Fine watches and clocks are in strong demand according to results from UK auction houses and retailers. There is at present a keen demand not only from private buyers, but also investors and collectors who scour the market to find that gem which will complete their collection.

Omega NASA Watch

Omega NASA Watch

Fashion also plays a major part in setting values. For example military watches are ‘de-rigeur’ (illustrated are two rare IWC military wristwatches which sold for £1,550 and £1,700 at auction recently). Watches from the Art Deco period of the 1920’s and 1930’s are set to become even more of a fashion accessory with the forthcoming ‘Great Gatsby’ film revolving around the new rich of the roaring twenties, (illustrated – a 1920’s platinum and diamond set cocktail party watch recently sold for £420 at auction).

Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum are a sign of quality when appraising watches, however it is not just a case of the weight in determining the value in certain circumstances. For example a 9ct Art Deco gold Rolex watch from the thirties (illustrated and sold for £800 at auction) only contains a nominal amount of gold but the magic name of Rolex sets the price soaring past mere gold value. During the 1960’s Omega produced its world famous NASA watches, (flight certified by NASA) made of stainless steel, (the example illustrated sold for £1,050 at auction despite no box/papers).

Like designer clothes are to ‘fashionistas’ and prestige cars to automotive enthusiasts, the maker’s name is of the utmost importance. A renowned name with pedigree means prestige, quality, exclusivity and above all value and ability to retain and sometimes increase in value over time. Key watch makers in strong demand are Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Dunhill, Patek Philippe, Jaeger Le Coultre, International Watch Co, Chopard and Blancpain to name just a few. It is worth noting that many early Rolexes were not marked on the dial but on the movement hidden inside, (such as this c.1920’s ladies gold half hunter Rolex watch head which sold for £240 at auction).

New watches by quality makers are set to be future classics and sound investments, but vintage watches have particular charm and individual character. Examples from the 1930’s to the 1950’s are often elegant in design and the movements still up to the job of being used on a daily basis today. These can often be sourced at auction or specialist retailers alike bring pleasure to the wearer and likely to prove a sound investment to pass onto future generations to come.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers Ltd, Lichfield.
Tel 01543 251081