Design & Decoration S02 ep5 : Osvaldo Patrizzi, Patrizzi Antiquorum, [New York]

Interview with Osvaldo Patrizzi

Veteran watch auctioneer Osvaldo Patrizzi looked set to change the way buyers and sellers did business in the saleroom. Having controversially parted company with Antiquorum, the company he founded during the 1970s and of which he served as chairman and CEO for more than 30 years, Mr Patrizzi established a new, eponymous house with an ambitious plan. Patrizzi & Co offered a “fresh auction approach” that was going to be “simple, fun and efficacious”. The sales would break new ground in several ways, most notably by not charging buyer’s premium (the amount added to the hammer price of every item sold) with the money being made up by dispensing with expensive-to-produce paper catalogues in favour of digital versions. In addition, massive numbers of lots would be offered in a short space of time in several concurrent auctions at which buyers could bid in the saleroom, by telephone or in real time via the internet. Other “firsts” included a five-year guarantee of authenticity on every lot sold and the option for vendors to sell watches to Patrizzi & Co outright or to consign them for sale for a guaranteed amount, on the basis that the difference between the reserve price and the eventual selling price would be split between vendor and auction house.



Patrizzi: I watch lover and I’m Italian and same the most of Latin people when we love, we love a
lot and very deeply.

Patrizzi: My father died when I am 13 years old, I stop my school and I go to work and the clock
for me and the watches is exactly the dream because I have the outside looking nice and
practically I go inside and I see what move, what give the life of this mechanism.

Patrizzi: When I starting to open the first clock to discover in which way working and the history
of the clock, must more in history of the mechanic himself, I am starting to slowly to go on
antiques because each watch is represented the capacity the artistic side of the man, the knowledge
of the man, the philosophy of the man and is a fascinated me.

Patrizzi: When I have 16 years old I start my own business and I starting to have my workshop and
18 years old when I come major I get my first shop.

Patrizzi: From watch repair I starting to undertake the history of the watches, the history of the
horology himself and from watch repair to the history you come automatically antique on horology
and I start in ’62, ’63 to have to selling my first clocks to travelling to go in Austria, Paris, London,
mostly 17th, 18th Century watches.


Henry Dunay Jewellery

Patrizzi: For me the horology is a world, it’s not just some timepieces you have on your wrist or in
your pocket and is the beginning of the new technology, the beginning of industrial era, and
practically is all born with the watch.

Patrizzi: I have good friend already live in Geneva, he have restaurant and we decided to do new
inventor. The idea is to create a new kind of, a way to selling and to describe to show what is the

Patrizzi: I not the dealer, I not the auctioneer, I the customer. What I want if I want to buy at
auction there is the quality of the watch, the way the watches is displaying, the way the watch is
illustrated, but what more important, which kind of guarantee I have if I go can I buy, what happen
in one year and five years, if something is wrong. And all of these things as lovely, lovely, push me
to starting and to modify to change this, what is this the auctioning on what is today practically is a
worldwide event, maximum of information, all very clear, all very transparent and especially to
using the website when you have auction we really, you create it a world event.

Patrizzi: I the bad example for … this because I able to do without the huge organisation to push
one part of the art or one department so I independent from the other, the practically I just broker
the mechanics.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

Patrizzi: We have a lot of proposition for very rich or very passionate people but practically I
prefer to work for myself after what happened and I think I have an excellent team the team of the
people follow me after this inventor and we are ready to starting, I think we have a new concept,
the revolutionised it all, the what is the auction system, and with the experience we have before I
am already to starting a new auction house.

Patrizzi: My range of action is much more bigger because I go back onto the 16th Century, but
what is made today is so fantastic, also is easy to understand is much more easy to understand a
nice wrist watch than 17th Century pendant watch for Cardinal.

Patrizzi: You know you’re talking with the company made the first on line and in on line auctions,
practically they, it is new company, is take the best of the on line and the best of the classic sale,
we put together we decide okay no commission from the buyer because, because it’s the way to
pay exactly the real price of the watch. To do that we need to reduce expenses. We reduce
expenses because the catalogue is nice in paper I know I the first, but from if you want information
you need much more than one page for one description, much more than one picture. Practically
you have to do only on line, you only buy on the web. Guarantee, the expert we have the capacity I
have with me the best expert in the world and what is the real idea is that the multi screen auction.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

Patrizzi: The idea is to create it in the room the hotel drawer, hotel drawer in Paris is a very old
institution, is probably middle of 18th Century where in the same building you have 15-15 auction
room, is all done by the … practically no catalogue is made only very small catalogue, and the
people put down that for sale one month before, small description and selling. When you enter in
this building you have so excitement … the people go in one room to the other to the other, is for
me is a the real auctions, not you go and you wait for three hour this watch the next lot, the lot
come after, 150 have to wait you sleeping because you don’t know what spend the time. The idea
is to activate it and the activate is the iMac, I don’t have the hotel drawer but I have a nice big
room I have four screen, and each screen has one sale, I have three, four animator, help the people
want to bidding and same the Wall Street, the people starting to bidding in this lot, in this lot, in
this lot, we able to go until 1,002, 1,500 watches a day and it is sometimes too exciting to reduce
the lost time.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

Patrizzi: One of the place where I find most of the watches is India. India because at the end of the
19th Century the Maharaja ordered thousand and thousand watches to the Swiss horology and the
best not only on diamond stone and the creative case, but also on the mechanism, he want to have
to show the hour, these people is cultivated and able to get so important watch. And these watches
mostly the time is keep on the collection or give the gift to the different family. And one day a
friend of me in Bombay … we have to go in some place on the north of … and I have a friend he
have a nice pocket watch but one hour and half, one hour and half plane, and after one hour a car.
So okay is, so practically I know only very well Delhi, New Delhi, I know very well Bombay, but I
don’t know a part of India. Is good occasion to see. We take a small plane, very small plane, just
eight people and my God I said oh, I don’t know I have really to pray to arrival, we arrival in one,
we landing in I think use one the plane to come in to play … and we take one very old jeep and we
go to in the middle of forest, the middle of forest have a small village in this village have the guy
come from the families quite … or something, very special guy and he invite for the night and in
the evening he show me the nice pocket watch with the name on the top on the bottom with one
side of the diamonds, one side an image of the Maharajah and he said me, my father gave me and
to give to him is the … is very important for our family blah, blah, blah, is a late to come back and
I sleep in this small house on the night I hear the lion, roar, oh my God, and I very silent, …
whoever pushed me to go to find watches which place in the middle of the forest in the middle of
the forest very close to the lion, very close to the nature I find one of the nice, more spectacular
pocket watch in the world and he decided to give to us for auction and I put in auction and we get
sold for about one million Swiss Franc. We’re talking about in ’84, ’85. Is enormous money and
for me is very nice because practically I go really at the end of the world to find this watch, come
from Le L… made in 1890-95 to the world’s most rich man in the world at the time.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Osvaldo Patrizzi, Patrizzi Antiquorum, ???