Think Picasso, think paintings. However, the Bonhams Paris Luxury sale has brought to light a rare wristwatch once donned by the towering Spanish artist. The watch may not have the scale of a Picasso painting but it’s every bit a stellar piece of art designed by independent Swiss watchmaker Michael Z. Berger. Call it fate or a rather unabashed attempt at self-branding but there are 12 letters in the artist’s full name which are turned into the hour markers in black capital letters.
No wonder the timepiece went under the gavel at the Bonhams Luxury Watch Sale in Paris for $267,000 as opposed to the low and high estimate of $14,700 and $22,000 respectively. The circa 1960 manual wind steel bracelet watch is one of three known examples bearing Picasso’s name. It was often spotted on the legend in photographs, including Cecil Beaton’s famous 1944 portrait.
Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams global head of watches, said in a statement, “This was an extraordinary find and we are so thrilled at this well-deserved result for such a special timepiece, which was also a superb example of the 12-digit name tradition. It is rather fitting that Picasso followed this trend as he was famous for being a great self-publicist.” The watch was one of three known examples bearing Picasso’s name on the silvered 32mm dial that dates back to 1960.