The best collection privately owned is the Patek Philippe collection in Geneva

Date: 17 Feb 2016

Bumblebee Design

Jonathan Darracott, global head of watches at Bonhams, talks about one of the largest private collection of timepieces belonging to a European with an estimated value of hundreds of thousands of pounds.


Who has the most impressive watch collection in the world?

Arguably the best collection privately owned is the Patek Philippe collection in Geneva which they have on view in their private museum. One of the largest private single-owner watch collections has recently been consigned by Bonhams. This 2,000-strong collection of a European nobleman contains a medley of watches, consisting entirely of the things he adored, with brands including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and IWC.


How do you make a good watch investment?

Making an investment in watches can be fruitful, but as with any investment, it is affected by so many factors it is difficult to pin down. If I had bought my wish list of watches when I was first starting I would have made a substantial profit, but out of the ten watches only on three. However, none of them have lost value and I would have had the pleasure of owning them and using them in the meantime.


Can people make a living out of watch investment?

There are people who make a very good living from trading watches, some exceptionally so. It is possible, but you have to know exactly what you are buying and have a network to be able to sell.


Tell us about unusual watches

Watches are an extension and an expression of a person’s character, with the selection of unusual watches of offer. From classic Patek Philippe’s, to overtly masculine mechanically visual watches by Richard Mille, there is something for every taste, bold or minimalist, in the world of horology.


What should UHNW clients watch out for when investing in watches?

Before entering the watch world, it is necessary educate yourself. There is a lot of information available, but a realistic reference for values are auction catalogues. Be aware that very small differences in the same model can make huge differences to value, as well as condition.