Follow-up results of the Antiquorum auction in HK on June 28th

Hi Everybody,  I just wanted to "close the loop" on jtodd's post on the Antiquorum auction that was held in HK this past Saturday.  (clicke here to sse the original post)


The Platinum 250th Anniversary watch had an estimate of HK$230,000-HK$310,000.  It sold for HK$319,000 (HK$399,000 with BP)

The Malte Tourbillon in steel had an estimate of HK$510,000-HK$777,000.  It sold for HK$444,000 (HK$555,000 with BP)

The Ref. 6694 "Batman" Royal Chronometer had that crazy low estimate of HK$19,000-HK27,000.  It sold for more than double at HK$60,000 (HK$75,000 with BP), which I believe is not an unreasonable price.

The German Navy Deck Chronometer did not sell.


There were other watches that were sold at what I thought to be very reasonable prices as well (such as a Ref. 43031/3 Perpetual Calandar that sold for HK$110,000 with BP).  It seems that if you can find something that suits your fancy, it might be a good time to pick up something nice?

06/30/2014 - 16:51

In USD including BP the plat 250 anniversary watch went for $51,500 and the Malte tourby for $71,600.  As you say Dan, the under-estimated Batman was bought well at $9,700 while in contrast the deck watch reserve was simply too high hence it did not sell.  The latter was probably at the sellers insistence.  FWIW, just by way of example for those not familiar with auction house buyer and seller premiums, Antiquorum skimmed almost $28k off the tourby transaction.  

Personally, I find these premiums make it problematic to establish real market value as they are akin to a tax or transaction fee which typically isn't considered part of an item's worth, however they are so large that they must be taken into account.  While I would have thought that under the current tight market, auction houses would have become more competitive with fees but it seems they are instead trying to spread further into the secondary market to find new customers.  Note that Chrono24 is now affiliated with an auction house and posts upcomming auctions as if they are listings, just remember the 23.8% BP!

I'm interested in hearing from others on the level of acceptance re premiums vs services received.   I've had both good and bad experiences with formal auction houses, most recently had to return a piece because of undisclosed damage.  Thankfully they handled it quickly and without fuss, but more effort spent in the listing would have spared any problems in the first place.  Fleabay/PayPal have also been creeping up their transaction fees but still don't come close to the big auction houses.  In their favor, the classic auction houses have great market recognition and draw out the unusual pieces that otherwise wouldn't be available up here.  I guess I'm just not convinced that the promises of authenticity and condition are as diligently met in return for such high consideration...

To consider
06/30/2014 - 18:27

I too hate the BP and do not see the value at those high percentages. That being said, the auction houses seem lately to have gotten some outstanding VC and the total cost with BP is still less than street cost, if you can find the piece.  I for one would love a malte tourby.  The Christies sale in NYC had the skeleton MR, two skeleton  tourby and others, and the prices to me were very low. 

i think it is so important to see the pieces before bidding, which of course is not always doable.  But I will say this, the skeleton MR sounded fantastic!





Buyer's premium is akin the margin of a vintage/2nd hand dealer so nothing
06/30/2014 - 19:32

really wrong  but I think that what makes us have difficulty with this is the fact that it is visible and so we know what they're making from the sale whereas a vintage dealer can be making 50% margins and we would never know about it!!!!

It gets painful when
06/30/2014 - 23:47

Th bidding hits street value and then you have the BP.  Auctions require discipline, as Mike B has stated in the past.  Certainly our THL bidding expert, since he has landed several coveted vintage pieces!


oh, and let's not forget we got to add VCs PM service and maybe some restoration as well!


in any case these last two auctions in NYC and Hong Cong resulted in covering all these factors!  Congrats to the winners. 





Good points Joe and Alex
07/01/2014 - 00:38

and it is amusing to think of a retail shop that would run like an auction house.  I've yet to visit one that made me sign four pages of terms and conditions prior to purchase wink.  Anyway, it is what it is, as we say on the mountain...

I would agree with what Alex and Joe have said
07/01/2014 - 03:46

I split your question into 2 parts.


1. I believe the BP must be assessed by any potential buyer and factored into the total price before bidding.  Therefore I believe it does reflect real market value and should be used to compare with other dealers/channels when looking for vintage pieces.  I'd obviously prefer NOT to have to pay it, but at times the nicest pieces only come out through the large auctioneers.  That is the tradeoff: availability vs. price.


2. Whether I think the BP is worth it or not, that is somethine else (I love how they get it on both sides, Seller's Premium and Buyer's Premium...but this is not the only place one "gets it, coming and going".)  But as Alex mentioned, other dealer channels do the same thing, just not as clearly stated.


You put it well, "It is what it is"...and we potential sellers and buyers, just need to know the rules of the game before deciding whether we want to play.  Similar to taxes, once you know what the rules can legally try to find ways to minimize them, until the rules change again.  :-)


BR, Dan

Re: I would agree with what Alex and Joe have said
07/01/2014 - 04:07

The Art of a deal is the discussion and the ability to find common ground and common interest. The respect for the item is there from the start.