the watch of the modern James Bond, having been sported by the fetching fictional character since 1995, when the franchise shifted its favor away from the Rolex Submariner.
In this unique timepiece, we witness Omega’s collaboration with the Türler company, which was founded in Bienne, Switzerland, in 1883. As a contemporary luxury watch manufacturer, Türler is one of the few remaining privately owned businesses in the watch and jewelry trade, remaining firmly in the hands of the Türler family for well over a century.
An Exquisite Triple Hit With Patek Philippe x Gilbert Albert x Tiffany & Co
Celebrated artist and designer Gilbert Albert created a series of Ricochet wristwatches and pocket watches for Patek Philippe in asymmetrical shapes. In the case of this divine 18k yellow gold pocket watch, ref #788/2, a collector’s dream surely awaits. While most Ricochet creations were only signed by Patek, the discovery of one bearing the Tiffany & Co signature is undoubtedly worthy of celebration. The Patek Philippe #788/2 features a gold patterned dial with black enamel baton numerals and a similarly textured asymmetrical case.
Patek Philippe was founded in 1839, and boasts being one of the oldest watch manufacturers with a long history in watchmaking. This sought after brand is revered globally as one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers, which explains a consumer roster of titles such as Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Pius IX, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Pablo Picasso, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and Leo Tolstoy.
Gilbert Albert, who passed away in 2019, was a Swiss jeweler of notable renown. After opening his own atelier in 1962, Albert designed art jewelry, preferentially using 18 karat gold and rough cut stones, alongside unconventional materials, such as scarabs, meteorites, lava rocks, and dinosaur bones. Joining Albert in this particular melding of industry giants, we find Tiffany & Co. This high-end American jewelry and accessory retailer, is undoubtedly best known for its part in the iconic 1961 Audrey Hepburn movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Forever cemented in the minds of luxury consumers, this New York brand remains eternally synonymous with the finest elements of fashion. United horologically, these three iconic brands converged in a creation that bore the marks of both Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co – in a watch that will never go out of style.