How Does a Watch Auction Work?

If you’re here, you likely share our fascination with timepieces and passion for buying and selling pre-owned watches. Technology gave us the tools to create a platform to safely and securely buy and sell luxury items; all in the digital space. But before the days of the internet, a watch auction at auction houses were close to the only place to go to buy and sell luxury items.

About Auction Houses

Auction houses are certainly still a prominent force in the industry. They have a distinct history, prestige, and reputation that continues to attract numerous buyers and sellers from around the globe. As we set our sights on the catalog for Christies upcoming Rare Watches auction next week, we got to thinking about exactly what it’s like to be on the floor bidding at such an event.

When you see an auction catalog, like the one for the Christies’ Rare Watches auction, each of the timepieces featured has been evaluated, appraised, and contracted to sell. Some of the most desirable lots get heavy promotion in the time leading up to the auction. This includes celebrity-owned pieces, rare models, or limited editions. Auction houses typically dedicate a lot of media to advertising their sales. This could be anything from promoting special lots in the press to directly reaching out to top clients and collectors. Auction houses also play a key role in researching and crafting informative and irresistible product descriptions for each lot.

watch auction

Watches sold at auction by Christie’s. Photo Credit: Christie’s Auction House

The Watch Auction Experience

An auction is all about the presentation, from the creation of the catalog to the event itself. Auctions are often glamorous, semi-formal affairs with both members of the media and VIP guests present. The auctioneers running the show are undoubtedly skilled storytellers. For both the buyer and the seller, the auction process is emotional. It’s the job of the auctioneer to paint a picture of the emotional bond between a potential buyer and the item up for sale.

Ultimately, auction houses are not just out to buy and sell—their mission is to carefully curate an experience for their patrons and build excitement and anticipation around the items up for sale. There are certainly a lot of strategic elements for buyers and sellers to consider before buying or selling at auction. You should do your research and due diligence before buying or selling at auction, as there can be steep fees and commissions on both the buyer’s and seller’s end. All those important factors aside, the most exciting aspect of an auction is the possibility of buying something you like, and auctions should be a fun and rewarding experience.

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

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