Why are you working within the auction world?
My mother was an antiques dealer and some of my earliest memories are going to auctions with her. Growing up surrounded by antiques gave me a love of the objects, their history, and the stories they each tell. Forging a career within this fascinating world was a natural step for me to take.
What first attracted you to your speciality?
I am a general valuer with expertise in a wide range of fields, but my specialist interest is watches. I’m fascinated by the mechanical details of watches, the intricacies of the dials and the sheer variety of watches available. This combined with the many precious metals they use and the history behind some pieces makes them a very interesting area to specialise in.
Within your career to date, which watch would you class as your favourite?
My favourite lot to date would have to be a rare unworn Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Explorer II ref. 1655 (pictured below). Bought new by the vendor’s father in the early 80s as an investment, it had been put away in a drawer where it sat unworn for 40 years! So essentially, this was a new watch - shielded from the wear and tear of time since the 1980s. This unworn condition made this lovely watch particularly attractive for buyers and led to a lively bidding exchange, before eventually selling for £25,000.
A rare unworn Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Explorer II. Sold for £25,000
What aspect of your job do you find most satisfying?
The most exciting part of my job is hunting for wonderful objects to sell. Visiting clients and identifying items in their homes that we are able to sell for top prices at auction gives a real satisfaction; especially with items that the client didn’t realise had any value.
If money were no object, which watch would be the one you'd buy?
One of the most desired watches is the Rolex Daytona ‘Paul Newman’, as it was the watch famously worn by the Hollywood legend Paul Newman. These watches were produced in the 1960s and now can sell for upwards of £150,000.
Paul Newman wearing a Rolex Daytona (Image credit: Everett collection)
Which watch should a potential collector/buyer look to purchase?
If you are thinking about purchasing a watch at auction but are not sure which one to buy. My advice would be to look for second hand automatic watches by well-known Swiss names such as Omega, Longines, Rolex, IWC, Tag Heuer and Tudor. Auctions can feature many interesting and fascinating watches and are a great place to buy to ensure you get maximum value on your investment.
What are the best watches to sell via an auction house?
In terms of selling watches at auction, Rolex watches are always very popular and we have a strong track record selling this particular brand of watch. Having said that, all well-known watch brands (Tag Heuer, Omega, etc.) do also achieve strong prices, and military watches in particular are very sought after.
Aubrey Dawson (ASFAV)
Auctioneer/MD/General Valuer/Watch Expert
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