The Pros and Cons of Luxury Watch Auctions

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While the spring 2020 luxury watch auction season is paused by the pandemic, the luxury watch market is still booming. According to the Mercury Project, the top five auctioneers staged 189 sales in 2018. That is up from 66 sales in the pre-pandemic world. And the average price of a luxury watch at auction is around $20,000, a jump of 27%.

While selling luxury timepieces at auctions can be a lucrative endeavor, there are many downsides to consider. First of all, there is no guarantee that your watch will be in high demand. The auctions are usually held annually or bi-annually, and the watches can take months to sell. Also, competition is high, with high-end collectors and watch-collectors vying for the best pieces.

In addition to the price of the timepieces, there are fees charged by the auction house. These fees can range from insurance and photography fees, to shipping and buyer and seller premiums. These fees can make up a significant portion of the selling price. However, there are still some pitfalls to watch auctions, including the fact that some watch brands are sneaky with their bids.

One of the biggest mistakes made when buying watches at auctions is relying on the results of the auctions. These events tend to highlight a few coveted lots, and while the most popular lots at these events will typically fetch the highest prices, they are not representative of the entire collection. In addition, most modern watch auctions depend on the sale of new pre-owned timepieces and unsold retail timepieces.

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