Luxury Watch Industry Sees Sales Surge Amidst the Covid-19

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When people are experiencing unemployment, death and other precarious issues across the world amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the luxury watch industry is discerning a dramatic increase in watch sales. It is pretty unexpected to see someone paying nearly £2.8 million for a second hand watch.

luxury watch industry

Watchmakers, retailers or sellers are embracing the increasingly popular online mediums to feature their products. And it should not come as a surprise that auction houses have turned out to be the virtual destinations for those who are looking to buy luxury watches. So thanks to online condition checking tools, online bidding, Zoom previews and many others.

According to Sotheby’s, one of the world’s biggest brokers of decorative and fine art, jewellery and collectables, there has been a 30% increase in new buyers and bidders across every sale category in 2020 so far. Interestingly, 30% of all bidders now belong to under the age of 40.

Auction Reports

It is said that the online auction of Sotheby’s has surpassed £285 million in 2020 to date. However, the exciting fact is that it is three times the online sales result of the company in 2019. Sotheby’s conducted live auctions in June and July, fetching nearly £1 billion.

You will be interested to know that the “wristwatches” category experienced the highest number of new consumers (about 42%). In July, a Rolex watch sold for a record price over £1.17 million at Sotheby’s auction house. And it was a Daytona John Player Special Edition watch (Reference 6264).

On the other hand, a rare Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Reference 5033 fetched nearly £1.52 million at Christie’s auction. Moreover, Phillips’ watch department sold a Patek Philippe Reference 1518 in June, collaborating with Bacs & Russo. This watch is unique as it belongs to the collection of Jean-Claude Biver, the watch industry titan.

The Patek Reference 1518 sold for a staggering £2.8 million. However, a live auction that was held in Geneva, Switzerland at that sale sold seven timepieces for over £0.78 million. It included another Rolex Daytona John Player Special that individually commanded nearly £0.86 million.

For those who don’t know, the “John Player Special” is a rare Rolex Daytona that comes in yellow gold and features a black dial. This Rolex watch was designed to celebrate John Player & Sons the tobacco brand’s sponsorship of the F1 Lotus racing team.

However, a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Reference 6300A-010 made a record, by selling for nearly £24 million at auction.

Mikael Wallhagen, Sotheby’s Geneva head of watches states –

“In general, prices all over are strong – but watches in particular. We have reached a lot of new clients with our smaller online sales and made our sales more accessible. And to be honest, bidding in auctions can be an addiction.”

He further added –

“Under the global lockdown situation, people have had more time to explore new fields of interest and spend more time behind the screen to bid in auctions.”

One of the Biggest Watch Sale On the Way

Aurel Bacs is the administrator of the watch department at Phillips. According to him, people got more time to search and refine their existing collections during the pandemic. However, Phillips will conduct a sale on November 7 and 8 in Geneva. It will feature some of the masterpieces that are made in the last 20years.

With the sale, the leading auction house intents to pay tribute to today’s independent watch manufacturers. They have transfigured the standards of the horology industry over the last two decades.

The watches’ head in Europe of Phillips, Alex Ghotbi stated –

“The watchmaking industry changed more in the last 20years than in the previous 200years”.

However, the sale is alleged to feature rare watches from Richard Mille, Laurent Ferrier and others. Boost your excitement as it will also have contemporary models from industry legends like Patek Philippe and Rolex.

Keeping in mind the live watch auction by Phillips in June in Geneva, the upcoming sale is expected to be a glorious success. This live auction fetched more than £24.75 million. Paul Boutros is the head of the watch department of Phillips for Americas. He said –

“It was the highest watch auction total in history and the first-ever white-glove auction for a various-owner, non-thematic auction. Over 2,000 people registered online to bid, with even more watching the sale live.”