It wasn't a "piece unique", nor was it (too) exclusive, but at the Annual Grey Goose Winter Ball earlier this month, a Raymond Weil wristwatch became the event's highest earning auction lot ever.
The piece in question was a 42mm stainless steel cased BRIT Awards edition watch owned by Labrinth, who also donated a bespoke track and an opportunity to dine at his Mosaica Restaurant making the lot rather unique - but the watch, which Raymond Weil as BRIT Awards partner gifted to presenters, nominees and performers at this year's event was also available in limited numbers for purchase by members of the public through Ernest Jones jewellers, and was therefore far from "exclusive".
The bidding received an early boost when Jay Kay put up £50,000 and in the flurry that ensued, the lot raised a substantial £180,000 which goes towards Elton John's AIDS Foundation charity. This has been a bountiful year for wristwatch and pocketwatch auctions in spite of the rumblings of insecurity regarding the Euro and the strength of the Swiss Franc - Christies, Antiquorum and Sotheby's have all sold important pieces well above reserve prices. Everything you will read regarding the auction of important timepieces will focus on two key things - rarity and vintage. Reassuring then to find that when it comes to an auction in a roomful of well-heeled benevolent individuals, exclusive is not always essential.
The Grey Goose Winter Ball was set up six years ago and to date the event has raised a meritorious £3million.