Three Svend Andersen Watches To Be Offered At Auction This Saturday!

Tom MulraneyNew Watches1 Comment

Svend Andersen
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

Earlier today I was browsing through the on-line catalogue for the upcoming “Important Watches” auction by Swedish auction house Kaplans Auktioner. After glancing through the usual offerings of vintage Rolexes and IWCs, I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover not one but three timepieces on offer from one of the founding fathers of modern independent watchmaking, Svend Andersen!

Svend Who?
For those not in the know, Svend Andersen is arguably one of the greatest contributors to modern independent horology as we know it. Born in Denmark in 1942 he gained his watchmaking diploma at the Royal Danish Technical Institute before immigrating to Switzerland in 1963.

Despite being immensely talented he did not gain any level of notoriety until he decided to show the world what he was truly capable of by building a clock in a bottle, a feat that earned him the title “the watchmaker of the impossible.” It is also scored him a job in the complications department of Patek Philippe under Max Berney, the company’s most accomplished watchmaker and a legend in his own right.

In 1979 he set up his own workshop, spending much of his time restoring the watches in Patek Philippe’s private collection for the publication of the Huber/Banbery book, whilst also beginning to work on the development of his own timepieces. His reputation continued to grow over the years and in 1985 he co-founded the AHCI with Vincent Calabrese, an initiative that would eventually lead to the unprecedented acknowledgement of the talents of the independent watchmakers behind the invention of some of the world’s most desirable complications and timepieces.

The Watches On Offer
As I mentioned at the start there a three Svend Andersen timepieces on offer, each as distinct as the next:

Orbita Lunae

Svend Andersen Orbita Lunae
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

First, the gorgeous Orbita Lunae, individually numbered No.6 of just 31 pieces, complete with certificate of origin signed by Andersen himself (although it is not dated). Recognised as an expert in lunar calendars, Andersen claims that the idea for this Orbita Lunae automatic came to him while designing a Jewish calendar for Alain Silberstein in 1995.

A specially designed disc featuring two gold moons and two blue circles rotates at around half the speed of the dial, compensating for the 10 days difference between the lunar and solar year. To make this possible 2 ½ days are added every 2 months for a total of 15 days a year. The adjustment of the calendar five times a year (in months of fewer that 31 days) removes the five surplus days.

Svend Andersen Orbita Lunae
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

This particular piece comes in an 18k pink gold 38mm case and is dated at around 2001. The starting bid price is 79,000kr or about US$11,500, which I think is pretty reasonable for such a cool and unusual timepiece.

For more information on this piece please click here.

Perpetual Secular Calendar

Svend Andersen Perpetual Secular Calendar
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

Next up is arguably the most complicated of the three timepieces on offer, the Perpetual Secular Calendar. Based on a modified ETA 2892 this is the only timepiece in the world to be able to correctly display the secular calendar, based on a 400-year cycle, without the need for adjustment by the wearer. The automatic movement has a wheel that completes one revolution every 400 years, overriding the normal leap year cycle in the years 2100, 2200 and 2300 to give their Februaries 28 days. On the reverse side of the case are the specific indications for this unique complication, including the ‘year’ indicator, which completes one full revolution ever 50 years!

Svend Andersen Perpetual Secular Calendar
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

Offered here in an 18k gold 41mm case with box and papers, the starting price for the Perpetual Secular Calendar is again quite reasonable at just 89,000kr or US$13,000.

For more information on this piece please click here.

Montre à Tact (second generation)

Svend Andersen Montre à Tact
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

Last but not least is this distinctive second generation Montre à Tact, a piece unique complete with custom Tiger motif. The design is really something special and was inspired by a pocket-watch invented in 1798 by the great Abraham Louis Breguet, which allowed the user to discreetly ‘feel the time’ without having to rudely pull their watch out in public. In the same way Andersen’s Montre à Tact features a small window on the side of the case between the lower lugs at 6 o’clock, allowing for a clear view of the time without requiring you to turn your wrist.

Svend Andersen Montre à Tact
© Kaplans Auktioner 2012

The 18k white gold/gold 42mm case is unusual also in the sense that it does not have a crown and so must be kept in its box on the revolving support when not worn. The Tiger on the dial has been hand-painted by an artist in Paris and the piece is dated at around 2004. Starting price is a little higher than the other two, although not prohibitively so, at 98,000kr or US$14,300.

For more information on this piece please click here.

The Final Word
It’s not often that you see vintage Svend Andersen timepieces in circulation and even rarer still that you get the opportunity to purchase one, let alone three. Personally speaking, as much as I like the Orbita Lunae my money is on the Perpetual Secular Calendar, for no other reason than the fact that it’s complete impracticality makes it undeniably cool.

The Kaplans Auktioner ‘Important Watches’ auction will take place this Saturday, 12th of May, in Stockholm as well as on-line for overseas bidders. For more information please visit their official website: www.kaplans.se

Tom MulraneyThree Svend Andersen Watches To Be Offered At Auction This Saturday!

One Comment on ““Three Svend Andersen Watches To Be Offered At Auction This Saturday!”

  1. Pingback: Auction Watch: Svend Andersen Watches (Kaplans) | Perpetuelle.com Watch Blog

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