Handcrafted by independent Swiss watchmaker Golay-Spierer, the wristwatch bears the original signature of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
September 23, 2020: Global auction house Sotheby’s October watch auctions in Geneva will be highlighted by a one-of-a-kind and unprecedented wristwatch created by Swiss independent watchmaker Golay-Spierer which incorporates the original signature of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
The watch is the first from the series titled “Heroïca Tempus”, a planned capsule collection of unique watches, each one including in its design the signature of an important historical figure.
The timepiece, which was painstakingly assembled in Golay-Spierer’s Geneva workshop, is encased in stunning rose gold with a 46 mm dial that accommodates the original handwritten signature of the famous statesman and military commander, dating from a letter he wrote in March 1807. The symbolism associated with the famous military commander is echoed in an imperial bee meticulously incorporated into the dial (using the traditional Swiss craft known as ‘decoupage’), as well as on the hand engraved bezel, which bears a laurel wreath and the letter ‘N’ at 12 o’clock. The back of the watch is set with a 20-franc gold Napoléon coin, minted in 1807, the same year as the original handwritten letter which was used to create the dial. This first piece in the ‘Heroïca Tempus’ collection was born from the meeting between Christophe Golay and French designer and creator Gaël Bonnel Sanchez.
A direct descendant of Swiss master watchmaker Auguste Golay, Christophe Golay reignited a centuries-old family tradition by establishing Golay-Spierer, the only Swiss watchmaking company specializing in the design and manufacture of unique tailor-made timepieces. Commenting on his latest collection, he said, “Our mission is to create bespoke timepieces working with the finest watchmaking craftsmen to bring to life the individual visions of our clients. This beautiful Napoleon watch is a perfect example of this: an exclusive piece reflecting a singular innovative vision.” He added that the next watch in the series will be bearing the original signature of Albert Einstein among many other historically significant figures.
The Napoleon Bonaparte watch will be offered in a single lot online sale, open for bidding from 8 until 15 October, with no reserve and an estimate of CHF 40,000 – 80,000. A portion of proceeds from the sale will support the work of two non-profit organizations: Footballeurs sans Frontières, which funds projects for underprivileged children, and Aua Help Noma, which works to support children suffering from the debilitating disease, Noma.