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When you think of the watch industry, your mind probably goes straight to the big manufacturers like Rolex and Patek Philippe. One is quick to forget though that the authorised dealers around the world are just as much responsible for the growth of the industry, if not more so.
A watch that perfectly connects these two sides of the coin is this Beyer Rattrapante from 1982. Beyer, for the uninitiated, is the oldest continuous running watch boutique in the world. Nestled in the centre of Zürich, and now in the hands of the 8th generation of the family, they have become arguably the most respected store in the watch world.
The family originally opened their shop in 1760, making them only 5 years younger than Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacturer in the world. This has allowed them to develop excellent relations to all the major brands in the business, the fruits of which can be best seen in their own museum where they store watches that will give week knees to anyone who has only the faintest interest in timepieces. The store is situated on the Bahnhofstrasse, the nr. 1 address in Zürich and is currently lead by René Beyer. Before that it was his father Theodor Beyer who lead the shop until his death in 1986, and it was also Theodor who steered them through the pits of the quartz crisis and into modernity. It was from Theodor’s collection that the one of a kind Museum was built, and it was from his personal collection from which we get to present a watch that carries just as much horological significance as it does historical.
Made in 1982 out of 18k gold in a 37mm case with stepped bezel. It features an astonishing variety of complications fit for a former titan of the industry. The astronomic calendar shows both the date and the moonphase. Centre stage takes the square button split second rattrapante chronograph. Split seconds chronographs have for a long time taken a special place in the hierarchy of watch complications, on level with the mystique of the minute repeater or that of the tourbillon. It allows for the timing of two events where the second chronograph hand can be stopped from the primary one or called back to it at will, and is reserved only to the finest watches available. The movement used is the Venus cal. 179.
While Beyer has been producing their own range of timepieces this is not to be put on a level with their recent pieces that they created together with Aerowatch. This 1982 example is in a league of its own, being the product of the minds behind Beyer, as can be deduced not only from the fact that they formed part of the personal collection of Theodor Beyer, but also in the choice of complications and the classical design. Theodor Beyer has achieved everything a man can achieve in the niche that is the watch world. Driven by perfection, his attitude towards his collection is best described by his son René, who at the time of the original auction for this watch in 2003 said that “My father was just basically buying the best that was available. He never went for second best. He did not compromise on quality.”
Only a handful of these have ever been produced and the first time it fetched 16.000CHF in 2003. (https://catalog.antiquorum.swiss/en/lots/lot-46-155?page=2) The auction was being held in Zürich, as part of a 170 lot strong collection that fetched a grand total of 5,5 million Swiss francs to ensure the continuous operation of the Museum. Separated from the collection of the museum, Beyer left clear instructions in regard to his private collection, his son saying that “It was his last will that his private collection – which was not in the museum but in bank safes in Zurich – would be sold, so other and new collectors could follow in his footsteps.”
We are very proud and happy to offer this exceptional piece that we have paired with a new strap but still is preserved in exceptional "museum quality" condition. Special thanks to Watch and Bullion for the information and literature on this gem: "the poor man's 5004"!