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About Time

Mr Aurel Bacs Recommends Six Vintage Watches

The influential auctioneer previews his top lots from Styled, the upcoming watch auction in New York

The man who brought the gavel down on the world’s most expensive wristwatch in 2017 has not been resting on his laurels. Thirteen months after a stainless-steel “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona owned by the late actor himself was sold at auction for an unprecedented US$17,752,500, Mr Aurel Bacs is once again poised to lead the vintage watch market into territory unknown. On 5 December, he will return to Phillips auction house in New York alongside MR PORTER and our friends at The Rake to present Styled: Timeless Collectors’ Watches And How To Wear Them, a first-of-its-kind auction that unites the worlds of collectors’ watches and men’s style.

The idea came to him while dining out with his wife and business partner, Ms Livia Russo, with whom he runs the consulting firm Bacs & Russo. “The restaurant offered a menu dégustation,” he recalls. “The sommelier said, ‘If you wish, we can pair each course with a corresponding glass of wine.’ And I thought: wait a second! I spend five minutes each morning choosing what to wear depending on what I’m doing, where I’m going, et cetera. I probably spend the same amount of time choosing a watch. So why have we never done an auction that pairs watches with outfits?” A couple of phone calls later – one to Mr Wei Koh, founder of The Rake, and another from Mr Koh to Mr Toby Bateman, Managing Director of MR PORTER – and the foundations were set.

All told, 120 watches will be offered for sale on the evening of 5 December. One man who won’t be joining in with the bidding is Mr Bacs himself, who will be busy orchestrating proceedings from the other side of the rostrum. But, what if he could? In this exclusive film, MR PORTER asked him to pick out a few of his personal highlights from the upcoming auction. As you’d expect from one of the watch market’s most influential tastemakers, his selection hit all the right notes in terms of desirability, uniqueness and investment potential. Perhaps more pertinently, though, the watches he chose were wearable across a wide range of scenarios. Which, ultimately, is what Styled is all about.

The watches to watch

  • Vacheron Constantin Overseas Automatic Chronograph 42.5mm Stainless Steel Watch, Ref. No. 5500V/110A-B148

  • Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli Limited Edition Automatic Skeleton 45mm Titanium and Rubber Watch, Ref. No. DBEX0696

  • Zenith Power Reserve 40mm 18-Karat Rose Gold and Alligator Watch, Ref. No. 18.2121.685/01.C498

  • Cartier Ballon Bleu De Cartier Automatic 42mm Steel and Alligator Watch, Ref. No. CRWSBB0025

  • Bell & Ross + Revolution Bellytanker Chronograph 41mm Stainless Steel and Leather Watch, Ref. No. BRV294-RR-BR/SCA

  • Maurice de Mauriac L2 42mm Coated Stainless Steel Watch, Ref. No. L2 DLC COATED