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Chinese auction houses offer luxury timepieces at knockdown prices

by Simon Lazarus
31 July, 2013
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Simon is a published journalist in the UK, US and Europe on a range of topics and currently has a number of clients in different sectors for whom he produces content on a weekly basis. Topics include travel, property, food, lifestyle, finance, hi-tech and business.

Sotheby's watch auction

As the UK attempts to cool off amid one of the hottest years since 2006, things are certainly hotting up in the Far East. It turns out that recent purchasers of Cartier timepieces should stop going to high end watch auctions.

So what’s been causing a stir across the Oriental pond? It seems premium brands as well as vintage watches of this calibre are usually sold at reduced prices across China.

Under the hammer

The usual impression is that of vintage watches going under the gavel for vast amounts of wonga. There are plenty of watches sold at auction which are also current models but the majority of them don’t even make it out of the auction with a proud owner.

This has been revealed according to recent reports from the Economic Observer based in Beijing. In addition to this, a luxury watch specialist for the Far East division at Sotheby’s has claimed that auction houses generally set a pre-ordained cost for a high-end timepiece.

Sotheby’s

As you gasp for some air, it is believed this is normally approximately up to as much as half the market price! This is due to the fact that several auction venues have often found difficulty in finding a buyer.

In spite of a transparent sector which is unlike that of the art world, details regarding watches are readily available through a number of different mediums. This includes several horological stores as well as pawnshops not to mention the online sphere.

The specialists concluded that watches that contained a limited amount of features are normally lower in price when compared with other pieces.

“Watches are like cars: their values depreciate after they are sold, and only vintages or those from limited edition are likely to see higher value,” added Huang Minghui, from China Guardian Auctions.

Watch the value decrease

Meanwhile, another collector declared the large inventory quantities for existing models meant that in terms of growth, the value of luxury watches adds no real overall value.

This has come amid growing concern from the Chinese authorities who are clamping down on extravagant spending. However this has not prevented an increasing number of luxury watches appearing in this sector.

It has been reported that a wealth of officials involved in corruption were sporting shiny new pieces of arm candy. Talk about sweets for your sweet.

Chinese whispers

Watches of this nature intended as presents currently amount for almost 33% of the industry. Individuals who turn to auction houses in order to sell these particular high-end watches often auction them untouched with even the gift wrapping still intact. However, in spite of the untouched condition of the watch, it does not merit a larger price when it goes under the hammer.

Those who like to buy in store may change their habits if the word on the street gets out. For example, one watch addict purchased the exclusive Cartier from its Roadster collection at auction for a bargain price of less than 60,000 Chinese Yuan, around $9,100.

Cartier Roadster

This was much less than the outrageous $40,000 price tag for the same model adorning the front of the jeweller’s shop window. Hopefully you have plenty of time to find your ideal lot.

Simon Lazarus | Website

Simon is a published journalist in the UK, US and Europe on a range of topics and currently has a number of clients in different sectors for whom he produces content on a weekly basis. Topics include travel, property, food, lifestyle, finance, hi-tech and business.

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