Marking time

Watch auctions are perfect for picking up vintage timepieces at bargain prices Is it time you invested in a vintage timepiece?

With Father’s Day coming up this month now could be the perfect opportunity to visit a watch auction which are becoming increasingly popular. You’ll find an array of discontinued and vintage pieces that you can’t pick up in the high street, covering a wide range from the affordable early versions of current classics right up to the kind of rarities that make millionaires reach for their wallets and pay record-breaking prices! An auction is a contest and to get the watch you want at the right price it’s important to do your research first and then hold your nerve when the bidding starts. Read all the available information – catalogue entries will tell you what the watch is, while a condition report will tell you what it is like. If the estimate range makes the watch look like a bargain, the condition report may reveal that it is in need of expensive restoration.


Other factors such as the presence of box and papers and the export restrictions that can apply to brands such as Rolex will be highlighted by icons on the listing. Ask questions of the watch specialists by phone or email until you are satisfied that you know all there is to know. Remember that all lots will carry an additional buyer’s premium to pay. When it comes to bidding you can chose a style to suit and you don’t have to be there in person. You may prefer a commission bid – a maximum amount left before the sale that the auctioneer will use to bid on your behalf. This is great for staying within your limit and you may actually pay less than you thought. Live bidding by Internet or telephone during the sale allows you to be part of the action while staying at home or in the office. Vintage watches have huge charm and a heritage feel, very different from a brand new model straight off the shelf. The continuing trend for watch companies to take design inspiration from their back-catalogues shows that some items were right the first time around. There is something intoxicating about winning a watch rather than just buying one, and the chances are you’ll walk away with a bargain too.

The Watch Sale takes place at Fellows saleroom in the Jewellery Quarter on the last Tuesday of every month, with the next auction on the 30 June. Register and view the catalogue at