Philippe Dufour (born 1948) is a Swiss-born watchmaker from Le Sentier, Vallée de Joux. He is regarded as the greatest master of modern watchmaking, and his watches are referenced as among the best ever made. He finishes all of his watches himself by hand. In 1992, Dufour was the first watchmaker to put arguably the most complex of complications in a wristwatch, a Sonnerie. His other two models include Duality and Simplicity.
After middle-school, at the age of 15, Dufour decided to choose a profession rather than studying academics. Upon his decision to study mechanics, he got his first training at the Ecole d’Horlogerie de la Vallée de Joux and graduated in 1967.
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Following the completion of his studies, he was hired by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1967. After working for several companies, Audemars Piguet ordered 5 Sonnerie movements for pocket watches from Dufour and he started to work on the project in 1982. The last movement was delivered in 1988. After finishing the order, he set out to become one of the first independent watchmakers and presented his first wristwatch in his own name in the Basel World fair in 1992. Following the world's first Sonnerie wristwatch, he developed the Duality in 1996. The principle of the watch was based on the differential system that averages errors between two balance wheels. Only 9 pieces were made.
In 2000, he introduced his most famous model: Simplicity. The model was the only current production watch from Dufour and about 200 were planned to be produced. He reportedly has so many orders he is not taking any more.
One of his Simplicity watches is exhibited at The Espace Horloger watch museum at Switzerland.
Auctions and collectability
One of the 9 Duality models ever produced was sold in 2017 at New York by Phillips for almost US$1,000,000.
In 2020, a special edition of the Simplicity marking its 20th anniversary and personally offered by Dufour himself was sold for a record US$1.512 million at a Phillips auction in Geneva, becoming one of the most expensive watches ever sold at auction.
In 2021, the first version of the Grande et Petite Sonnerie №1 was sold for a world record of US$5.210 million at a Phillips auction in Geneva, becoming the most expensive timepiece made by an independent watchmaker or brand sold at auction.
Other than his own creations, Dufour is also a known collector of vintage watches. In an interview during SIHH 2016 he stated: "Datograph is the only neutral watch I bought for myself", a timepiece from A. Lange & Söhne. In an interview with watch industry publication Hodinkee, he stated: "The best chronograph ever made is the Datograph".
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- Doerr, Elizabeth. "Le Garde Temps Prototype by Greubel Forsey and Philippe Dufour Hammers for $1.46 Million at Auction". Forbes.com. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Forster, Jack. "It's About Time". Forbes.com. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Clerizo, Michael (2009). Masters of Contemporary Watchmaking (1st ed.). Thames & Hudson. p. 72. ISBN 978-0500514856.
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- Pulvirent, Stephen; September 7, Jack Forster; 2018. "HODINKEE Radio: Bonus Episode: Philippe Dufour". HODINKEE. Retrieved 17 June 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- May 22, Benjamin Clymer; 2013. "The Road To Basel Episode 2: Inside The Atelier With The Legendary Philippe Dufour". HODINKEE. Retrieved 17 June 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- February 6, Arthur Touchot; 2017. "Found: Philippe Dufour Simplicity Number 17 For Sale Online". HODINKEE. Retrieved 17 June 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "Philippe Dufour Grande Sonnerie, Duality and Simplicity". The Hour Glass. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- Xian, Su Jia. "A Detailed Look at the Magnificent Philippe Dufour Grande and Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch". watchesbysjx. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- "From the Bench: PHILIPPE DUFOUR". A COLLECTED MAN. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Philippe Dufour – AHCI". ahci.ch. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- Markl, Xavier (24 November 2018). "Independent Watchmaking In Conversation with "Monsieur" Philippe Dufour". Monochromewatches. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- "Philippe Dufour – An extremely fine and equally rare pink gold wristwatch with original certificate and fitted presentation box, Circa 2002". Phillips. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Philippe Dufour: AN REMARKABLY FINE AND RARE WHITE GOLD WRISTWATCH". www.sothebys.com.
- "Philippe Dufour – An extremely rare and fine pink gold wristwatch with original certificate and presentation box, 2012". Phillips. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Philippe Dufour – An exceedingly rare, important, and early platinum wristwatch with double regulator, certificate and fitted presentation box., 1996". Phillips. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Philippe Dufour: An incredibly rare and important pink gold wristwatch with hinged caseback, guarantee and presentation box". Phillips. Retrieved 2020-11-08.
- "Philippe Dufour Simplicity Fetches CHF 1.36 Million At Phillips". Hodinkee. Retrieved 2020-11-08.
- "Philippe Dufour - A unique, incredibly well-made and historically important two-train minute repeating grande and petite sonnerie wristwatch with hinged case in yellow gold and enamel dial bearing movement number 1". Phillips. Retrieved 2021-11-05.
- "Philippe Dufour Grande Sonnerie Wristwatch Sells for US$5.2m". Watches by SJX. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
- "Philippe Dufour master watchmaker favorites watches at SIHH 2016". Youtube. FondationHH. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Clymer, Benjamin. "he Road To Basel Episode 2: Inside The Atelier With The Legendary Philippe Dufour". Hodinkee.com. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Pulvirent, Stephen. "Watch Spotting: Philippe Dufour Wearing A Rolex 'Pepsi' GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO At Baselworld 2019". Hodinkee.com. Retrieved 16 September 2019.