Beyer Rattrapante Moonphase
This charming Beyer has a remarkable ability to delight just about everyone, even the most jaded collectors who’ve seen it all. Beyer is the watch person’s signature, found on everything from Rolex to Patek, and longest continuously running watch boutique in the world. But it was Theodore Beyer who built a personal collection which is now an in-shop museum, and Theodore Beyer who in 1982 had a few of these astronomical split seconds made at personal request.
The best part of this watch, in my estimation, is the intrigue. No one seems to know just who made it. Or why Beyer wanted a few split seconds with his name on the dial (apart from the obvious fact that that’s just cool). The movement is a modified Venus 178 with a moderate level of hand-finishing sprinkled on top. There’s some grained rhodium plating and polished edges, but it’s not a Lange. Who modified it? Why does this exist? They weren’t for profit, and weren’t sold to the public in period. Just for personal enjoyment, as all the best things in life are. Just low single digits have been seen by the market, one at Antiquorum, one at Christies, and one private market. This is one of those three I’ve clocked, back on market and ready to be enjoyed by someone new.
It’s just all kinds of wondrous and all kinds of strange. Where the Zodiac Valjoux 72 was always a more attainable Carrera, this is in many ways the more attainable 5004. No one will mistake one for the other, and the movements are not nearly on the same par, but they’re both very interesting split seconds and it’s not like there are a handful of value rattrapantes to choose from. This truly is a classic high complication. It has been interpreted in kind of the most bare-bones way possible, but there’s still something very lovely about that. Even when you play The Who through an iPhone speaker, there’s still a magic about it. But for god’s sake, don’t do it. Blast it on a Naim hifi, and do so with this on wrist. The Who said farewell in 1982, the same this was born. They both accomplished something truly exceptional without much regard for tradition.
Its case has light signs of wear, but no bashes. The lugs are full. Its dial is not damaged. Interestingly, the dial is non-luminous, but the hands are. That’s how they all are. It comes from a well-regarded Parisian retailer.