Belfast watch boutique snaps up rare Swiss timepiece set to fetch £500k
A rare luxury timepiece — the only one of its kind in the world — has been snapped up by Belfast-based watch boutique, Pride and Pinion.
The unique, full platinum watch by luxury Swiss brand Audemars Piguet was designed and made by leading craftsmen specifically for its one previous owner but is now on sale at the high-end boutique, situated at the Merchant Hotel.
And time is certainly money as the special timepiece, which bears the initials of its former VIP owner, is expected to fetch between £300,000 and £500,000.
Dutch-born Nico van der Horst, who owns Pride and Pinion, said sourcing the watch was a coup for the Belfast boutique, which prides itself on its collection of rare vintage timepieces.
“This Audemars Piguet watch was made for someone very important and has his initials engraved on it,” he said. “I am not able to reveal who owned it but it’s a complete one-off. There isn’t another one of its kind in the world.
“It’s a full platinum wrist watch with a perpetual calendar that is accurate for 81 years. It weighs 375g of pure platinum with a transparent dial and is so sophisticated — an incredible example of fine craftsmanship.
“I’ve been looking for a watch as rare as this since I opened the business last year and I’m thrilled that we now have it here in Belfast. I am confident I will find a buyer for it, who will be willing to pay anything between £300,000 and £500,000.”
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Nico, who moved to Northern Ireland six years ago, became interested in watches and their mechanics when he was in his teens. He recalls seeing a man wearing a Rolex watch while on holidays in Majorca and thinking it a beautiful piece of work. Two years later, his parents bought him his first watch, which he immediately took apart to examine its mechanics.
“I’d say I’ve always been obsessed with watches but it was more of a hobby really when I was younger,” he said. “I never thought I could build a career around them.
“But I was unhappy with my job a few years ago and decided to leave and set up my business. I got a loan and began to build up the business. At present, we have 180 watches in stock, priced from £1,000 up to £2.8million.”
Nico sources his watches from all over the globe and has one of the largest collections of vintage watches in the UK.
“There is definitely a market in Northern Ireland for our watches but we also export 40%,” Nico said. “In fact, the higher-priced watches are easier to sell.
“People see watches as an investment, like a piece of artwork. Audemars Piguet or Rolex watches increase in value and there are plenty of people willing to pay serious money for an investment piece.
“Having this wonderful watch here is a unique opportunity for us to make a huge impact on the industry and to promote Belfast massively. I want to make Belfast the leading watch hotspot in the UK.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital