Advisory and ConsultingFor most collectors, buying and selling vintage watches from and to the international market are just flip-sides of the same coin. We may face the challenge of selecting the watch that bet suits our vision as something we would like to wear daily for our personal pleasure, to complement our persona, to build a collection as a hobby purely out of passion or as an investment; conversely, most of us will need to sell at one point one or more watches either to add a new piece to their collection or to "upgrade" a their personal timepiece. Occasionally, non-collectors will want to buy a vintage watch to present as a gift, or sell one they have inherited with an estate, something long forgotten in the family's safety deposit box at the bank. We may need to assess the value of a watch for a division, a separation or for insurance purposes. In all these different scenarios important money could be at stake, and it could be a good idea that of relying on a professional opinion, entrusting someone with a different experience in this field to guide us safely through the apparent maze of different options. Scroll down the page to find more detailed information regarding the services I can offer in this area. Learn More
Buy in Auction
Alessandro Ciani is considered one of the world’s most outspoken, intelligent and experienced vintage luxury watch professionals.
Buying in auction can be extremely advantageous, as long as you know what you’re doing. It’s not necessarily the best place to buy that popular watch that everybody’s trying to buy – although still worth trying, you never know – but can definitely provide a very good opportunity to score a great bargain on that particular watch that you and few others understand, and that is likely to pass unnoticed by the big hunters; obviously, it could also represent that one opportunity ever to own that important timepiece that only comes around once or twice in a lifetime.
It can also be a lot of fun, too: the thrill of participating in an auction sale can sometimes remind that of gambling at the casino’s tables. Unfortunately, if you don’t read the part printed in small characters on the registration contract, the odds that the two experiences could turn unpleasantly alike are higher than you may think. In fact, signing up for a paddle you are accepting the seller’s conditions that, although for the most part very reasonable, clearly state that the catalog’s descriptions, estimates, and condition reports are nothing but an opinion, with no legal implications on their end and, should any such issues arise, those will only involve you and the consignor, not them.
This been said, and adding to the above that Auction Houses will generally derogate their own contract to assist you in case things actually do go really wrong, it is a very good habit to personally inspect every lot you are interested in buying before placing your bid. In case you do not have the time to follow every step of the due diligence yourself, I offer an Auction Buyer’s Package that includes: advice and due diligence regarding the watch, the condition and the price; personal inspection of the lot at the preview before the sale, and dedicated, individually tailored condition report; bidding in the room on your behalf or under my company’s name, thus adding privacy benefits while saving you the complications of all the financial aspects of dealing internationally, from international banking to import and customs procedures’ management.
If you think this is for you, feel free to inquire for questions and clarifications, including fees and procedures.
Sell in auction
Selling in auction is definitely a way out of a watch if you don’t have any particular expectation regarding the price it ends up being sold for. If you do, then things are different. There is a lot to know about how this works, starting with costs and fees, insurance, catalog photo and then with understanding what they are really guaranteeing you, along with how and where they’re thinking to market your watch. There is really nothing other than the real market – that day, in that place, that moment – that will determine the outcome of a sale, but there is definitely a number of basic factors that can affect that result and that we can do something about in planning our auction deal. Choosing the right Auction House for the kind of watch you mean to sell; setting the right reserve price and estimate; the location; the time of the year; are just some of these factors.
Some of the sale conditions can be – albeit partially – negotiated too, if you have the right leverage and know what to ask for. Again, knowing how to manage the intricacies of dealing with an Auction House can definitely – at least – help to preserve yourself from the potential catastrophe that turning to the wrong auctioneer, or let him do everything entirely this way, could very possibly cause you. As in the case that you are instead looking to buy, I offer an Auction Seller’s Package that includes: advice and due diligence regarding your watch and its actual market; a sensitive assessment to understand what reserve price and low to high catalog estimate will help sell at the highest possible price; advise with the selection of the best Auction House for the specific watch you intend to sell, the best season and location for the sale; consigning on your behalf or under my company’s name, thus adding privacy benefits while saving you the complications of all the financial aspects of dealing internationally, from international banking to export and customs procedures’ management.
If this is something you may be interested in, feel free to inquire for questions and clarifications, including fees and procedures.
Like legendary American oil well firefighter and Rolex testimonial Red Adair once said, and as I eventually learned the hard way: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.
Consign for Sale
A less costly alternative to selling your watch in auction, still having a chance to get as close to a retail selling price as possible, is to consign it for sale with me. If we both agree on the potential selling price of your watch, I will be glad to manage its marketing for a reasonable fee that will include all seller’s costs – photography, insurance, shipping to and from shows, etc. – in order to get you higher proceeds compared to what selling straight out to a dealer – me included, of course! – would do. The time terms can be limited to a week, a month, a number of months or as long as it takes to sell your watch, based on your personal needs. All the details of our agreement can be adjusted along the way to offer maximum flexibility.
Email us to discuss your options!
Submit for Inspection and Evaluation
If you wish to assess the condition and value of a vintage watch, and feel that my evaluating criteria is what best reflects your own perspective, I offer an evaluation service that includes all basic checks, such as general integrity of the timepiece compared to the manufacturing time period; case and dial preservation state; originality and condition of all its key internal and external components; movement functionality and other details such as state of the luminous materials or veracity of accompanying paperwork or accessories, along with my personal overall rating, in a document that will include the results of all the above verifications and the relative photographic evidence.
As far as market value is concerned, I do not really believe in such statements as that’s a factor determined by too many volatile conditions such as location, time of the year or market momentum, necessity to sell, availability on the market, etc. I will however issue notarized appraisals with a very reliable average replacement value of a specific watch – with the very same characteristics – at the time the appraisal is requested for insurance, legal, division and other purposes.
Should any of the above be something you may need, feel welcome to inquire with a specific necessity.
Buy from another Watch Dealer
As a general rule, I do not express opinions on watches that are being sold by another watch dealer. If you have a reason not to trust that dealer buy from someone else, but don’t ask me to interfere with his business and work. My advice is that you do your due diligence regarding your supplier’s reputation, get a written – emailed – note of his return policy in case anything should not turn out to be as represented, and base your trust on that. You can obviously ask me to inspect the watch once you own it, no problem: this unless you and the dealer who is selling to you both agree to entrust me to contribute to the transaction with my expertise. In this case I will express an opinion on the watch condition and integrity alone and will personally stand by it (details explained on request), should I fail to recognize a critical flaw. As far as the price you are asked to pay, that will remain between yours and your supplier.
Buy from a Private Collector or Original Owner or Sell to a Private Party
In this case, I can definitely assist with my expertise. I can express an opinion on the watch condition and integrity and will personally stand by it (details explained on request), should I fail to recognize a critical flaw. I can also provide assistance with defining a price that is fair to both parties, if both agree to have me participate that part of the deal too: my responsibility will be limited to the technical part only, however.
If you think I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to ask for details. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For years, nobody has really spoken out about the world of watches, and the truth’s that hide behind the glass.
Alessandro Ciani is considered one of the most outspoken and experienced individuals when it comes to the world of vintage luxury watches. Have a gander at his opinion and please share yours, as long as you approach the topic with the respect and dignity that he has brought to the table.