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Pandemic and the Watch Market

It is a safe bet that some version of the thought "where is this all heading?" enters everyone's mind at least once or twice a day as we muddle through this pandemic.  Perhaps it is indulgent to ask this question of the luxury watch market.  But an important part of getting through this moment is holding onto the things you care about.  Based upon my Instagram feed the #watchfam's passion has no doubt persisted.  I know I've been keen to gather some evidence about the path forward when it comes to the watch industry.

So on Saturday, March 20, I tuned in online, late, to the Antiquorum auction in Geneva of 270+ lots in order to get some sense of where we stand.  I live streamed the auction on YouTube and you can find it here.  A screenshot of the Antiquorum live stream As in so many things right now there was both good news and bad news.  I will lead with the good news since often that is easy to overlook.  The preowned market is still functioning, particularly i…

Chapter 3: Brands in the Preowned Market

An evolving trend in luxury watches involves brands taking an active role in the preowned market.  I first wrote about this topic last year when Audemars Piguet received attention for its plan to buy back its preowned watches and resell them, perhaps as an upgrade to a new watch purchase.  I shared reasons to believe that this might not be viable in the long-run.

Chapter 2 of this story unfolded in Melbourne, Australia late last year.  Vacheron Constantin recently opened a boutique in Melbourne.  Soon after that opening, timepieces from the brand's "Les Collectionneurs" effort were available for purchase
"Les collectionneurs d'estampes" by HonorĂ© Daumier Vacheron is actively buying preowned timepieces, refurbishing them, and selling them back to the community.  Regrettably there is some opacity when it comes to the sourcing and pricing of these pieces.

This week WatchPro provides us with chapter 3 of the story.  Independent brand Meccaniche Veloci (MV) i…

Lessons from the Artcurial "Important Watches" Auction

There are many contradictions in the month of January.  There are reasons for optimism.  In the northern hemisphere we've passed the winter equinox and our hours of daylight are lengthening.  The world is literally getting brighter.  Many major holidays have passed and the warm glow of that time has a halo effect.  And yet, there is also the knowledge that tax season is ahead and a bill with uncertain properties may come due.  The additional holiday spending can possibly weigh on the budget, out of precaution perhaps spending is slightly subdued.

The month's positive zeitgeist might suggest that it is a good time to hold an auction, particularly in the more mild climate of Monaco.  Monaco Indeed, the Artcurial auction house did just that on January 14, 2020 with their "Important Watches" auction.  But the results suggest that the more negative aspects of the month perhaps dominated.  I'll explain.

Online I was able to watch approximately 105 lots go under the ham…

Watchspotting Carlos Ghosan: Then and Now

Even if you swore off the news over the holidays, trading in your smartphone for a burner flip phone and cutting off your internet service at the telephone pole, you probably heard about Carlos Ghosn going on the lam.  Ghosn had previously served as the CEO of Renault and Nissan, simultaneously, and he was a giant in the automotive industry.  But he'd recently fallen from grace.  Ghosn was out on a $4.5 million bail having been jailed by Japanese authorities for almost four months as a result of alleged financial crimes.  After his bail was set Gosn was placed under house arrest. But on December 29, 2019, he walked out of his house, took a high speed train, boarded a private airplane, and ended up in Lebanon where he hopes to evade extradition. 

The press is covering this escape in excruciating detail, including a running debate over whether Ghosn hid in an oversized case for musical equipment in order to evade customs and security checkpoints.  Media have also noted that there i…