Watches – a timeless and safe investment

Bukowski's watch specialist Carl Palmegren recommends

On April 21, the Nordic region's reigning watch auction will take place, Important Timepieces. The auction includes desirable collectors' items and unique vintage items, all of which are hand-picked and carefully selected by Bukowski's watch specialists. Prior to this spring's major auction, we talked to Bukowski's head specialist Carl Palmegren about what to think about a more expensive watch purchase and how to make a good investment.

How do you keep the value of your watch?

Watches in Sweden have been preserved very well, thanks in large part to our climate. We have a large treasure of watches here in Sweden. The most important thing is to invest in quality, which pays off. A quality watch is an investment that can always be resold.

What would I need to consider when buying a watch at an auction?

A watch is for meant to be used, but you should try not to scratch it too much and avoid impact damage. In the event of a service, you should avoid replacing too many components of the watch. Original parts are always good for keeping the value of the watch and if parts need to be replaced then ask to get the original parts back separately. Also, an important factor to consider is that a repair can have a great effect on the value. The function of the watch has a surprisingly small significance for the value of a vintage watch. Original parts and a case in fine condition are always more valuable than a flawless watch.

When servicing an older watch, it is important to remember that the outer shell (case, dial, hand) should be left as untouched as possible. For example, avoid changing dials, polishing the watch and changing hands. In the fall of 2017, Bukowskis sold an Omega Speedmaster with original parts from 1958 for SEK 2.2 million, six months later we sold another Speedmaster from the same year but which had been in service. The watch was flawless but the dial, hand and glass ring were exchanged, the watch was sold for SEK 100,000.

Read Bukowski's condition reports, where we specialists describes the condition of the watch in the watch, movement, dial and hands.

How do you make sure it is authentic?

We go through all the parts of each watch before it goes on sale. Furthermore, we check that serial numbers and reference numbers are timely and correct for each model. In some cases, we consult the museum or manufacturer's archive department to ensure that all parts of the watch are accurate to that particular model.

Why do prices differ so much within a brand?

It is mainly trends that control and then some models are more in demand than others, which can for example depend on whether a famous person has had a special watch. Then also factors such as provenance, how technically complicated the watch is and whether the movement is advanced.

What are the top watch brands to collect?

In recent years we have seen a large and increased demand for watches by Rolex and Patek Philippe.

Has it been a good investment to invest in watches?

Collector watches have been a really good investment and in recent years these watches have increased very much in value. If you have bought a watch at auction in recent years, it has probably increased in value, as it is always good to buy at auction.

What price range do Bukowskis sell watches within and what is the highest record price achieved?

We sell watches from SEK 3000 to over SEK 1 million. Our record is an Omega Speedmaster, the first generation for SEK 2.2 million, which also became a world record. You can read more about the world record here>

In November, the autumn edition of the Important Timepieces auction was held. How did it go?

Fantastically good. This autumn's Important Timepieces got the best result ever for watch auctions in the Nordic countries. There was a new auction record that, in total, sold for almost SEK 10 million, with an average price continuing to increase and steadily approaching the SEK 100,000 level. Read more about the result here>

When is the viewing and auction for Important Timepieces?
Viewing: 7–11 May at Berzelii Park i Stockholm, Sweden
Auction: 14 May at Arsenalsgatan 2 i Stockholm, Sweden

Two wanted watch models: a rare Audemars Piquet chronograph, "Concours International Le Brassus" which was sold for SEK 1,132,800 last year. And a Patek Philippe Calatrava with the sought after reference number 2509, which was sold for SEK 955,500 in the fall of 2019.

Welcome to contact our specialists for advice and valuation before sale:

Carl  Palmegren
Carl Palmegren
Head Specialist Watches
+46 (0)739 40 08 23
Johanna Graflund
Johanna Graflund
Appraiser, assisting specialist watches
+46(0)704 55 71 04