It's Time to Get Off: 6 Erotic Watches We Want Right Now
Just recently, we introduced you to luxury watch brand Richard Mille’s RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon. The watch, slated to be out in December, will sell for a whopping $750,000 -- no small amount of money for a watch designed to tease and please. Interestingly, Mille’s watch is really not what one would call erotic in the true sense of the word. The timepiece is a play on words with a mix-and-match concept of various sensual and sexy phrases on the dial, from which one can choose to display a series of different messages. While the whimsical watch is an updated take on eroticism, with just 30 pieces ever being made, it is destined to be a temptress at auctions in years to come.
Erotic timepieces are an important part of watchmaking history. Often going against the grain of certain moral or ethical codes, these watcheswere sometimes banned or confiscated. Nonetheless many found their way to market over the centuries – much like the poses and prose in the famed Kama Sutra.
Lot 187 at the 201 Antiquorum auction of erotic watches depicts the Henry Capt Musique d'Amour watch, which sold for more than $210,000.
Most of these significant works of art that have roots that date back to the 17th century, when enamel dials were the mode of choice. According to Antiquorum Auction House, the first types of erotic watches were made for the Chinese market, with the most luxurious ones created for the Emperor and his entourage.
By the 18th century, automatons (watches with moving figures on the dial) emerged and they seemed the perfect mode to bring erotica to reality. These sophisticated watches were exquisite and rare, often with gold ornamentation. Those that survived the years gained in value.
Antiquorum exotic watch auction (2011) Lot 173 - Quarter-Repeating Watch With Three Concealed Erotic Scenes Austrian, probably Vienna. Made circa 1880. Unusual, large quarter-repeating silver and enamel pocket watch with three painted on enamel erotic scenes.
In fact, in an auction held a few years ago in Geneva by Antiquorum, a lot of 30+ erotic watches owned by a private collector went up for sale, with many selling for tens of thousands of dollars. Among the highlights of the sale was Lot 187, Henry Capt, Musique d’Amour, selling for just over $210,000. The timepiece was a repeating musical watch with four actions with concealed erotic automaton playing at will.
Today, only the finest luxury watch brands venture into the erotic world – often depicting the erotica on casebacks. Some, however, continue to use automatons to depict the act of love in full glory on the dial.
Ulysse Nardin, for instance, revealed its sensual side earlier this year by unveiling the Hourstriker Erotica Jarretie’re. By utilizing jaquemarts (automatons) that bring the romance of Venice to life, the watch features a miniature painting of Venice on the dial with a pair of lovers sculpted in gold in the upper portion of the dial. The hand-sculpted gold figures move in rhythm as the Hourstriker chimes the time. Just 28 pieces will be built in rose gold and 28 in platinum, with prices starting at about $99,000.
Blancpain takes a different route with its erotic timepiece. Choosing to discreetly display its erotic scene on the case back. The front of the Le Brassus Ref. 00232-3631-55B Minute Repeater Carrousel watch features a grand feu enamel dial in white with an aperture for viewing the carrousel. The erotic scene on the caseback is exquisitely hand engraved and depicts a Classical era musician behind a female muse on a lavish bed. The figures are automatons and are activated by the repeater function. This is one of a bespoke offering the brand creates-- each individually and unique for clients -- meaning pricing can fluctuate depending on the order, but this piece retails for just over $400,000.
Svend Andersen , an independent watchmaker with his own brand, Andersen Geneve, also creates erotic automaton watches of superior technology. The Andersen Eros watch, which retails for about $60,000 depending on the complexity of the automaton and on the dial, is a two-sided watch, with the front dial in lavish lacquer. Turn it over and one of the most complicated erotic automaton -- in a libertine love scene -- is revealed.
With a push of the button at 8:00, the figurines of the automaton go into motion – all of the figurines including a tiny dog that is nearby. In total there are nine different types of designs one can choose from to have his or her own erotic watch created. Each automaton features up to 11 moving parts. Andersen Genève achieves this via a Swiss movement with an independent wheel work that drives the automaton for up to two minutes.
Jacob & Co. also offers an erotic watch, but instead of placing the erotic scene on the watch caseback, it is actually portrayed in hand-painted enamel on a lower dial. Above the scene is a guilloche dial in the pattern of fishnet stockings. That top dial features an arch-shaped aperture that – when it reaches the scene – reveals the erotic painting beneath.
The discreet design of the Caligula watch makes the erotic concept the owner’s secret. The Caligula is created in 18-karat rose gold with an exclusive self-winding movement. In addition to displaying the hours and minutes, there is a manually wound automaton scene. Just 69 pieces are being built of each version (there are diamond-adorned models, too). The rose gold one shown here retails for $69,000.
Reuge Music, a company that specializes in handcrafted music boxes and automaton, this year celebrates its 150 anniversary. In honor of that, the company created a new edition of its iconic pocket watch. The timepiece pays tribute to the king’s sport of Polo. On the dial side of the half-hunter pocket watch, an incredible varnish-painted scene portrays two players, with a woman in front waiting for her lover to finish the match.
The reverse side of the pocket watch features a gold half-hunter case that – when opened – reveals an erotic scene of the player and the woman engaged in a tender moment in the stable. The figures are crafted in bronze and both sides of the watch feature moving automatons. The 55mm watch houses the smallest music box movement the brand has ever made. It consist of more than 50 pins on a cylinder and plays one tune of 11 seconds on 17 notes.
Each of these timepieces demonstrates not only top craftsmanship, but also métiers d’arts, technological advancements and a true sensual side.