With his entire life having centred around the field of watches following on from his father, Mr. Gabriel Tortella Sr. who started in the watch business in 1967, before founding Antiquorum with Osvaldo Patrizzi in 1974, Eric has spent the past 42 years of his professional career in the sector. A pre-eminent scholar in the field, Eric has spent an entire career diligently dedicated to the study and research of Patek Philippe watches.
In that time Eric has catalogued over 300,000 pieces, he has written over 20 academic books and has created the largest database, platform, and body of research on the subject. During his career, Eric has and continues to, advise international museums, brands, auction houses and some of the world’s most esteemed private collectors; consulting and advising on the most important collections globally, both public and private.
Eric’s highly detail-oriented approach has led him to conduct studies on behalf of brands and major auction houses, collating their official archives and producing unparalleled in-depth research, in areas of specific study.
Eric has had the pleasure of producing the research on numerous of the most important and unique pieces to have appeared in auction and those which remain in private hands; conducting forensic like analysis of the most important pieces globally, including for example, the Graves’ Supercomplication which sold for approximately US$25 million in 2014.
‘If there is no passion in what you do, nothing makes much sense.’ This is Sandro Fratini’s motto, a Florentine entrepreneur who has managed to put together in 40 years of research around the world, a collection of ‘time machines’ which now has more than 2,000 samples.
Sandro Fratini, was born in Florence in 1953 and on the day of his Communion, at the age of eight years old, he received his first watch, a modest metal-mixed Longines, and from that precise moment he was able to bind his heart to the art of watchmaking. His search for timepieces is ravenous, almost a hunt, a search for something that he craves with all of himself and the research ground is all over the word.
He began making his first major purchases in the early 1980s, purchasing Patek Philippe ref. 130 and shaped watches, as well as Patek also numerous Rolex Prince, and 1984 he bought his first Patek Philippe ref. 1518 in yellow gold with long signature. He bought it from a Venetian antique dealer for 8,000,000 lire, which was a high figure for those years but not even comparable to the estimated figures to date.
Despite the incredible revaluations in the watch market, especially vintage, Sandro Fratini has never considered the idea of buying to speculate, in fact he has never thought of selling any of his watches; among its evaluation criteria there is only the emotional aspect, you do not look at the certifications or conditions of the watch, but only the relationship of feeling that the timepiece transmits.
It is impossible to find watches that are almost a hundred years old, which have never been worn, we rely on what they inspire; you buy following the heart, to preserve, not worrying about what the market says but to own what really excites us. This is why Sandro Fratini doesn’t like to call himself a collector but a lover, a love story that has never stopped, a search and hunt that is still on going.
Bernardini is one of the real veterans of the high-end rare vintage timepieces market. Italian by birth, but an international globetrotter by choice. Dealer, curator but most of all, collector. Owner of Bernardini Milano, the family business established in 1982.
His gallery is a reference point for a very sophisticated worldwide clientele, as is his legacy of passion and compulsive love of rarity and beauty. From a young age he was introduced to prominent collectors and had the privilege of handling extraordinary watches, in quantity and quality, a situation which is unthinkable today. In these past three decades he has been a very prominent and active player, while witnessing the incredible evolution of this market.
A trusted advisor of fine collectors worldwide, he is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian. His modus operandi as a curator is quite simple and efficient: sharing and providing knowledge and guidance, so to recognise the essential difference between value and price and as he often states, ‘keep the best, and trade the rest.’
Beirut-born Ali established his first company at the age of 22 in Macao and Guangzhou, China thereafter. In 2009, he landed in Singapore where he established a successful business in the oil industry and the city state has since become his home, and the beginning of a perpetual journey of watch collecting.
Having been a fervent collector since 2009, Ali is always on the lookout for rare, exquisite and historically significant watches wherever his business brings him. As a well-travelled man, Ali has curated an admirable collection of vintage watches and pocket watches from the various countries he visited in the course of work. Some of his collections date back as far as the 1800s.
In 2019, Ali launched his first book, My Dream Collection, a chronicle of his vintage Patek Philippe collection. Describing Patek Philippe’s creations as a work of art, his passion and obsession for Patek Philippe can be felt among his inner circles, even those who met him briefly. His book reflected this passion and his elaborate studies into vintage timepieces from Patek Philippe.
Ali today is living his dream, making a career out of his passion. He established 2ToneVintage Watches in 2018 to forward the culture of watch collecting and continues on his perpetual quest for the rare and the precious, of the horological world.
Rémy Julia was appointed as Christie’s Dubai’s regional specialist for Watches in the summer of 2014. He comes to Christie’s with more than 10 years of experience working with luxury brands in brand management and business development roles. Heading the Commercial Development in the Middle East and Indian Sub Continent of Vacheron Constantin since 2009, Remy has joined the auction world with a strong knowledge and reputable name in the fine watchmaking industry.
Leading the region’s largest auctions of collectible watches, he has ensured a constant and solid growth from the first auction he has organized in October 2014 with 1,2M USD to an impressive 8,1M USD in Spring 2019 defining Dubai as a new hub for international auctions. Remy has overcome the difficulty of mobility and transacting in the digital world through the 2020 pandemic with a and online auction in October 2020 that was at the time the largest digital auction of the luxury departments with 5,5 M USD with 110% sold by value.
Strong results comes with important and rare watches to his ranking with watches such as the Emperor Haile Selassie Patek Philippe Ref. 2497 sold for 2,9 million USD, the King Farouk Patek Philippe Ref 1518J sold for 912,500 USD, and the historically important Patek Philippe minute repeater of Henry Graves Jr sold for 4,575,000 USD
Rémy is a columnist for various publications among them WatchTime Middle East and India or QP magazine and other publications. He is a well-known watch advisor at Christie’s watch department both on the purchase and consignment side, ensuring success of Christie’s watches auctions around the world.
Rémy speaks French, Spanish, English and some Arabic. He has travelled extensively all over the world since a young age and has a deep knowledge of Middle Eastern culture due to his long residency in the region.
His advisory and curation services are appreciated and acknowledged by some of the largest collectors in the region and his presence in each international auctions makes him a strong contact for every watch enthusiasts and established collectors willing to participate in the most renowned watches auctions around the globe.
Remy has a particular affection for vintage Patek Philippe chronographs and time only from 1940 to 1970 and is a member of the board of Dubai Watch Week.
Nitin Nair’s move to Christie’s this year comes on the back of his successful tenure as the launch editor of WatchTime Middle East, the region’s leading watch publication. He has spent the last seven years focused on the niche of luxury watches, creating and curating content as well as organising events for the local collecting community. He was on the jury of WatchStars, an independent international watch awards featuring an international community of watch journalists and has been quoted as a thought leader in international titles like The New York Times.
His background as a journalist with more than 18 years of experience across news and men’s luxury lifestyle titles gives him a clear and balanced view of the luxury & collectibles industry. Nitin’s interest in wristwatches is more rooted in academia and horology, given his love for history and literature. He reckons watches and horology sit at the intersection of art, micro-engineering, and history. He has visited manufactures in Switzerland, Germany, and Japan over the years and has covered the auction scene in the Middle over the last seven years.
He has consulted with retail brands about engaging with the community and is considered a tastemaker among his peers. He has a fondness for mid-century chronographs and dato-compax (triple calendar chronograph) wristwatches.
An Associate Specialist of Middle Eastern 20th and 21st Century Art, Suzy Sikorski is based in Dubai and works closely with specialist teams in New York, London and Paris.
Working with Christie’s international teams, Suzy spearheads ‘Mapping the Middle East’ building and expanding Middle Eastern 20th and 21st Century Art across dedicated and international placement of auctions, private sales and exhibitions.
She is currently on secondment in London overseeing the 20th and 21st Century Middle Eastern Art sale, led by the Rita and Orin Parker Collection of Modern Iraqi Art, one of the largest and most diverse collections of American collections of modern Arab. In the summer of 2021, Suzy completed a secondment in New York where she oversaw cataloguing for the record-breaking First Open New York sale.
Originally from New York, Suzy is a Fulbright Scholar (2016–17), with a research focus on modern Gulf Art History. Suzy completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Fordham University, with a major in Middle East Studies and minors in Art History and French.