Why Are There More Million-Dollar Watches At Auction Than Ever?


👨‍⚖️ Davidoff went into the weekend with roughly 40 targets. He got blown out on several, including a few Audemars Piguet skeletonized perpetual calendars. “My mom always tells me, ‘If somebody is willing to pay much more than you at an auction, it means that you still have good taste,’ ” he said. 

He had better luck at Antiquorum. Let’s set the scene. 

Towards the end of the first session, a Patek Amagnetic (literally a watch that isn’t affected by magnetism) came up for auction. The auctioneer started the bidding at 55,000 francs… crickets. Davidoff pounced in the absence of any action. He asked if he could take it at 55,000 francs—typically a bid needs to be a step above what the house initially sets the floor at—unwittingly grinding the entire auction to a halt. 

The auctioneer stopped, turned around, and grabbed his phone. After plugging in the figures to calculate how much profit the house would rake in if it accepted the bid, he countered: “I’m sorry, I can only do 58.” Davidoff, who was partnering on the bid with Menta Watches’ Adam Golden, then took his iPhone out to use the calculator and decided he couldn’t. The auctioneer then offered it at 57, and a deal was made. 

“That is the first time in my entire career I have ever seen anybody negotiate down a bid,” Golden told him.

The watch reportedly purchased by Rolex with just a series of finger lifts and nods.

🥼 One of the most surprising million-dollar results was a Rolex Milgauss, the recently discontinued antimagnetic watch originally made for scientists. Even more surprising than the price was the buyer: Rolex itself. 

“How did everyone know the bidder was from Rolex?” I asked Davidoff.

“Because I’ve seen her in past auctions,” Davidoff said. “She looks a little bit like a librarian. She never says anything, she never raises a paddle, she just lifts her finger or nods.” 

Copyright : https://www.gq.com/story/geneva-watch-auction-recap-2023

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