Watch auctions are growing more popular than ever before. This is mainly due to the fact that watches have become more than just utilitarian timepieces. They are now coveted collector’s items that can skyrocket in value for short periods of time.
However, many people are unsure how to take part in these events. This article will provide a guide to help people understand how watch auctions work.
How watch auctions work
Watch auctions are highly-publicized events with lavish pictures and descriptions, which help to attract potential bidders. The most successful watch auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, are masters of the art of presentation. This is all part of a well-thought-out strategy to make buyers feel excited and engaged about participating in the auction.
The majority of bidding for auction lots takes place online, and this is a major trend that will likely continue into the future. Typically, a buyer’s premium will be added to the final hammer price of the watch, so it is important for potential buyers to know what they are getting into before making any financial commitments.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that watch auctions can be prone to fraud and deception. Many auction houses will make bold claims about a watch’s ownership or provenance that are not supported by solid physical evidence. In some cases, these inflated statements are simply untrue, and it is up to the prospective buyer to carefully examine the evidence before making any bids.
It is also important to note that most auction houses will only sell authenticated watches. A good way to test this is by asking the auction house if they can provide any original boxes or papers with a watch, as these are signs of authenticity.
Lastly, it is essential to be aware of how auction house commissions work. This is an extra fee that is added to the hammer price of a watch and is usually a percentage of the total sale. Depending on the auction house, these commissions can add up to a significant amount of money.
While online sales have increased dramatically in recent years, many collectors still prefer to participate in live watch auctions. They feel that the theatre and energy of a physical auction event is worth the extra expense. One of the reasons for this is that the internet cannot fully replace the experience of watching a rare and valuable watch being sold in person.
How to score rare luxury timepieces
The luxury watch market has been booming lately, and it’s easier than ever to score rare watches on the resale market. The new-old-stock phenomenon is attracting younger buyers who are drawn to the craftsmanship and mechanics of watches as well as their performance as investments. In fact, according to a recent BCG study, watch purchases outperformed most traditional investment instruments in a number of key areas including price transparency and resilience.
Typically, you can buy a luxury brand watch directly from the manufacturer, which ensures that it is in mint condition and includes the original box and authentication papers. However, due to the popularity of certain models, many manufacturers have long waiting lists and limited inventories, which can make it challenging to find the watch you want. In this case, buying a pre-owned watch from a reputable seller can be an excellent option.
The best online sellers of luxury watches are primarily auction houses, which work with multiple auctioneers around the world to sell a wide range of items, including rare luxury timepieces. These sites also offer a variety of tools to help sellers manage their inventory and sales, such as a listing manager and a live auction feed.
There are also a growing number of independent auctioneers who specialize in selling luxury watches. These independent dealers often work with a network of collectors and enthusiasts to bring together buyers and sellers. They can be an excellent source of information about watches, and they may also offer a variety of payment options to fit the needs of different types of buyers.
Lastly, some buyers prefer to purchase used or vintage luxury watches. In addition to the benefits of finding a pre-owned watch at a better value, buying a used watch can also reduce the risk of purchasing a counterfeit item. The resale market for secondhand watches is highly competitive, but a trusted dealer will be able to help you navigate the process.
Strategies for participating in watch auctions
Whether you’re a watch collector looking to buy or sell your watches, or simply interested in the auction process, there are several strategies that can help you find and score rare timepieces at auction. First, set your budget. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of bidding, so be sure to know your limit and stick to it. Also, attend the preview before the auction to examine the watches up close and validate the catalogue description.
Another important thing to remember is that the hammer price is not the final price for the buyer. In most cases, buyers must pay a buyer’s premium—a percentage of the hammer price—and taxes, shipping, and other fees. Finally, it’s important to understand that auction results don’t always reflect market demand for a particular product or brand. A combination of niche collector activity and zealousness on the part of some auction houses can result in prices that aren’t reflective of true value.
While the days of auction houses underestimating a timepiece’s value are probably long gone, it is still important for buyers to keep their eyes open for potential bargains. A good place to start is by looking for lots with a “No Reserve” label, which means that the seller has decided not to put a minimum bid on the watch and it will sell regardless of how low the final bid may be.
In addition, look for lots that are being offered with the original case and movement, as well as minimal restoration work. These types of lots will typically sell for more than restored or repaired pieces. Finally, if you’re unsure of what a particular watch is worth, talk to the experts at the auction house. They will be able to provide you with more detailed information about the condition and history of the watch and how it might fit into the market.
Watch auctions are a great way to find new buyers and engage with existing ones. It’s also an opportunity for watch brands to promote the importance of quality and encourage younger generations to consider watches as a desirable and viable investment.
In the case of watch auctions, it is important to understand that these events are a bit different than regular luxury goods sales. These are essentially market-forming events where the value of a certain piece can be dramatically altered based on demand at any given time. This is especially true for rare and high-end pieces.
It’s no secret that there has been a massive influx of new bidders in recent years. This is due to several factors, including cryptocurrency, the booming stock market, and millennials and Gen Z inheriting generational wealth. These younger buyers are a big driver of watch auctions, as they are often drawn to these events by the excitement and media coverage that surrounds them.
This has also been aided by the fact that many of the larger watch auction houses have shifted their business models to become more accessible, with online and live bidding options available for a wide variety of lots. This has helped to make these events a little more democratic, as it is now possible for people from all over the world to participate.
Despite this, it’s still a good idea to do your homework before participating in any auction. It’s important to remember that these auction houses are working for the seller, and they want to make the sale as lucrative as possible for their client. This means that auction house descriptions can sometimes be misleading, and they may make bold proclamations about a piece’s provenance or significance with extremely fragmented or tangential evidence.
Additionally, it’s important to know how buyer’s premiums work. This is an additional amount that a buyer will have to pay on top of the final hammer price, and it’s usually determined by the auction house. It’s important to understand this before placing a bid, as it can greatly affect how much you will actually end up paying for a watch.
Overall, it’s an exciting time to be a watch lover, as the auction scene has become more democratized than ever before. It’s no longer just limited to the rudimentary collector forums, and auction results now reach mainstream sites like Hodinkee. This means that watch auctions are becoming more accessible to a wider range of people, and it’s likely that these developments will continue in the near future.