The clock is, for all fans, much more than a simple object. But there are specimens that look like the real works of art. And under certain conditions, they can also become a good investment. AdvisorPrivate met Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, one of the most prestigious auction houses worldwide, to discover the secrets of collectors and dealers of rare watches.
It is right to consider the collectible watches as a financial investment potential? Why and under what conditions?
The answer could be yes and no at the same time. On the one hand, I myself hope that the collectible watches are not reduced to the role of pure financial investments but instead are perceived as emotional and intellectual investments. There is no denying, moreover, that many collectors have achieved outstanding performance with their collections, but often this occurred in the case of professionals motivated by curiosity and passion authentic, rather than driven by the Headline Goal of achieving an economic return. We must also distinguish the clocks that we define rare – and are worthy of being part of a museum – from all others. Given the above, only very rare watches and high quality can be protagonists of an increase in major and sustainable long-term value.
What are the main development trends of this market in the last 5-7 years?
The criteria and the dynamics of the market are the same as 15 or 20 years ago but every tendency is amplified and accelerated by technical advances, especially digital. The zero rate paid by commercial banks on deposits makes palpable the feeling that money has lost value, and emphasizes, by contrast, the value of collectible watches. In recent years, we have been witnesses of all-time records, not only in the case of Patek Philippe but also in other sectors and replica watch brands, such as Omega, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.
Considering the prices reached by some specimens, there is the danger that are inflated by a speculative bubble?
This is a very interesting question, and personally me I place at least once a day. Often I compare myself with other team specialists, collectors, dealers and journalists: in short, with all the players who observe the market closely. They are relatively calm about it: we have done studies to compare the performance achieved since 2000 in various fields: art, collectors’ cars and precious wines; despite the value of the peaks reached in recent years, the market for collectible watches ranks only fourth. For many years, I felt frustration at seeing some Ferrari to be sold at stratospheric prices, for tens of millions of dollars, while the clocks touched more records “modest” one, two or three million dollars. Today I am glad that they have not done, because this shows that the sector has a sustainable dynamic – gala dinners, tapis rouge and make less crowded press for us – eats less speculators and land decidedly beaten by enthusiasts who know the industry well: so I think we are less exposed to the risk of a sharp correction in the event of any turmoil. If I were asked today if the price of vintage replica watches uk is the highest, I say no. Simply because after 30 years of experience I have seen very few examples of rare Patek Philippe Replica or Rolex Daytona Replica; it is clear that he will not find out about fifty suddenly, tomorrow. The rarity is the future: vintage watches can never be inflated. On the contrary, rare specimens disappear into private collections to be kept and not resold. The next generation of collectors will struggle to find the vintage watch market top of the line. It is worth mentioning that the collector community has doubled in the last 10 years, which most likely equates to the turnover of the entire Swiss watch. It is no coincidence that the fans are turning more to vintage: quell’esclusività ensures that, unfortunately – as far as you can appreciate – the contemporary watchmaking can not give. If it is true that today the producers of watches produced as a function of market demand, should also make volumes to defend jobs, for watches vintage is the opposite reasoning: they are like dinosaurs. Face extinction.
There are “mod” that can feed valuations are too high and dangerous volatility for investors?
The stability of our market is the absence of speculators. Our mission is also to discourage them from investing in our industry, so as to keep him healthy, stable, the path of sustainable growth. That said, all markets – and the phenomenon of collecting itself – are subject to various trends. Our parents we collected the Baroque, our generation mobile post-war; in my childhood They collected cars of the 30s – Today the sports of the 60s or 70s. The same dynamic is found in the vintage watch business; It may be a cultural thing: twenty years ago, you could not imagine to show up in the office without wearing a suit and a gold watch, a great workmanship. Today appearances, and social codes are changed, it will fashion wear the shirt a bit ‘open, with the recent tan in sight and the wrist a beautiful diving watch. The great fortune of our industry is that it is not reflected only in certain countries: we have thousands of collectors in Japan, California or Kuwait, in Thailand as in London: as a result, there is no single trend, but several trends. If the dive copy watch uk is popular today, this does not exclude that specimens of gold made by renowned artisans there may continue to attract our customers. Volatility remains an item that any collector must accept: this industry thrives on passion and as such can be ephemeral, sometimes! Some brands, such as Patek Philippe Replica and Rolex Replica, lead the market in terms of both unit sales and prices achieved.
Should continue to focus on these brands or should I move on other names, whose prices have not yet reached high prices?
In each sector there are giants, “blue chips” that dominate the market. I do not think that the criteria for a collector eager to protect its assets must be related to the weight of a brand on the market. To sell a watch, it is preferable that this comes from a large company, known throughout the world. I think every collector should buy first what he likes. Personally, I can say that my taste can vary widely: I appreciate both the copy watch from a few hundred francs, bought at the flea market, the most sophisticated clock, produced by a large fashion house. Each of us should not focus solely on economic criteria, focusing on large pieces or ones that could further increase in value, but rather let go to the heart. We must look for the best balance between quality and yield potential, without ever sacrificing quality. In the process of acquiring a watch must listen to the heart as the head. In this, there is a big difference compared to the stock market: the investor will buy a share using only the head, the collector will have to use necessarily the heart.