How would you like to own an extremely rare and interestingly complicated watch from a legend of independent Haute Horology? This worn but interesting world timer watch was constructed by Svend Andersen in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the new world. And it’s definitely worth the starting bid of € 4,000.
With so many watch brands on the market, it’s hard sometimes to know which are the real deal and which are “mushroom brands” designed to emulate them. I can assure you that Svend Andersen is the former, as documented in this 2003 Watchtime article.
Andersen was one of four founders of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) in 1985 as a way to promote the work of independent Swiss watchmakers. Today this group includes such notables as Philippe Dufour, F. P. Journe, and Peter Speake-Marin. Together, this group is able to exhibit at Baselworld and advertise their work.
Although Andersen is not as well known today as magnetic individuals like Speake-Marin, his work was praised and respected in the 1990’s. In particular, his 1996 Eros watch, which included automatons performing an “act of love” gained great attention!
This particular watch was part of a larger run of watches for Andersen and was built to commemorate the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus. As such, it includes a map of Columbus’ journey on the dial and a representation of an astrolabe on the solid case back.
Andersen constructed 500 of these watches beginning in 1992, with just 300 of 18k yellow gold as is this one. Disappointingly, the original box and papers are long gone.
It’s also obviously a worldtimer, a complication that Andersen was known for earlier in his career. Although Andersen’s decision to include multiple cities for some timezones is novel, it is disappointing that he did not use any of the cities associated with Columbus. It seems a missed opportunity.
In keeping with the era, the watch is modestly sized, with a 34.5 mm diameter case in yellow gold and thickness of just 6.5 mm. This is really remarkably small for a watch with a worldimer disk and reflects Andersen’s mastery of this complication. The strap appears to have been replaced but the “A” buckle was thankfully retained.
This 1992 Svend Andersen Christopher Columbus Worldtimer goes on the block with Auctionata on August 5 with a starting bid of € 4,000. Find it here. It ought to fetch twice that if bidders are aware of Andersen’s pedigree.