watch auctions

Watch Auctions Guide: What Are Wrist Watch Auctions?

When you decide it’s time to buy or sell a watch, you are faced with several options. You could go private, go to a pawnshop, or attend watch auctions.

Today we want to focus on watch auctions. They are an excellent way of buying and selling luxury timepieces on a yearly basis. Read on to find out our best tips for navigating watch auctions!

Selling Your Watch At Auction

watch auction

When you take a watch to an auction house, specialists will value the watch based on factors such as the brand, the age, and the condition of the timepiece.

Buyers then slowly up the price through bidding. This continues until a buyer states a price that no one else wants to exceed.

Then your watch is officially sold!

Pros & Cons Of Selling Your Watch At Auction

watch auctions

When well-known auctioneers hold wristwatch auctions, it attracts watch connoisseurs from all over the world. This is the best environment to sell a luxury timepiece as you know the audience will be seeking such a product.

Another benefit of selling at a watch auction is that you are supported by watch specialists throughout the process. They will help you to find the realistic value of your watch, which increases the chances that it will be purchased.

Yet, there are downsides of selling at a watch auction. The main downside is the risk involved; you cannot guarantee that your watch will be in high demand, so you may go home with no sale.

Moreover, auctions tend to happen annually or bi-annually, meaning you may have to wait several months before being able to sell your watch. If you are in desperate need of selling a product, watch auctions may not work for you.

Buying A Watch At Auction

phillips auction

To purchase a watch from an auctioneer, you simply need to create an account with the company in question to register for bidding. You can bid in person, over the phone, or on the internet.

Often, you will need to show your ID to register with an auction house, as well as providing a deposit.

When you begin to browse the watches, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind.

Firstly, the rarer the watch, the higher the value tends to be. It is wise to seek out unique watches as they will be the best products to invest in.

Secondly, do not underestimate the importance of the watch brand. Currently, the most popular watches at auction are men’s collectibles from luxury brands including Patek Philippe, Breguet, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Some brands that never go out of style are Rolex, Omega, and Cartier.

Having said that, only purchase watches that you truly adore. It is better to buy a watch from a lesser known brand that boasts charming features and incredible quality than a Cartier that is falling apart.

Pros & Cons Of Buying A Watch At Auction

man with watch

When you attend an auction house, you can see the watches up close. This allows you to check the quality for yourself by observing the product from all angles.

Watches that are sold in auctions are valued by specialists, so you can guarantee the price reflects the quality. Specialists will make note of the watch’s condition and specification, as well as ensuring it comes with the appropriate documentation. If there are any flaws, the price will be reduced accordingly.

If you purchase a watch from a watch auction, you are protected by the law. All auction houses must follow the General Conditions of Business, so you can ensure they will not deceive you when it comes to the quality of your watch.

Another benefit of purchasing watches at auction is that you can browse the catalogue to learn all about the watches, from their history to their perceived value. Nothing is hidden from you, so you are able to make wise investments.

On the other hand, there are several disadvantages of purchasing a watch at auction. 

At prestigious auctions, such as a Rolex watch auction or an Invicta watch auction, the competition is fierce. The salesroom is full of passionate watch enthusiasts who are likely to be seeking high-end collectible products. Consequently, there is less chance that you will make a successful purchase.

Furthermore, there is a huge disparity between the different auction houses in the UK. You must do your research otherwise you could end up in a poor-quality auction house where you do not get value for your money.

The Best Wrist Watch Auctions UK


Let’s talk about the best watch auctions in the UK.

Firstly, auctions held by Fellow & Sons are some of the most popular in the country. This Birmingham-based auctioneer was founded in 1876 and has boasted a large inventory ever since. It promises a tailored service and spacious salerooms. Fellow & Sons is also part of the AAA (Association of Accredited Auctioneers), an organisation that is made up of 20 different auction houses with an overall profit of £200m a year.

Secondly, Chiswick Auctions is one of the most prestigious auctioneers in London, with watch enthusiasts flocking to the area to see its impressive collection of watches spanning many years.

Finally, Bonhams also holds auctions in London (as well as New York and Hong Kong). At its bi-annual auctions, it sells over 2000 watches, primarily the likes of Rolex and Patek Philippe. 

Our Final Thoughts On Watch Auctions


As you can see, buying and selling using watch auction sites is a complicated process with many different pros and cons.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if watch auctions work for you. 

If you do decide to buy or sell through a watch auction, remember that vintage, luxury timepieces are the most sought-after. 

We know that not everyone is interested in purchasing at an auction; perhaps you would rather purchase a brand-new watch online, without the hassle of travelling to an auction house and risking leaving empty-handed.

If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. Explore our website and choose a stunning contemporary product to add to your collection. Browse our watches for sale today.

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