Watch Auctions Hit by Severe Downturn in 2023

Watch Auctions Hit by Severe Downturn in 2023
Pic shows a Patek Philippe yellow gold First Series perpetual calendar chronograph, sold by Phillips for CHF 2.1m ($2.4m).

Watch auctions suffered a “severe downturn” last year, down 13 per cent on a record 2022, as collectors and speculators curbed their spending.

Total sales for the major auction houses, Antiquorum, Bonhams, Christie’s, Phillips (in association with Bacs & Russo) Polyauction and Sotheby’s were CHF 610m ($691m), according to Switzerland-based Hammertrack, which monitors the watch auction market.

“The 2023 results clearly confirm the slowdown in this important segment of the second-hand watch market industry, a slowdown which had already started in the last quarter of 2022,” it says.

Auction houses have struggled with a shrinking supply and buyers seem to have switched to other more attractive auction markets, such as jewelry.

However the “millionaire lots” – those over CHF 1m ($1.13m) – proved resilient. Despite a decline in the number, down from 98 to 58, the total realized increased slightly to CHF 122.6m ($138.9m).

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