World’s Greatest Swatch Watch Collection to Be Auctioned in Hong Kong

Swiss businessman Peter Blum and his wife, Linda, loved Swatch watches. Their passion for the colorful plastic timepieces (which are credited with saving a Swiss watch industry decimated by the “Quartz crisis” of the 1970s and early 1980s) led them to amass a historic collection of 4,350 Swatches, give or take an interchangeable Pop Swatch face or two, and on November 24, Phillips de Pury & Company will auction the entire collection as a single lot at a special Swatch-a-riffic sale in Hong Kong. Among the thousands of specimens included in the Blums’ softly ticking hoard are a bunch of prototypes, hybrids, and production variants never offered for sale, including a number from the R&D phase that preceded Swatch’s 1983 commercial debut. There’s even an elusive Swatch Puff, the first of 120 such angora fur-rimmed timepieces ever created. And there are artsy Swatches a-plenty, including production models for Swatches created in collaboration with Keith Haring, Mimmo Paladino‘s impish “Oigol Oro,” and a signed set of Swatches featuring the work of Alfred Hofkunst. Meanwhile, Phillips chairman Simon de Pury took matters into his own hands when it came to Swatch art. In the early 1990s, he handed over his substantial Swatch collection to Arman, explains de Pury in his introduction to the auction catalogue. “He melted all of them into Plexiglas, transforming them into a spectacular work of art.”