The first timekeeping devices were devised by ancient civilisations that first observed the movement of astronomical bodies. From this, devices such as sundials were created, following the apparent movement of the sun across the sky and attaching time increments to the different positions and lengths of shadow created by the sun’s position. Although the Ancient Egyptians were the first recorded civilisation to ascribe a meaning to this movement, other ancient civilisations followed suit, with the Ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Chinese adopting the same measurements.
Until the mid-14th Century, medieval Islamists presided over the most sophisticated timepiece: water clocks. This was followed by the hourglass, invented in Europe and deemed the most accurate way of measuring time at sea. After the development of a bell-striking alarm, used as a reminder to toll the monastic bell (which is where the title ‘For Whom the Bell the Tolls’ by Ernest Hemingway was derived) – a weight-driven mechanical clock came to the fore. It was a synthesis of earlier ideas, combined in one form by Henry de Vick. This spurred a series of developments over many centuries that eventually culminated in the mechanical, electrical, and digital clocks we recognise today.
The wristwatch design became recognised as a valuable tool during the disastrous Boer War at the turn of the 20th Century, evolving into a symbol of masculinity during the First World War. Over the decades that followed, society witnessed the development of the non-magnetic wristwatch, battery-powered watches, the quartz wristwatch, transistors, and plastic-coated watches, while timepieces expanded into women’s jewellery collections to become an essential – albeit more delicate – piece of wristwear.
And, despite modern inventions such as mobile phones – which, incidentally, have the capacity to not only tell the time, but to also automatically update to a given time-zone when needed – and the Fitbit becoming more popular, the classic wristwatch design hasn’t lost its appeal for the masses.
Among older generations, gifting a classic watch to a boy on the cusp of turning 18 is considered an integral tradition: the watch, often sophisticated and expensive, symbolises the transformation from childhood to adulthood; from a nobody into someone with both purpose and status, whose time is important. In recent decades, this symbolic tradition has extended to include any teenager crossing into adulthood and is no longer merely reserved for boys and men.
However, a decent watch that is classic, attractive to look at, durable, and one-of-a-kind often comes with a hefty price tag – watches deemed ‘mid-tier’ can sell for an average of £3000. This is where online auctions come in. We hold regular auctions featuring brand-name, high-quality stock at a fraction of the RRP and may very well be the best place to find the latest in watch sophistication at reasonable prices!
Not all watches were made equal. Yes, there are many on the market specifically designed for classy events and to show off a person’s wealth/status, but there are also watches made for different purposes, too.
There are ‘everyday’ watches – simple in design, easy to tell the time, and created for durability over style; then there are watches for more active pursuits, with the capacity to monitor heart rate, resist water damage, and inform wearers about the weather and terrain; there are also sports watches, usually smaller, digitised, and made of a durable rubber or plastic and there are what used to be called ‘dress’ watches, designed for the purpose of accessorising an outfit and often more regal in appearance (perhaps diamond-encrusted or with an iridescent pearl face). In short, there are watches to suit every person and every occasion – whatever your taste or desire.
We regularly sell watches to suit all pockets and wrists, with auctions offering both new and preloved styles from a whole host of popular designers.
At our watch auctions, we feature pieces from vintage collections, brand new, designer watches, and classic timepieces by the most lauded of watchmakers. But not only do we include a vast array of watches for your perusal, you’ll find that the starting prices are lower than you would ordinarily find for such a calibre of timepiece – meaning you can obtain luxury for less!
You’ll often find recognised brand names and well as high-end specialist watchmakers including Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin, Chopard, Piaget, Graham, and Eberhard & Co.
So, whatever, your financial limit, we have a designer option to suit your purse.
Take a look at our live auctions to see what you could be making your own today.