Posted on: January 7, 2019

What to watch in 2019

Christina Trevanion, advises us on what we should be buying at auction: ‘People often ask me what antiques they should be investing in and it is always a very tricky question to answer, my usual advice is that you can’t go wrong if you buy what you like and would enjoy having in your home.  As much as I would love to be telepathic, it is very difficult to be able to predict what is going to be sought after in years to come, however there are several markets that have really stood out this year in the auction room that would be worth keeping an eye on if you’re looking for your auction purchases to be a good investment. 

The saleroom has yielded some fascinating results throughout 2018 but none more noticeable perhaps than the boom in the wristwatch market.  Pocket watches, although still performing strongly are being eclipsed by their younger brother’s as this new market emerges, driven partially, it has to be said, by nostalgia.  The market does not seem to want ‘grandfather’s pocket watch’ anymore, this new generation of collectors want the wristwatches they knew and saw as children, but they don’t want just any old watch, which is where it starts to get a little complicated when we look at the wristwatch as an investment.

There are a multitude of watches from a plethora of brands that potential collectors could choose from, and yet the two strongest brands we have found are Rolex and Patek Philippe.  But, there are a number of aspects that need to be factored into the equation; brand recognition, heritage, exclusivity, availability, and – perhaps the most influential, demand.  These are all very important factors to consider when assessing whether a watch is to be a good investment.

Rolex is, of course, one of those brands that is highly in demand (by both watch enthusiasts and non-watch enthusiasts), it has a wonderful heritage, including an impressive list of celebrities and VIPs that wear and have worn Rolex watches, has a high level of recognition and is widely available.  It seems that the right mixture of these ingredients make most Rolex watches increase in value over time.  The same is more or less true of Patek Philippe, although the accessibility of Patek  Philippe watches is more restricted due to their higher price tags compared to Rolex’s.  Exclusivity is the ingredient that weighs more with Patek collectors than some of the other aspects I have mentioned.

Fundamentally, there is no short and clear answer, however with a few simple guidelines we can make an educated guess as to what particular brands are likely to increase in value in the auction room.  However, it is to be noted that my original advice still stands – Buy what you want because you want it, look after it and if it increases in value over the years then great, if it doesn’t, you have derived pleasure from owning it and being its custodian over the years’. 

And if you were to pick a wristwatch Christina?

‘My wristwatch of choice has been, and always will be the Cartier Tank. It’s classic, timeless, elegant and so evocative of those post war years when it was developed.  I find it fascinating that it was one of the first wristwatches to be produced and even 100 years later, it is still so wearable’.