World Economy

Swatch Superlot Goes Under the Hammer

Swatch Superlot Goes Under the HammerSwatch Superlot Goes Under the Hammer

A Swatch collector from Luxembourg is putting his 5,800 piece collection up for auction in Hong Kong; he started buying the Swiss watches in 1983.

An auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong on Tuesday will see one of the largest ever private collections of Swatch watches go on sale, comprising more than 5,800 of the timepieces including almost every model of Swatch the company produced in its first 25 years, from 1983 to 2007.

The collection, called “Swatch and Art from the Dunkel Collection,” is the centerpiece of Sotheby’s Important Watches Spring Sale, and includes limited and special edition Swatch watches, rare prototypes from the early 1980’s, and collected artwork related to Swatch designs.

“One would be absolutely amazed by the amount of artistic and creative energy that can be worn on the wrist,” said Sharon Chan, Sotheby’s Head of Watches, Asia. “Each watch in this collection translates into a chapter of contemporary art, or even an attitude and an approach to life.”

“Collecting both the Swatch and the artworks is like having an intriguing marriage that works perfectly well, affording people the luxury of admiring art objects on their wrists,” said the seller, Paul Dunkel, from Luxembourg. “What I enjoy the most about Swatch is that everybody can relate to it; regardless of age, origin, color, culture, job and taste, most of us have had a Swatch in our lives.”

Highlights of the collection include the 2002 James Bond leather briefcase set of 20 watches, each representing a Bond film, with the release date and title engraved on the strap. Also notable is the 1986 limited edition collaboration with New York graffiti artist Keith Haring, comprising four watches, and the 1985 Swatch Art Special featuring the work of French artist Kiki Picasso.

“I never stopped collecting art, though I have probably shifted my focus to artists who collaborated with Swatch, for instance Keith Haring, Mark Kostabi, Sam Francis, Mimmo Paladino, Mimmo Rotella,” explained Dunkel.

Dunkel’s assortment of timepieces and related artwork spent two months touring the world on display before going up for sale, and the collector hopes that the watches will continue to be displayed by whoever buys the collection. “I would like to thank Sotheby’s for the opportunity to share them with the world and I am looking forward to passing the legacy on to the next owner,” he said.