Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Geert Tibosch, co-owner of the leading Dutch watch platform, DeZinVanLuxe (DZVL), which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.
The dream of every watch collector: a unique piece, something really special. Earlier than expected, I was going to have the chance to own such a piece; a Lange & Söhne pocket watch, a chronograph from the early 1900’s.
Whether I’d wear such a thing is another question, but owning such a masterpiece would be fantastic. To cut a long story short, at a small auction house in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, they had a pocket watch up for auction. Not just a pocket watch, but the Lange mentioned above. Below you can see the picture of the watch from the catalogue, and below this a picture of the movement, directly from the Lange & Söhne website.
The auction house estimate was set between €350 and €500. This could be a great opportunity to make a dream come true. The week before the auction I collected all possible information about the watch, unfortunately there wasn’t a single comparable watch on the internet.
So we had to make a decision, how much would it be worth to us? Before the auction we looked at the pocket watch once again. Obviously it was special, but how special?
Lot number 6218 was brought into the auction room, we agreed on the maximum amount we were going to bid. The only thing that could help us now was a lack of interest from other bidders. The auction started at €400, to €425, €450… The auctioneer didn’t see my raised hand until another bidder stopped bidding at €700. Now the bidding really began, two candidates with only one goal: bringing in an unprecedented fine Lange & Söhne pocket watch.
Bidding went up quickly to 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 2,500, 3,000… Phew, we weren’t expecting that. All the literature on auctions says one thing to get the optimum result: decide your maximum bid in advance and do not get distracted by peripheral issues or emotion. No sooner said than done: when bidding reached €3,200 we stopped, however special the pocketwatch seemed to be.
After the lot was sold, the auction was over for us. The winning bidder also left the room and waited for us outside. The only thing we could do, was to congratulate him with this fantastic purchase. We couldn’t resist asking him about his knowledge of the watch.
Dumbfounded he told us this was a really unique piece from Lange & Söhne and he ascribed a value of no less than €25,000 to the pocket watch. We knew it was special, but not that special…
An illusion poorer but an experience richer, the auction ended. We didn’t feel disappointment or regret, only respect for the buyer. With his knowledge and experience he had the key to success!
What an experience!