Fellows’s tips for purchasing replica watches at auction

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Fellows has been a family-owned business since its founding in 1876. While we offer a wide range of sales, we’re watch and jewellery specialists. Many auction houses have cultivated a certain mystique, which has limited their reach, but Fellows has always offered a variety of price points so both novice collectors and seasoned experts can find what they’re looking for.

I’ve been with Fellows for five years, having previously worked in luxury replica watches retail. As a director, I’m responsible for steering the future path of the company, making sure we stay abreast of industry trends and ahead of the competition. As a watch specialist it’s my job to source replica watches for sale, value them and then promote the auction.

Depending on the model, it can be significantly cheaper to buy a vintage timepiece at auction, rather than a new model. However, paradoxically, it’s in vintage sales that auction records tend to get set. The real driver for the collector is to get something with historical significance, rather than a new mass-produced version. By definition, all vintage replica watches are limited editions, even if the number produced runs into the hundreds of thousands.

Many memorable timepieces have passed through Fellows’s auction room over the years. However, although high prices are nice to achieve and generate a buzz in the saleroom, it’s the watches with a story behind them that stick in the mind. For example, I’ll never forget selling the Breitling Emergency worn by one of the balloonists who successfully circumnavigated the globe, or the dive watches from the memorial sale for one of the greatest contemporary exploration divers.

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Many people ask me what key things they should look for to tell if a vintage watch is genuine, but there’s no obvious way of knowing – it takes lots of research and experience. It’s more difficult than dealing with new pieces, as there’s less archive material for comparison and you have to decide what’s legitimate wear, rather than poor-quality construction. The historical development of model lines is not always clearly documented, but luckily there are some passionate and well-informed collectors to be found online.

For first-time buyers, the only rules are “buy what you like” and “buy the best you can afford”. The investment is in the joy of ownership, and, if you’re a first-time buyer, forget buying to make money. If you have a modest budget, Omega Replica Constellation “pie pans” in steel are great value, or a Rolex Explorer. Both can be sold on later for all the money you paid but are also credible enough to keep forever.

Fellows embraces new technology to make bidding more accessible than ever. For example, for the past ten years Fellows has catalogued with the web in mind, and today our website has multiple high-resolution images and interactive 360-degree photography. This, combined with the detailed lot descriptions and condition reports, gives buyers the confidence to bid without ever seeing the watch in person, extending our reach internationally.

Fellows’s “The Watch Sale” happens every month, so we have a constantly changing inventory. The good news is we offer an extraordinary variety of replica watches for sale; the bad is I have no idea what we’ll have at auction in only two months’ time, hence the exciting state of flux that we exist in.

ADRIAN HAILWOOD’s extensive career includes stints at Cartier, Mappin & Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels and Breguet. Since joining Fellows in 2016, he has taken responsibility for the watch business and client development.