lot 03

Manufacture Royale

Opera Tourbillon Repetition Minutes

Estimate CHF 60 000 / CHF 90 000
Starting bid CHF 50 000

Hammer price CHF 80 000
Total bids 14
Buyer’s premium will not be charged
A real eye-catcher. A watch you’ll never forget, it’s worth seeing at least once. Even if it’s just to learn something about it on the Internet. A watch that, when expanded, resembles nothing other than the legendary Sydney Opera House. And even the sound appears in it, too! The era of such designs is over, in my opinion, and this watch will remain one of the most interesting examples of spectacular design and spectacular super-complex movement mechanics. And finally, it’s a minute repeater and a tourbillon, which alone is enough to admire this creation of the modern Manufacture Royale in its early years.
Alex Kutkovoy
More than 10 years editor in Revolution
CHF 60 000 / CHF 90 000


CaseWhite & rose gold case 750/1000 with a sapphire caseback, minute repeater slide at 10 o'clock, crown at 3 o'clock, open telescope case rose gold safety lock at 9 o'clock
StrapBrown leather strap, with a original white & rose gold pin buckle
DialOpenworked skeletonized dial, one-minute Tourbillon display at 5 o'clock, solid rose gold hands
MovementOpenworked skeletonized, rhodium-plated hand-wound movement with minute repetition & true seconds tourbillon complication with silicon escapement, 180 hours power reserve
Case No.01

Condition report

Case:Very good, small signs of wear
Strap:Very good, small signs of wear
Dial:Mint condition
Movement:Very good, all functions working properly
Amplitude (Dial on top/Lift angle 52):Approx 330°
Accuracy (Dial on top):Approx +8 sec/day


A super rare, highly unusual and impressive rose and white gold minute repeating tourbillon wristwatch of the Swiss haute horlogerie brand Manufacture Royale, the brand name revived in 2010 by Arnaud Faivre, French entrepreneur. Estimated production period: 2010–2012; sold most probably in 2017–2018. Voluminous fold-out bellows-type case made of 18k rose and white gold, diameter 50mm, sapphire caseback. Open-worked dial, rose gold sword-shaped hour and minute hands. Caliber MR01, manually-wound, silicon escape wheel and pallet lever, power reserve up to 108 hours. Functions – indication of hours and minutes, tourbillon, minute repeater chiming hours, quarters and minutes. Dark-brown leather strap, Manufacture Royale 18k rose and white gold pin buckle. Numbered series. 

Lot essay 

Originally, the brand name Manufacture Royale was launched by Voltaire, the French writer, historian, and philosopher, in 1770. Arnaud Faivre, a French entrepreneur and the founder of movement-blank supplier Tec Ebauches, revived the historical brand name in 2010. In 2013, Manufacture Royale came under the control of the Gouten family, who continue to run this business to the present day. 

The Opéra Répétition Minutes Tourbillon is Manufacture Royale’s launch mega-project, designed to make the new brand name and its ambitions as loud as possible (in every sense of the word). Manufacture Royale announced the launch of this model immediately after their foundation, in 2010, at the peak of the mood for ultra-complex extraordinary mechanical wristwatches. As a matter of fact, this model will remain in the history of watchmaking as one of the most characteristic monuments to the boom of haute horlogerie.

From a design point of view, the architectural prototype of this model was the famous Sydney Opera House. From it, the exterior case housing three pivoting sleeves and the inner case, and the acoustic complication of the minute repeater, are taken. In principle, the small internal volume of a wristwatch is poorly suited to good acoustics, so, technically speaking, the significant increase in the internal volume of the Opéra model when the case is unfolded appears fully justified and functional. The pivoting case made it possible to reduce the size of the watch to wearable dimensions, definitely large but still quite acceptable, especially if we take into account the trend of the enlargement of wristwatches that has existed since the 2000s. 

From a design point of view, the architectural prototype of this model was the famous Sydney Opera House. From it, the exterior case housing three pivoting sleeves and the inner case, and the acoustic complication of the minute repeater, are taken.

The MR01 caliber was developed for Manufacture Royale by the Fabrique du Temps complications atelier, founded by Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini. These two watchmakers had co-founded the BNB Concept high-complications factory, which filed for bankruptcy in early 2010. During the period under review, namely in 2011, La Fabrique du Temps was acquired by Louis Vuitton. 

The caliber execution reveals signs both typical for traditional watchmaking and characteristic of its current state in the 2010s. The minute repeater of a traditional scheme is mounted on the side of the dial, and is fully visible thanks to the fully open-worked dial. The classic finish is complemented by avant-garde skeleton bridges, while the tourbillon bridge and tourbillon itself have a 3D structure. The avant-garde features are even more visible on the back of the caliber. In particular this is true for the barrel bridge, with an unusual angular shape and fashionable technical finish with raised contours and a matte textured flat surface. Meanwhile, the inner and outer corners received a sharp finish of polished bevels, completed according to the rules of haute horlogerie. In general, the movement leaves a very pleasant, albeit unusual feeling. The chiming mechanism is mounted on the reverse. Here we should note the silent centrifugal regulator and two classically-designed hammers. 

The present example is marked with the number 01, which gives it special significance as the very first two-tone rose and white gold timepiece, which, judging by the available information, was originally presented by the brand as a promotional example among all the versions announced by the brand in 2010 – in rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, bicolour gold, and blackened white gold. 

Reasons to bid 

The Manufacture Royale Opéra Répétition Minutes Tourbillon No. 01 would be an excellent chance for the collector to obtain a super-rare, highly unusual, extraordinary, and highly complicated minute repeating tourbillon wristwatch from a small independent haute horlogerie brand. The present lot represents the first chapter of the fascinating modern history of Manufacture Royale, as the earliest project and its most complicated timepiece ever. In our opinion, this model perfectly represents its era, when the most ambitious and super-complex projects appeared and often did not reach the stage of production of finished watches. The Opéra Répétition Minutes Tourbillon was indeed produced, albeit, in our opinion, in only a few pieces. In any case, it is an extremely rare timepiece, number 01 in what is at most a very small series, and we do not rule out the possibility that this is a unique piece, which undoubtedly adds to the attractiveness of the present lot. 

*Under the aegis of Maître Marco Breitenmoser, Huissier Judiciaire