The Spring Season Begins With TEFAF

TEFAF

TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent organization of fine art, antiques, and design.  TEFAF, once known as The European Fine Arts Fair, has existed in Maastricht, the Netherlands, since 1988. Building on its history and success, the fair expanded globally last year, adding two New York editions: A fall fair focusing on art and antiquities up to 1920 and a spring edition that highlights the best art and design produced from the Modern era up to today. Besides attracting the world’s top galleries, what sets TEFAF apart from other leading art fairs is the great emphasis it places on quality through a rigorous vetting process in which each work is checked for quality and authenticity by experts.

As the world’s most buoyant art market, New York City provides the ideal location for the TEFAF Fair.  The Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was home to the second edition of TEFAF New York Spring which ran from May 4 – May 8, 2018. The historic Armory provides the prime setting for the world’s leading art dealers to meet with curators and collectors. The Fair’s timing in early May is intended to coincide with auctions, exhibitions and other fairs in New York dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design, including Christie’s expansive sale of Peggy and David Rockefeller’s collection

The well- heeled crowd, including some of the biggest collectors in the world, streamed into the Fair on opening day. The aisles were jam-packed with people sipping Champagne and shooting freshly shucked oysters as gigantic cylinders of flowers hung from the ceiling above them.  With about 90 dealers in attendance, the Fair brought out deeply blue-chip art.

Nahmad, whose booth right next to the entrance, presented works priced from seven figures on up: a Jean Arp at $1.5 million, a Max Ernst at $12 million, a Fernand Léger at $13 million, and a Joan Miró at $15 million.

David Zwirner had gone with modern masters, Josef Albers (two works by the artist sold by late afternoon, for $1.75 million and $750,000 and Giorgio Morandi, with two works also selling, for undisclosed prices.

Not far away, Hauser & Wirth was presenting pieces by Eva Hesse, Philip Guston, and Louise Bourgeois, and early in the day it had already parted with a late Guston—painted in 1979, the year before his death—for $5.5 million.

With the success of the auction business, art fairs have grown in size and number in recent years. While auctions create a pressured environment to buy, art fairs like TEFAF provide a more relaxed environment. TEFAF champions the finest quality art from across the ages by creating a community of the world’s top art dealers and experts to inspire lovers and buyers of art everywhere.

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What Is A Tourbillon and Why Do Prestigious Watchmakers Say You Should Want One

tourbillon

From his small workshop in Paris, Abraham –Louis Breguet would blaze a trail that would transform time measurement forever. Breguet established his watchmaking company in 1775 and would go on to create such innovations as a shock protection system known as “Pare-chute” and the perfection of the “Perpetuelle” – the basis of the self- winding watch. However, Breguet is probably best known for his patent on the “Tourbillon” regulator. With the tourbillon, he developed a system to eliminate errors in rate caused by the Earth’s gravitational pull on pocket watches and thereby increase their precision.”

Breguet’s idea was essentially to house a balance wheel that rotates on itself within a clock.  If you understand the concept of a balance wheel, you know that it does not just turn endlessly in one direction. Rather, it moves in a back and forth manner, like a revolving pendulum. This is often referred to as balance wheel oscillation. In fact, a balance wheel is a pendulum, and the consistency of its back and forth rotations are the basis for mechanical watch movement accuracy. So a tourbillon is a balance wheel that itself rotates, but the balance wheel rotates in one direction (not oscillation), and it typically makes a full rotation every 60 or in some cases, every 30 seconds. For this reason, the tourbillon is often used as the seconds counter when it is used in a watch. A-a convenient way of putting in a seconds counter. There are different types of tourbillons: traditional tourbillons (one axis) and flying tourbillons, along with various terms to refer to multi-axis tourbillons.

Even though the progress of watchmaking has made it possible to considerably improve regularity by more modern means, the Tourbillon remains a legendary milestone in the history of timepieces. Tourbillons are extremely complex to develop and manufacture. Each must be carefully assembled by hand and their complexity and intricacy of movement are a marvel to view.

In a world of mass- produced and ultimately disposable technology the Tourbillon is a testament to our desire to celebrate and cherish the permanence of the intricate craft of watchmaking. Today many luxury watchmaker will have at least one innovative variation on the still popular tourbillon watch in its catalogue. Recent examples of luxury watches with tourbillions are: Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon. Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux, Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7 . Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon,  Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon.

If you or someone you know would like to share or are interested in receiving more of our little known but true stories about luxury collectibles please email us at info@eliassoncapital.com or like us on Facebook.  Eliasson Capital provides collateral loans on fine art and collectibles.

The Gentleman’s Competition That Lead To The Most Expensive Watch Ever!

patek philippe

In 2017 when an unnamed collector laid down $ 17.8 million at auction for a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona that once belonged to Paul Newman it was a record for the most expensive wristwatch ever. However how about the most expensive watch ever? That honor goes to a pocket watch – the completely unique Patek Philippe Supercomplication.  The final price, bid at auction by an anonymous entity in 2014, was over $24,000,000 in US Dollars.

So, what was it about this Patek Philippe Supercomplication that encouraged a bidding war among the world’s most elite timepiece collectors? To really understand it you must go back almost a century ago to the roaring 1920’s.

In the mid 1920’s, a New York-based banker, Mr. Henry Graves Jr. commissioned Patek Philippe to produce “the world’s most complicated timepiece” – no matter the cost. According to the book “A Grand Complication: The Race To Build The World’s Most Legendary Watch” by Stacy Perman, Graves was engaged in a gentleman’s competition with fellow American, automobile manufacturer James Ward Packard, to keep outdoing each other as they got Patek Philippe to produce ever more complex watches. They were both determined to show the other “what a real watch was”.

In 1927 Packard commissioned a complicated watch but, not to be outdone, Graves surpassed his rival to become the owner of the most complicated watch ever made. It was called Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication. Designed and built by Patek Philippe, it was an ultra-complicated (24 functions) pocket watch. The Supercomplication watch was delivered to Mr. Graves in 1933. Patek Philippe might have bested its own work if James Ward Packard had his way. Unfortunately, Packard died a few years earlier, before the Supercomplication watch was even handed over to Mr. Graves.

 

The Supercomplication took three years to design, another five to manufacture. The most advanced techniques in horological engineering produced a truly one-of-a-kind timepiece; only one watch was ever built. Complications included a perpetual calendar with phases and age of the moon, indication of sunrise and sunset, and a celestial chart depicting the stars in the nighttime sky over New York City. Graves died in 1953. His heirs sold the watch in 1968 to The Time Museum in Rockford, Illinois.  It was later sold at Sotheby’s for a record breaking $11,002,500 to an anonymous bidder in New York City on December 2, 1999

Henry Graves Jr. paid Patek Philippe $15,000 for the Supercomplication in 1925. Adjusting for inflation that is roughly $215,000 in 2018 dollar values. The price of a mere entry-level Ferrari today. It would not be uncommon for a watch of such complication as the Supercomplication to retail new for over $1,000,000 today.

Patek Philippe tends to command an impressive auction reputation because its most significant vintage watches are prized by collectors. However they are not the only timepieces to command high auction prices.  Audemars Piquet, Rolex, Piaget, Girard-Perregaux, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, Breguet. and Lange & Sohne all produce certain limited-edition or very limited-production timepieces. However none achieve the stratospheric price of Mr Graves 1933 Supercomplication.

If you or someone you know would like to share or are interested in receiving more of our little known but true stories about luxury collectables please email us at info@eliassoncapital .com or like us on Facebook.  Eliasson Capital provides collateral loans on fine art and collectables.