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Alexandre Bigler, the associate vice president, and consultant of Christie’s watch department at Christie’s Asia

Why is there an interest in the auction market for high-end watches from fashion houses at the moment?

“In the current market, established brands such as Patek Philippe, Rolex and Audemars Piguet appear to dominate the horology scene. There are also several high-end luxury fashion brands that are making significant steps into the complex world of horology. A handful of top-level luxury and jewellery brands, including Cartier, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, have equally reinforced their commitment to horology. While other legendary jewellers, like Harry Winston, have done ever more and associated themselves with a group of young and highly talented watchmakers to produce limited series of one-of-a-kind timepieces each year.” 

COMP WATCHES
Judging by the interest in high-end timepieces from fashion maisons, investing in Hermes, Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton might be a sound choice.

What criteria are taken into consideration when valuing a watch from a fashion brand? 

“It is the same approach as valuing any watches. The first key element is rarity. Everyone wants a timepiece that is one-of-a-kind. Then, there is the condition. Who would want to purchase a damaged watch? Thirdly, the watch’s provenance, which refers to a watch that was previously owned by or even created for a significant historic figure. When a rare timepiece has been kept in excellent condition, boasts an impeccable historical provenance and is, as we say, ‘fresh to the market’, then you have it all.”

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Does that mean it’s a wise investment to own a high-end watch from a fashion house?

“At Christie’s, we treat watches as we do with works of art and advise our clients to buy what they love, not purely for investment purpose. Often, collectors who are already familiar with and knowledgeable about jewellery or luxury bags, will tend to go for high-end watches produced by fashion houses.”

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What are three watch models which you foresee to fetch interest and high bids for the Hong Kong Autumn Auctions for watches on November 30?  

“There are plenty of amazing pieces coming up for sale this autumn, however, if I should pick up only three lots I would choose amongst the watches that, in my experience, ladies tend to prefer: elegant bejewelled models. I think that, under that respect, the white gold, diamond, emerald and onyx-set Feline de Cartier wristwatch can be considered one of the most appealing. The iconic design of this wristwatch matches with its wearability and makes it a perfect model all-day-round. Another beautiful example is Blancpain’s white gold and diamond-set automatic Léman Tourbillon Grande Date Diamants, perfect for every occasion and beautifully manufactured. And, last but not least, a vintage ‘gem’: a gold, diamond, coral and onyx-set openface pendant watch created by Vacheron Constantin in the 1980s which can be worn as real jewel.”

Like this? Stylish Singapore lawyer Tan Min-Li shares her all-time favourite watch.