Antiquorum Seeks New CEO

The board of Antiquorum, the world’s leading fine watch auction house, is seeking a new chief executive to replace founder Osvaldo Patrizzi, says Karin Tasso, Antiquorum’s marketing and communications director, in an interview with JCK.

Patrizzi was ousted by its board on Aug. 2. Temporarily succeeding him as Antiquorum chairman and chief executive officer is John Tsukahara, a director of ArtistHouse Holdings, the Japanese company which became a partner of Antiquorum in 2006 and holds majority control.

Tasso said the board is “looking now for someone” to fill the post permanently.

Patrizzi’s departure was due to “differences of opinion with the shareholders over strategic assistance for company and its general strategic direction,” said Antiquorum’s spokesperson. Patrizzi himself said something similar in an interview with The Wall Street Journal and in an Aug. 3 Web posting attributed to him.

Patrizzi had planned to gradually wind down his work at Antiquorum and retire, following the 2006 transaction. However, this departure was more abrupt than expected, said some close to the Antiquorum.

Patrizzi’s departure hasn’t affected Antiquorum operations, long-term projects, planned events, or scheduled auctions, such as the prestigious Only Watch auction in Monaco on Sept. 20, said Tasso.

“There are no change in operations,” she said. “We still have all our experts here; the whole team is on board. Antiquorum is a market leader, and will remain so.”

Also unaffected is TimeZone.com, the world’s largest English language community Web site for wristwatch enthusiasts, which Antiquorum purchased several months ago.

Meanwhile, the new management of Antiquorum is conducting an audit, a process which could go on “some weeks,” said Tasso. Such an action isn’t unusual, she said.

“It occurs whenever you have a big change like this, when you start fresh,” she said.

Also, Antiquorum’s showroom at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, was closed temporarily during the first half of August for inventory control, noted the French language watch newsletter, Montres Business.