Asia Tatler - 15. November 2011
Last month, DKSH Holdings held its first Swiss watch auction in Hong Kong with a promising total of HK$23.4 million worth of luxury timepieces sold at the auction. With the growing number of luxury watch boutiques populating the streets of Hong Kong, it is without a doubt that the watch market has grown exponentially, and that now there are more not only willing to purchase luxury timepieces but more than ever before, there is a growing market for watch investment. We talk to Gonpo Tsering, head operations support and member of group management of DKSH in hope to learn more about the value of watches and the booming watch market.
According to Tsering, the Swiss Auctions, an activity of DKSH's business segment in luxury and lifestyle, was held in Hong Kong for the first time because the company saw the need for a platform to bridge the gap between owners of rare and important timepieces and collectors hunting for rare collectible timepieces.
“DKSH identified this niche market and is catering to this demand with a very high-end auction for watches. Hong Kong – this thriving and throbbing city - was our immediate first choice for obvious reasons. Hong Kong is becoming highly attractive to watch collectors from all over the world – and the fact that there are no sales or luxury tax here is of course very conducive to promote this trend.”
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For those who want to start their own watch collection or begin investing in watches, it is crucial to give a timepiece its rightful value. Tsering recommends a few ways to determine a watch's value:
1) Take note of the brand of the watch
2) Take into account the condition of the timepiece
3) Find out when it was manufactured
Second, potential buyers should also refer to a watch price guide and appraisal information to find out where the value ranges for the watch. Last, but not least, work with a professional watch appraisers who can value the watch and provide an appraisal certificate.
“I would suggest that new watch collectors learn more about the watch market and the techniques on how watches are being appreciated and valued. The internet is a good first starting point to gather knowledge about watches. Besides, they should also attend auctions so that they can get firsthand information about the value of the watch and the trend of the market. My personal advice: focus on either a brand, on a certain period, or on a special category of timepieces. My personal favourite is pocket watches, which are not so popular currently and therefore very affordable,” he advised.
Apart from looking at the new watches released by major brands and manufactures, watch investors are advised to go to watch auctions to source possible investment pieces. Watch auctions does not only give collectors the choice of the best collectables at a single location, but it gives the guarantee that the watches are authentic and are in good condition while it also reduces the amount of extensive research.
Tsering shares his belief that there is a clear sign that the watch market will definitely continue to blossom with an Asian force.
“The potential growth of the market for timepieces and watch collection is indisputable. Asia's remarkable growth and the rapidly emerging middle class will lead to a significant increase in demand for luxury and lifestyle goods, driving further growth in the luxury market.”
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With such new force in the watch industry, Tsering said there is also one more thing that investors should bear in mind: Asian consumers trends have now changed. In the past, Asian consumers usually follow global trends. Now, a new wealthy class with more international exposure is coming up from developing Asian countries, they tend to know more about the market and are interestingly becoming fonder of simpler and more conservative designs. So, when investors are selecting potential investment pieces, they should also be aware of which sector of the industry they are targeting.
For example, among the top lots sold at the auction was a Historie de Tourbillion, a Zalium manual-winding tourbillion from Harry Winston. This 18k white gold timepiece was manufactured in 2009 and was sold for an impressive HK$2.55 million.