When Adrian Hailwood relocated to the Midlands to head up Fellows’ watch department, he had a vision of an idyllic, relaxed country lifestyle accentuated with the odd spot of tweed and shooting. While his five-year-old daughter might be running wild in the fields, Adrian has found himself negotiating the slightly less old worldly arena of online auctions.
Watches are a growing facet of Fellows’ business, delivering 15% growth in the past two years, and much of this has been due to the auction house successfully harnessing the power of the internet, opening up its lots to bidders from all over the world.
Fellows now sells more than 7,000 watches a year and off the back of this success it has launched Watchauctions, a dedicated online watch portal. The site is attracting 16,000 visitors a month with 150 new accounts registered every week.
“In addition to being a portal to all of our watch auctions it provides a valuation tool for the watch buying trade and will soon become a hub for additional services such as repairs and straps,” he explains.
Offline, Fellows has been spreading its wings too and Adrian says that London is becoming an important hub for its watch business. In November Adrian swapped the country for the slick streets of London’s Chelsea where he introduced the audience at SalonQP to the thrills of the online auction room.
“Our successful showing at SalonQP was the first stage of a commitment to our London clients,” says Adrian. “We opened an office in Mayfair which is now fully staffed with watch and jewellery specialists and we are looking to bring our passion and expertise to the broad middle-market that Fellows serves so well.”
And so it seems that this country gent will be spending an increasing amount of his time in the city broadening the influence of this fantastic Birmingham export.