Why You Should Buy a Watch at Auction

Geoff Hess, a consultant for Phillips auction house and a vintage watch expert, breaks down why placing a bid may be the best path to your dream watch.

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Gear Patrol

There’s no doubt about it — the vintage watch market is thriving, and the auction world is a big part of its viability as a booming business. Recently, we were joined by esteemed Rolex collector Geoff Hess, who in his capacity as a consultant to the Watch Department at Phillips auction house is privy to the inside workings of this world. (We previously spoke with him about which watches to look out for at various price points.) He’s seen it all — multi-million dollars bids, incredibly rare, unique pieces, the rise and fall of different brands’ popularity at auction, and everything in between.

Geoff’s unique insight made for a great conversation about the watch auction scene that ran deeper than record pricing or famous timepieces — he gets into the economics of buying at auction, why purchasing at auction can give you peace of mind that can’t necessarily be gleaned by purchasing from a dealer, and why relationship-building is key to acquiring the pieces you want. And though Geoff is a consultant with Phillips, his advice can be applied to a bid placed at any major auction house.

Without further ado, here’s our conversation with Geoff Hess, one of the most knowledgable vintage watch experts around.

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