Michael Schumacher’s timepieces to feature in luxury auction

Motorsport legend’s rare F.P. Journe Ruthenium Collection is among the highly sought-after wristwatches to go under the hammer at Christie’s Rare Watches auction in Geneva on May 14

By Debbie Hathway
F.P. Journe

On May 14, 2024, Christie’s will unveil eight extraordinary timepieces from the personal collection of Formula 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher at its live auction of Rare Watches at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva.

Incidentally, 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of Schumacher’s inaugural Formula 1 Drivers Championship victory in 1994, a milestone that holds significant nostalgia and respect. Christie’s is honouring this by presenting enthusiasts and collectors worldwide with a rare glimpse into his distinctive style and discerning taste through the watches he cherished and collected over the years.

Set of 5 F.P.Journe

Among the highlights are two truly unique and rare bespoke watches crafted exclusively for the F1 legend and gifted to him by his Ferrari team principal, Jean Todt, during the festive seasons of 2003 and 2004. These exquisite timepieces, embodying pivotal moments in Schumacher’s illustrious career, indicate the unparalleled quality and rarity within the collection.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Model, Ref. 25960bc, No. E73509, circa 2003 – Featuring a unique dial commemorating six F1 driver’s championships (estimate: CHF150 000-250 000 | $180 000-280 000).

F.P. Journe, Invenit et Fecit, Piece Unique, Vagabondage 1 Model, circa 2004 – Showcasing a special reference on the dial to Schumacher’s seven F1 driver’s championships (estimate: CHF1 000 000-2 000 000 | US1 200 000-2 300 000).

Within Schumacher’s esteemed collection lies an exceedingly rare assembly of F.P. Journe Ruthenium timepieces, seldom found together on the market with matching serial numbers. Additionally, the preservation of a complete, matching-numbered set in the hands of the original owner is almost unheard of. To extend the opportunity to wristwatch connoisseurs and motorsport aficionados alike, each watch, numbered 92/99, will be presented by Christie’s as an individual lot.

The Ruthenium Collection comprises five watches, each an epochal model within F.P. Journe’s production. Some are among the greatest rarities of the brand’s entire portfolio, including the ‘Octa Jour et Nuit,’ crafted during the concluding phase of the brass movement era between 2001 and 2003. It is one of the most elusive and coveted models of Journe wristwatches. Never produced alone, or independently from the Ruthenium collection, its designation ‘Octa’ symbolises infinity, with the figure ‘8’ representing this concept and appearing on all of the watchmaker’s automatic watches, making it a symbol of perpetual allure (estimate CHF150 000-250 000 | $180 000-280 000).

The Tourbillon Souverain, arguably Journe’s most renowned wristwatch model, boasts a prestigious lineage. Introduced in 1999, it pioneered the tourbillon with a remontoir d’égalité. Honoured with the ‘Aiguille d’Or’ prize at the Geneva ‘Grand Prix d’Horlogerie’ in 2004 and acclaimed as the ‘Watch of the Year’ in Japan the same year, it epitomises horological excellence (estimate: CHF300 000-500 000 | $350 000-570 000).

Another gem within the collection, the Octa Chronographe, is one of Journe’s rarest and most intriguing early series wristwatches, with only 313 examples produced across all series. Utilising the calibre 1300 found in other Octa models, it integrates a sophisticated stopwatch mechanism on the dial plate (estimate: CHF150 000-250 000 | $180 000-280 000).

The Octa Calendrier represents Journe’s pioneering achievement, being the brand’s first annual calendar wristwatch and the third complication integrated into the Octa automatic calibre series while maintaining consistent movement dimensions (estimate: CHF150 000-250 000 | $180 000-280 000).

Lastly, the Chronomètre à Résonance is a testament to Journe’s ingenuity, showcasing a movement based on ‘resonance’, a natural physical phenomenon. Distinctive in its design, it features two balances naturally synchronised to oscillate in resonance, significantly mitigating the effects of wrist and body movements (estimate: CHF300 000-500 000 | $350 000-570 000).

The Paul Newman Daytona ref. 6262 combines two legendary icons – Rolex’s iconic vintage steel chronograph and its current custodian, Schumacher, the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion. This Rolex Cosmograph, distinguished by its myriad dial variations and references, stands as one of the rarest vintage Rolex Daytonas, produced only briefly between 1970 and 1972 (estimate: CHF200 000-400 000 | $230 000-460 000).

Rolex Daytona

Michael Schumacher, renowned for his Formula 1 prowess, debuted with the Jordan team at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. His illustrious career saw him clinch his first Drivers’ Championship in 1994 with Benetton, followed by an unparalleled streak of five consecutive titles with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004, including an unprecedented sixth and seventh championship. Beyond his racing achievements, Schumacher’s philanthropic endeavours, including pioneering lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced polymer helmets for racing drivers and extensive charitable contributions, underscore his enduring legacy.

The Rare Watches Auction preview schedule enables viewing from May 10-12 at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. The live auction is on May 14 at 2pm at the same venue.

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