UN­DER THE HAM­MER

24-7 (Singapore) - - Contents - By Denyse Yeo

a timepiece at auc­tion

Ex­pert tips on the right way to buy

CHARLES TEARLE, HEAD OF WATCHES AT AUC­TION HOUSE SOTHEBY’S ASIA, GIVES HIS BEST TIPS ON THE RIGHT WAY TO BUY A WATCH AT AUC­TION.

1. TRY IT ON. “Watch com­pa­nies spend mil­lions on ad­ver­tis­ing and it’s easy to fall in love with that ‘per­fect’ watch from pic­tures alone, only to try it on and re­alise it just doesn’t suit you. Sim­i­larly, feel how heavy the watch is, and if it will be com­fort­able to wear. A friend of mine waited years for what she imag­ined to be her dream watch. But when some­thing suit­able fi­nally came along at the right price, it was just too heavy for her.”

2. DO YOUR RE­SEARCH. “Be­fore bid­ding, ask your­self, or any­one who can give you the right an­swer, some ques­tions: What is the re­tail price? How of­ten does the model ap­pear at auc­tion and what did the last one at auc­tion sell for? Also, take de­mand into con­sid­er­a­tion. For a highly pop­u­lar model, the re­tail price can be ir­rel­e­vant as de­mand is so high. Ask or re­search how of­ten the model ap­pears for sale. If you re­ally love it and one rarely ap­pears for sale, then it is bet­ter to in­dulge your­self now rather than al­ways re­gret it. The next time you find one, it could well be much more ex­pen­sive.”

3. CON­SIDER ITS CON­DI­TION. “You shouldn’t be overly con­cerned about mi­nor scratches if you are go­ing to wear the watch, be­cause they will of­ten ap­pear quickly any­way when it is on your wrist. How­ever, you should check if a gold watch has pre­vi­ously been worn with a di­a­mond bracelet, be­cause the sap­phire crys­tal can be scratched and is ex­pen­sive to re­place; also, when gold is worn next to di­a­monds, it could end up with se­vere dents that can’t be re­moved. Make sure the watch is run­ning, the hands are set cor­rectly and the date, if it has one, ad­vances at midnight. Ask to see a con­di­tion re­port. A lot of watches of­fered for auc­tion have never been worn. Af­ter view­ing a few, you will soon be able to tell the dif­fer­ence by look­ing at the case.”

4. DI­A­MONDS ARE FOR­EVER. “This is for the women. Ev­ery lady’s col­lec­tion should have a di­a­mond-set watch for cock­tail par­ties. When buy­ing di­a­mond-set ex­am­ples, it is vi­tal to only buy a watch that has had stones set by the fac­tory. Af­ter-mar­ket-set di­a­mond watches are pop­u­lar as they are cheap, but the cost is greater than the money spent. Not only is the qual­ity poor, but the al­tered watch is con­sid­ered fake by the fac­tory that made it. Di­a­mond watches of­fered at rep­utable auc­tions are safer to buy be­cause af­ter-mar­ket ex­am­ples are not per­mit­ted to be sold.”

5. BE BOLD. “Try dif­fer­ent styles on to find out what suits you and never feel em­bar­rassed to ask other peo­ple’s opin­ions. Just don’t be sold some­thing you re­ally don’t love by a smoothtalk­ing sales­man. Go away and think about it. If you come back and still like it, then you know you have a win­ner. Auc­tions are ideal for this be­cause no one will pres­sure you to buy and the spe­cial­ists see so many va­ri­eties they can of­ten ad­vise what would po­ten­tially look good on you.”

6. BE ORIG­I­NAL. “Be­fore you run out to buy a watch that ev­ery­one’s fawn­ing over, con­sider this: Are they are too fash­ion­able to still be orig­i­nal?”

7. GO VIN­TAGE. “A 1970s Rolex sports watch can be a cool and stylish op­tion for young women. For a more fem­i­nine style, look at 1960s/1970s Pi­aget bracelet watches that can be beau­ti­ful and great value for money.”

8. USE YOUR IMAG­I­NA­TION. “Don’t be too put off by the strap at first glance. By chang­ing the watch­strap, you can quickly change the en­tire look. Pan­erai are masters at this. You can eas­ily change colours to match your out­fit or sea­son – try us­ing bright colours for sum­mer.”

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