History of Watches
The watch which developed from the 16th century to the mid 20th century was a mechanical device, powered by winding a mainspring which turned gears and then moved the hands, and kept time with a rotating balance wheel. The invention of the quartz watch in the 1960s, which ran on electricity and kept time with a vibrating quartz crystal, proved a radical departure for the industry. During the 1980s quartz watches took over the market from mechanical watches, an event referred to as the “quartz crisis”. Although mechanical watches still represent the high end of the market, the vast majority of watches now have quartz movements.
In late 2017, Phillips auction house sold a rare vintage Patek Phillipe watch for more than $11 million setting a new record for the auction house.
Like jewels, watches are small, light and do not require special storage. Unlike art, watches are much more robust and easier to transport. Watches are a nice niche category for auction houses. Increasingly, it is the non-art categories such as Colored Diamonds, Vintage Jewelry and Watches, that occupy the greatest attention of auction houses led by colored diamond jewelry!