7 February 2015
Sold for HK$575,000
One of the most impressive people I met during SIHH 2015 was someone who was not actually invited in to the hallowed halls of the Palexpo exhibition centre but who had been brought to Geneva as a guest of avant-garde brand Urwerk. Karel Bachand is a 20-something engineering student from California who is mad about watches, and even madder about Urwerk.
Unfortunately, his finances wouldn’t stretch to buying one at the time – so, back in 2012, he decided to make his own “homage” to an Urwerk 202 using 3D-printing techniques, finally completing the project in 2014. Many more uptight watchmakers might have reacted defensively to such a creation, but being human and decent, the Urwerk people applauded young Karel’s decidedly impressive efforts and rewarded his enthusiasm with an all-expenses paid trip to the home of watchmaking.
I think his story demonstrates just how much loyalty the decidedly wacky brand commands, and the reason we’ve selected this particular UR202 as a sale pick from Antiquorum is that it was most unlike the usual type of watch seen at Hong Kong auctions – because, rather than being in “as new” condition, it had been thoroughly well worn and clearly well loved by its owner.
Shamelessly scuffed, scratched, rubbed and sun-bleached, it merited only a 3,2,2 on Antiquorum’s condition scale for case, dial and movement – yet it fell only very slightly short of its high estimate.
It proved, in my opinion, that apparently “gimmicky” watches perhaps aren’t so gimmicky after all – it’s all down to whether you choose to treat them with kid gloves, or use them as their makers intended.