Christie’s x Michael Schumacher’s watches

Christie’s announces timepieces from the collection of Michael Schumacher offered in Geneva this May as part of The Rare Watches Live Auction

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Marking the 30th anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s first Formula 1 Drivers Championship win in 1994, Christie’s is delighted to present selected timepieces from the private collection of one of the most successful drivers in F1 history. The Rare Watches auction on 13 May 2024, at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, will include a section dedicated to this group of watches, highlighting key moments in the career of Michael Schumacher, demonstrating the unique quality of this collection.

Rémi Guillemin, Christie’s Head of Watches Europe and US commented: Christie’s expresses   sincere thanks to the Schumacher Family for their trust in us and their wish to share these masterpieces of horology with other passionate collectors around the globe. We are proud to present these iconic and unique timepieces belonging to one of the most celebrated Formula One legend. An exceptional moment, for watch and F1 enthusiasts alike. We are looking forward to meeting with passionate collectors during our international exhibitions and the auction on 13th of May in Geneva.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak chronograph to be offered is particularly notable, having been commissioned as a gift for seven-times Formula 1 World Champion racing driver Michael Schumacher from Jean Todt, his early mentor at Ferrari, commemorating the then 6 F1 victories achieved by Schumacher.

The bespoke dial features Ferrari’s famous prancing horse emblem on the subsidiary seconds dial, the numeral ‘1’ in the 30-minute register dial surrounded by 6 stars representing Michael Schumacher’s 6 World Championship victories between 1994 and 2003, while in the 12-hour register Schumacher’s red racing helmet is depicted. This incredibly personal piece of F1 memorabilia also bears an engraved personal gift dedication on the back of the case  recording the six F1 World Championship wins achieved.

This white gold Royal Oak chronograph is an ultimate trophy for AP collectors and for Formula 1 fans alike and will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to possess one of the most distinctive individual Royal Oak chronographs with remarkable direct and storied provenance.

Another very personal piece of Formula 1 memorabilia, is a unique F.P. Journe Vagabondage 1 Model timepiece, dating from circa 2004, featuring a bespoke dial and bearing an engraved personal gift dedication on the 18k gold movement. The stunning red dial immediately captures attention – around its circumference are symbols representing Michael Schumacher’s seven F1 World Championship victories achieved by 2004 and includes Schumacher’s racing helmet together with the Ferrari emblem.

The origin and story of the ‘Vagabondage’ wristwatch is a fascinating one. As early as 1997, François-Paul Journe had made a unique automatic wristwatch called the ‘Carpe Diem’ with wandering jump-hours around a central visible balance. However, the catalyst for the production in series of a similar watch, was the request to provide a unique timepiece to be sold for the benefit of the ICM Foundation in 2003. Now christened the ‘Vagabondage’ in homage to its wandering hours display, the first commercial series of wristwatches was manufactured from 2006.

Biographical Note on Michael Schumacher

Schumacher made his Formula One debut with the Jordan team at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1991 and won his first Drivers’ Championship in 1994 driving for Benetton. After moving to the Ferrari team in 1996, Schumacher went on to win five consecutive titles from 2000 to 2004, including an unprecedented sixth and seventh title, breaking several records. Schumacher retired from the sport at the end of 2006, although he later made a brief return with Mercedes from 2010 to 2012.

Perhaps less well-known is that Michael Schumacher, in conjunction with Schuberth helmets, helped develop the first lightweight carbon fibre reinforced polymer helmet for racing drivers. In 2004, a prototype was publicly tested by being driven over by a tank; it survived intact. The helmet kept the driver cool by funnelling directed airflow through fifty holes.

Schumacher was a special ambassador to UNESCO and donated to the organisation while other charitable and philanthropic work included the construction of a school for poor underprivileged children and for area improvements in Dakar, Senegal – support for a hospital for child victims of the siege in Sarajevo, which specialises in caring for amputees – in Lima, Peru, he funded the Palace for the Poor, a centre for helping homeless street children. Schumacher also donated $10 million for aid efforts after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, surpassing that of many worldwide corporations and even some countries. From 2002 to 2006, he donated further millions to various charities. Schumacher also gave support to other campaigns, such as Make Roads Safe, to recognise global road deaths as a major global health issue. In 2017 his family founded the Keep Fighting Foundation to continue the charitable work that has always been so important to him.

In a career that spanned three decades, Michael Schumacher is clearly one of the most successful drivers in Formula One history and has been described as “the most complete Formula One driver ever”, leaving an indelible impression on the sport.

Preview Dates for Rare Watches, including timepieces from the Michael Schumacher Collection:
Los Angeles        20-22 March                      at Christie’s
Hong Kong          04-07 April                         at Christie’s
Taiwan                20-21 April                         at the Marriott Hotel
Dubai                   27-30 April                         at Christie’s
New York            03-05 May                          at Christie’s
Geneva                10-12 May                          at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues
Auction:              13 May at 2.00pm            at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues

* Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price – see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.  *Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

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