Take away the “u” and you have “gilt by association”. That’s a way of describing the elevation to solid-gold status imparted by any connection with the leader in a particular field: the tyres on a winning F1 car, the guitar strings used by Slash… or the movement in the manual-wind Rolex Daytona Cosmographs.
With the recent million-dollar-plus sales of Daytona Paul Newmans and the now mythical Albino, the Valjoux 72 that powers them has been, metaphorically speaking, deified. Calibre-worship manifests itself in a number of ways, but the most obvious is the effect it has on the marketplace, especially for enthusiasts motivated by movement types rather than the watches which house them.
Yes, there are collectors for specific calibres, connoisseurs with a passion for, say, Patek Philippe’s Calibre 12, or the Lemanias that powered Omega Speedmasters and Patek’s ref. 1463s.
The Valjoux 72 — arguably the finest manual-wind chronograph ever — ranked highly among historical movements even before last year’s astronomical auction results.