Demand surges for Swiss watches at online auction market Thesaleroom.com


Thesaleroom.com, a leading online marketplace for art, antiques and collectables auctions, has seen a significant increase in demand for mechanical and vintage timepieces in the month since the UK was put into lock down.  

Demand for Rolex watches rose by 11% in the month since March 26 and Heuer demand is up by 19%. Blancpain demand rose fastest, by 37%, although the sample size is certain to be much smaller.


Customers can bid on auctions via Thesaleroom.com for sales hosted by BonhamsFellowsCheffinsSwordersChiswick AuctionsDreweatts and Woolley & Wallis.

Rising demand is defined by the number of searches for a particular item or brand, so 11% more searches for Rolex, the company also says that prices have held firm during the Coronavirus pandemic and registrations are up.

A rare Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (pictured above) from around 1970 sold for £32,000 hammer from a buyer on thesaleroom.com at a live online-only sale by Watches of Knightsbridge during the first week of lockdown.

John-Paul Savant.

“Traditionally during periods of economic uncertainty we would expect to see high demand for items seen as alternative investments – items perceived as a ‘safe haven’ because they hold or increase their value regardless of what is going on in the financial markets. That trend is playing out in the activity we’re seeing among bidders at auction. And of course, during a time such as this, others are simply having fun using their extra time at home to start or continue on their journey of collecting as a hobby,” says John-Paul Savant, CEO of Auction Technology Group, which owns thesaleroom.com.

“Thesaleroom.com saw a 12% month-on-month increase in new registrants at the end of March as auctions went fully online, and prices remain strong, too. Many auction houses specialising in collectables and investment pieces, such as watches and memorabilia, have moved their entire business online for the first time in the last four weeks – a move that has paid off as demand has soared. Fellows’ latest watch auction, for instance, was entirely online and attracted a record number of bidders,” Mr Savant reveals.

Items that have seen the biggest increase in demand at auction on thesaleroom.com in the past month are:

  • Hornby trains                   96%
  • Blancpain watches          37%
  • Football programmes     30%
  • Comics                               28%
  • Heuer watches                 19%
  • Rolex watches                  11%
  • Gold coins                         6%
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