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November 15, 2011

Swatch on the Auction Block

By Rachel Wolff | auctions

Courtesy Phillips de Pury & Company

Their brightly colored plastic bands have been perennial fashion accessories since the 1980s. But some folks have been taking their Swatch collections more seriously than others. Now, one such patron is sending her comprehensive holdings (i.e., every single style produced by the Swiss watchmaker from 1983 to 2002) to the auction block. The Swatch Blum Collection of 4,363 watches will be sold together at Phillips de Pury & Company next week at a special sale and event in Hong Kong. It is expected to fetch between $3.5 million and $6.2 million. It also marks Phillips’ first outing in the region.

The sale—which will include exceedingly rare prototypes and limited edition designs from Keith Haring and Kiki Picasso—is generating serious buzz. “Everyone has a ‘Swatch moment’—one that they had, one that they desired,” says Finn Dombernowsky, a London-based managing director of Phillips de Pury & Company. “When they first came out, they renewed the watch industry. It was groundbreaking technology, but it also made good design available at a price anyone could reach.”

The Blum Collection won’t be the only coveted lot to hit the block that night. In collaboration with the company itself, Phillips is offering serious Swatch fanatics a rare opportunity to design a Swatch of their very own. It will be produced exclusively for the buyer in a limited edition of 100 and is expected to go for $20,000 to $25,000. Nov. 24, viewing 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., auction at 9 p.m.; the Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance St., Hong Kong; phillipsdepury.com.