They joined forces in 2005 to develop the prestige real estate market in Switzerland. Sixteen years later, SPG and Christie's have just reconfirmed this fruitful alliance. Christie's first became interested in real estate in 1995," explains Eveline de Proyart, Vice President of Christie's International and Managing Director of Christie's in Geneva. At the time, we had a lot of demand for high-end properties from our clients, both in buying and selling. This new market was then limited to the United States. Christie's thus acquired Great Estates, an American company specializing in extraordinary properties."
Founded in 1766 in London by James Christie, the auction house now has 78 departments ranging from fine wines to works of art, jewelry, fossils and luxury leather goods. The real estate department, however, is the only one that does not participate in auctions. "It's a completely different way of working. Real estate and art are very complementary. Both fields express beauty and taste. A beautiful collection must flourish in a beautiful setting. At Christie's International Real Estate, we consider a prestigious property from one million dollars, but we obviously often go far beyond that. From time to time, we offer some absolutely stunning properties that are found all over the world: ranches, castles, islands and fabulous apartments. These properties aren't always easy to flush out, but they exist. "
In the 2000s, Christie's decided to develop in Europe this sector which was then very successful in the United States. I was very involved in the search for a partner in Switzerland," continues Eveline de Proyart. We looked in the main cantons to see who among the major real estate players would be likely to enter into this affiliation. "As a major collector, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, founder of the SPG, seemed a natural candidate. "We had common interests related to art, of course. But that was not the main criterion that caught our attention. We were looking for a partner with a reputation for exceptional service, a passion for expertise and, most importantly, absolute discretion with his clients. The volume of their real estate transactions was not a principal issue. We were looking to work with someone who shared our values. "In 2005, under the name SPG Finest Properties, the Geneva-based company became the exclusive partner of Christie's International Real Estate in French-speaking Switzerland and the Alps.
To celebrate this 15-year collaboration last year, the company changed its name to SPG One. A new identity, a new website and a new team. We are affiliates, not franchisees," says Maxime Dubus, managing director of SPG One. Unlike the latter, which has no relationship other than commercial with its parent company, we have close and privileged ties with Christie's in London to whom we send clients and who, in turn, send us theirs. Société Privée de Gérance was the first real estate company in Switzerland to join an international network. Thierry Barbier-Mueller foresaw the success of the prestige property market in our country. He was the visionary. "
Boom in the mountains
SPG One can also take advantage of the presence of the Geneva offices of the English company, which organizes its major jewelry and watch sales here. "Today, to be effective in the highly competitive prestige real estate sector, we need to be well established both locally and internationally because our most important clients are not necessarily in Switzerland," continues Maxime Dubus. Especially now, after more than a year of confinement, the mountains are attracting unprecedented interest from foreign owners. Buying and selling high-end properties in the Swiss and French Alps is our specialty," says Pierre Révay, a broker at SPG One. This is not the case for Christie's, who is thus assured that we will relay and follow up on each file. Especially since it is sometimes complicated to acquire this type of object when you are not a swiss permanent resident. "
A win-win partnership, therefore, in terms of network but also image. "Christie's is a very strong vector of communication with our clients through its magazine and the events with which we are associated. SPG One is present at Christie's auctions in Geneva," explains Maxime Dubus. On the side of the English firm, Eveline de Proyart can count on the key role played by the Société Privée de Gérance in Geneva's cultural life, thanks in particular to the Barbier-Mueller Museum, which houses the most important collection of non-Western art in private hands in the world. "It is a magical place to which we like to invite our clients once a year for a reception and to visit the exhibitions. Every time it's an incredible event that people love. "
Editor : Emmanuel Grandjean - June 2021