Xmas Event Shanghai / Hong Kong 2011

part 5: Blum collection auction

Finally, on 24-NOV-2011, the big day we all had been waiting for had come.  The auction of the famous Blum Swatch collection.  In the morning, we were invited for an exclusive preview of 291 of the 4,363 Swatch watches in the collection at the Four Seasons hotel where the auction would take place in the evening.

So we met in the lobby of our hotel in order to take the bus (again!).  A great chandelier...

Click on the picture to see an overview of the Blum collection!

Patiently, Reto Stöckli took his time to explain some details about the watches, answering questions, telling stories from the "good old days", ...  I managed to spot a (minor) error in the exhibition, maybe you can find it as well in the gallery.

Many collectors registered for the auction, and later in the evening, it became clear that this was a good idea :-)  We all received an auction catalogue (super heavy, super nice) and the registered bidders received a bidding paddle.

Around noon, it was time again for lunch.  Swatch had reserved a room in one of Hong Kong's nicest traditional chinese restaurants:  City Hall Maxim's Palace.  It showcases the best of Cantonese cuisine and dim sum, and is an exciting restaurant with an amazing view of the Victoria Harbour. Finally, some real chinese food!

And we had some fun with the turntable :-)

Then, we had a few hours off.  Time for a walk through the city...

Victoria Park

Finally, the great moment had come and we left with the buses for the auction at the Four Seasons hotel.  Everybody had dressed up nicely, some with brand new clothing!

Lots of champaign was served (in order to enable a "spending" mood? :-)

The auction stage in the greatball room was decorated in style, and the about 350 invited guests slowly filled the room.

And then, the auction began.  Tense atmosphere, lots of bids from the room, on the telephone, and on the internet.

An overview of the lots (including results!) can be found at the Phillips de Pury & Company website.

Here are some video snippets from the auction preview and the auction itself.  You will get an idea how quickly the auction passed by... 

The Blum collection (lot #8) was sold for more than $6,600,000 US to a buyer from China, exceeding all expectations!  

Two other lots went to Swatch The Club members:  Lot #5 (Special Edition Phillips de Pury & Company watch, #008/100) went to a Dutch collector for $4,160 US:

And lot #7 (My Swatch, a new Swatch watch produced in a limited edition of 100 pieces after the design ideas of the auction winner) went to an European consortium of Swatch collectors ($35,200 US). 

So the auction was a huge success: for Linda Blum (she had patiently, and very friendly, signed autographs for collectors in the morning preview), for the Swatch collectors, and for Swatch of course as well. 

Here is another video from the preview and the actual auction.

A few hours later, the ballroom looked a bit different.  Time to collect a few thrown-away catalogues :-)

This essentially marked the end of the event! 

We had one extra day in Hong Kong, so we took the ferry to Kowloon...

We took the usual touristic trail (Nathan Road, Electronics Market, Sports Market, ...).  A completely different shopping experience to the our well known western shopping streets.  We did not buy much there, though.  The afternoon coffee (yes, it should have been tea) at the Peninsula Hotel was relaxing...

our ferry back to HK central

apple store HK, always welcome due to free Wifi :-)

Well, that was it.  A fantastic trip for six days in total.  Thanks to everyone from Swatch / Swatch The Club (Sabina, Rahel, Enid, Reto Stöckli, ... [sorry if I forgot someone]) for making this possible.  A truly "once in a lifetime" experience, absolutely perfectly organized from the first to the last minute.  And some of us will have their own Swatch watch (with their own ref.no. :-) as a unique souvenir :-)  Priceless...

Here is an overview picture of all the stuff that event participants received:

More event pictures and impressions at www.swatch.stawi.de and Toty Booms (Shanghai, Hong Kong, China).

Update 20-MAR-2012:  Spiegel Online (Germany) has a nice report about the Swatch Art Peace Hotel and the artists currently living there.

Andreas Wiethoff, 15-DEC-2011.

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