“10 YEARS, 10 days.” That’s the title of an exhibition meant to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Antoine de Saint-Exupery Youth Foundation (FASEJ). And a highlight of the affair is the upcoming auction of a limited-edition watch on which dial the Arabic numeral 10 gets a special treatment.
FASEJ was started in 2009 to honor the values for which the pilot, author, poet and journalist Antoine de Saint-Exupery stood — respect for humanity and cultural diversity top this list. The foundation was created by the heirs of the French hero to work on projects meant to give the youth a bright future. IWC Schaffhausen has been a partner to FASEJ since the group was formed. And the fact the watchmaker has in its Pilot’s Watch collection a Le Petit Prince line is proof of its affinity with the most famous literary work of Saint-Exupery.
As an aside; Saint-Exupery, who disappeared during a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean in 1944 (he was 44), was born Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, but was simplified to Saint Exupery. Apparently, he placed the hyphen in Saint-Exupery when he went into exile in the US and other parts of America during World War II; he could not stand being addressed by Americans as “Mr. Exupery.” The character Rose in Le Petit Prince, meanwhile, is said to have been inspired by his wife Consuelo, a Salvadorian.
The “10 years, 10 days” exhibit, which also marks the decade-long partnership between FASEJ and IWC, began in Paris on June 10 and will end on June 20. Among the activities lined up for the event are a show at the IWC boutique on Rue de la Paix and an exclusive cocktail reception. Featured in the exhibit are a curated selection of historic artefacts and original photographs related to Saint-Exupery’s life and works, and the foundation’s projects in various countries over the last decade.
Also included in the celebrations is the online auction of an IWC Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Edition Le Petit Prince (Ref. IW392202) in 18-carat 5N gold. Identified by a midnight blue dial, the watch is limited to only 250 pieces. The particular watch on auction is piece number 10 as indicated by the beige luminescent 10 o’clock numeral.
“Number 10” is included in Sotheby’s Watches Online sale, open for bidding exclusively on the platform from July 8 to 17. A “The Little Prince – Tactile Art Book, Claude Garrandes edition” with drawings in bas relief and texts in English, French and Braille and signed by FASEJ president François d’Agay and Garrandes (creator of the first set of Le Petit Prince artwork in bas relief) will accompany the special IWC timepiece.
And “special” in this case means exactly that. Because not only is it a limited-edition commemorative Le Petit Prince piece with a flyback chronograph and a moonphase display, it also has a perpetual calendar function designed in the early 1980s by IWC’s legendary watchmaker Kurt Klaus. The date, day, month, moon phase and year displays in the in-house cal. 89630 are perfectly synchronized and can be reset by simply turning the crown.
Certainly, though, this watch’s beauty lies as much in the fact that a portion of the proceeds from its sale will go to FASEJ’s worthy causes. As Le Petit Prince put it; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly.