Time to Bid? Tips for Buying Watches at Auction

May 31, 2017

It is an exciting time to be a watch lover. The world is talking about timepieces more than ever. The result isn't just an increasing frequency of watch-themed auctions, but also entire new businesses dedicated to bringing more watches to auction for more people. Watches are highly sought after for its collectability, as well as for its design features. Some collectors look at a watch’s rarity or origin, while others seek a more vintage or period watch suitable for their chosen fashion and lifestyle. Aspiring buyers also come to auctions to purchase a trending watch in the secondary market at a reduced price. This is a great way to get your hands on something like a Rolex Daytona.


Buy the best watch that you can afford


Buying pre-owned watches at an auction, winning bidders avoid paying VAT and the initial hit of depreciation. They are also presented a truer picture of a watch’s worth as opposed to its retail price. Condition is key; buy the best watch that you can afford. There are few bargains out there and most watches are cheap for a reason. Box and papers, if the seller bothered to keep them, are a good sign that they took care of the watch itself and add to the resale value.


Buy from a reputable seller


A reputable seller will authenticate the watch both inside and out. It is obvious that counterfeit or imitation watches have no investment value, but avoid customized or after-set pieces as they can be worth little more than scrap. Beware of vintage watches that almost looks good as new. An original will always hold value better than an assemblage of parts.


Find a gem that no one else has recognized


Watches are a rising market. If you buy quality watches, at the right price, the value will increase. You may not beat inflation over the long term, but you are unlikely to lose money. To outperform the market, you need to find a gem that no one else has recognized. With the vast amount of information available online, this is hard to do. Collecting trends do shift over time, especially if a brand’s value rises out of reach of the average buyer. Spot a trend early on and you may be able to buy good watches and then cash in when the market catches on.


All investments are risky but with watches, that risk is lessened. Whether you buy new or used, as long as you only buy watches you like, the return on investment is the joy of ownership, even if you never sell them.