19 August, 2016

The Watch Auction process is not as daunting as you may think, especially if William George is your auctioneer. We are experts at buying and selling Watches of all shapes and sizes at auction with ease and confidence. To walk you through the process, William George has outlined the steps you should know in order to successfully purchase a Swiss watch at one of our many online auctions.

iwcmain.jpgRegister to bid at one of our auctions and you’re all set to bid on a range of luxury watches sold at great prices. But to ensure you're getting exactly what you’ve paid for we’ve put together a few tips and tricks and what to look out for when buying at auction.

1) Condition Reports

Make sure you are aware of second-hand purchases and realise they cannot be classed as brand new. Nevertheless, there is an upside to buying at auction, watches are extremely collectable and routinely increase in value.

2) Keep an Eye on the Trends

The value of classic watches has risen by an average of more than 5% a year over the past decade, according to the Picollecta Rare Watch Index. Some second-hand models from makers such as Patek Philippe, Cartier, Omega, Rolex and Heuer have also more than doubled in value over the past decade. For example, a 1969 Heuer Monaco that cost £2,800 ten years ago was changing hands for £7,600 at the end of last year.

But the biggest price increase has been registered by ‘3646’ – a rare Second World War watch by Panerai Radiomir that was used by Italian and German navy ‘combat swimmers’. It has soared in price from £16,000 to £58,000 in just a decade.

3) Ask Questions

It is always important to consider the quality presented online, don’t be afraid to ask the auctioneer questions about the item. At William George will are always willing to help and contact sellers to put your mind at rest. Take a careful look at the photos and description and always look for the original documents that come with the Watch. This is vital.

4) Know What to Look For

Included below is a Master Grading Chart that will help you identify the condition of the watch you may be interested in. Consider how it is described, analyse the photos and cross-reference this with the grading chart. Naturally and with most second-hand items some wear and tear can be expected, but remember this does not decrease the value of the watch. As previously stated Watches mature with age and brands become timeless.

Master Grading Chart
Grade Origin Quality DNS* Runs Time Comments  Quality
New 100% New, flawless. None Yes Working perfectly, needs no service or regulation. Watch is unworn. 100%
LNIB 100% Flawless None Yes Working perfectly, needs no service or regulation. Watch looks to be unworn. 100%
Mint 100% Almost flawless; may have been expertly restored or repaired. Eye-clean; need loupe to see scratches. No dings/nicks. Yes Working perfectly, needs no service or regulation. Very little use; 98-99%
Near Mint 100% Minor handling blemishes. Eye-clean; need loupe to see any scratches. No dings or nicks. Yes Working perfectly, needs no service or regulation. May not be Mint b/c missing box & papers. 93-97%
Excellent 100%; maybe some OEM replacements. Evident wear to naked eye on head & bracelet. Scratches are light, more numerous than near mint. No dings or nicks. Yes Working perfectly, needs no service or regulation. Looks to have been used very little. 88-92%
Very Good Original case, dial & movement. May have replacement crystal, hands. Any redial is of high quality. Movement may have minor stain but only minor scratches. Dial may need refinishing. Scratches are evident to the eye. No dings or nicks. Yes Keeps good time, but may need minor regulation or routine servicing. Shows normal wear by a careful owner, no abuse. 83-87%
Good Case and movement are original. May not have all original parts. No pieces are missing. No brassing. May have low-quality redial. Original dial may have hairline marks that are difficult to see but don’t need a loupe. No rust or chipping on the dial. Case may show dings, nicks or deep scratches, but dings and nicks not deep or through the plating. Yes May need routine servicing or regulation. Wear evident 77-82%
Fair Dial, case & movement may not be original, No pieces are missing. Dial, case and movement show wear. Dial may have hairline marks and small chips. May see rust in movement. May show light brassing or corrosion. There may be many dings, nicks and scratches, not too deep. Yes, but perhaps not well. May require service or even restoration. Not junk but needs lots of work to be made wearable. Cosmetically rough, shows abuse. Often a working watch. 72-76%
Poor May have missing or many non-original parts. May need replacement of dial, crystal or movement parts. Dial may have serious staining, rust or chips. Crystal may have deep scratches or chips, may be discoloured. May see rust, brassing or plate flaking. There may be deep dings, nicks and scratches. Case is severely worn. NO May require complete restoration or new movement. Shows major damage or wear. Cosmetically very rough. 66-71%
Scrap A collection of parts. Some pieces usually missing. Movement shows some rust or corrosion. Case shows brassing and rust. May have significant dings, nicks & scratches. NO May require complete restoration or new movement. Many would call it junk. < 66%
* Dings, nicks and scratches. Scratches are more common than DN and usually happen much faster. Dings and nicks are signs of banging the watch around a lot or a LOT of wrist time.


Skeleton Luxury Watch