I suppose it is difficult for most to understand, what would compel a man — or woman for that matter (let’s not assume) — to spend 5 million on a watch from half a century ago. Even if it was formerly the property of some sort of royalty.
The answer to that question is often explained to the watch guys with one word: Provenance. Although, I’ve often struggled with understanding that word in itself.
When the watch was sold, The Hour Glass’s Michael Tay posted a shot of it on his wrist on Instagram and a follower of his asked him this question: “Why was it so special?”
A blunt question, but an honest one, which I imagine a lot of us have on our minds but dare not ask. Mr. Tay answered saying, “It’s got pretty much all the ingredients of a trophy asset and at the end, two very committed collectors who needed to have it hence the price. The rest of the bidders were just the supporting cast.”
I kinda want to buy Mr. Tay a cup of coffee some day and ask him what is that list of ingredients that go into making a trophy asset. But yes, the romanticism held by an objet de curiosité can compel a person to spend 5 million on a half-a-century old watch, when fueled by passionate commitment to obtain what he/she desires. Remember that people have gone to war over the cost of passion. What’s 5 million for an emperor’s watch?
There is, of course, another side to the story. One which speaks of the successes of Aurel Bacs and his team, who seem to be breaking record after auction record. With such objects of desire in question, Bacs and his team are quite clearly doing the work ahead of time to make sure that the people with the right passionate motivations are aware of what’s being put up at their coming auctions.
Don’t take my word for it. Don’t even take Phillips Watches’ record breakers as evidence of their success. Just look at the total sales figure from their Spring 2017 Geneva auction versus the numbers of the other major auction houses that weekend and may be you’ll come to understand the amount of ground work these guys must be putting in. This isn’t a revelation of my own, rather the single, most intelligent thought to have been summarized at the conclusion of Geneva auction weekend — out of all the chatter and noise — by who else, but Mr. Tay. Again, on his Instagram account. You can read that post here or at the end of this article. Just be careful to pick your jaw off the ground before you move off.
For now, back to Fallon’s Trump jokes and on to Hong Kong auction week 2017.