Rare and vintage watches have been going from strength to strength at auction in 2010.
In April the Piguet and Meylan gold, pearl and enamel pocket watch known as the Allegory of Spring was won by an enthusiastic bid of $254,500 - five times its expected price - at Sotheby's, whilst a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon brought the equivalent of US$1.12m in Christie's Hong Kong sale.
And no collector of vintage timepieces could forget the sale of the Ref 1527 Patek Philippe wristwatch from 1943 in Geneva in May. The 18 karat gold perpetual calendar watch easily doubled its highest expectations, selling for a stunning $5.7m - a world record price for a yellow-gold wristwatch.
It's becoming increasingly clear that a fine watch is a valuable investment as the market becomes more global and the number of collectors rises in countries such as Russia and China, including Vladimir Putin - famously a fan of great timepieces.
"The internet has completely changed the business", as Antiquorum's Julien Schaerer told us excitedly back in March.
So where can watch fans look for the classics of tomorrow?
Well, one of the world's most prestigious watch makers, Grieb & Benzinger, has launched a one-off unique watch aimed at the Russian market.
The Russian Imperator is an homage to Russian tradition, art, and culture.
The basis piece for the Imperator is a nineteenth-century movement containing a complicated quarter repeater.
This time frame was selected as being one during which the last Russian czar Nikolai II ruled and the legendary Carl Peter Fabergé became official jeweller to the jewellery-loving autocrat.
The movement has been completely restored, partially skeletonised, and housed in a solid 18-karat gold case ...and this one-of-a-kind timepiece is being offered by specialist collectibles company, Paul Fraser Collectibles at an asking price of €125,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles Director Adrian Roose commented that he felt "...honoured to be able to offer such a unique piece from such a prestigious company.
"The classic watch market goes from strength to strength and this is sure to be a classic of the future."
Grieb and Benzinger are relative newcomers to the market, but as we reported they have become an insider's tip to look out for in a realm of collectibles where exquisite design speaks for itself.
The collaboration between Jochen Benzinger (who has been the man entrusted with decorating Fabergé eggs for the past 20 years), Hermann Grieb, and Georg Bartkowiak has became an increasingly poorly kept secret.
With their style increasingly recognised around the world, Grieb and Benzinger watches are only likely to increase in value.
To find out more about the Russian Imperator, click here.
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