Necessity is the mother of invention, and crisis can lead to strange bedfellows.
So it seems with a partnership between Sotheby’s and Bucherer, which for several centuries have been competing for the spending of affluent watch and jewelery collectors in Europe, and are now teaming up to cross-promote sales of certified pre-owned timepieces.
They will collaborate on a series of initiatives, WatchPro learns today, starting with an exhibition at Bucherer’s flagship boutique in Geneva and the sale of pre-owned watches certified by the retailer in Sotheby’s “Important Watches” auction on 11 May.
If successful, it seems likely the partnership could be extended to the United States, particularly when Tourneau’s Manhattan flagship reopens as its first Bucherer showroom later this year.
Tourneau has taught Bucherer a great deal about profiting from contemporary pre-owned watches, and accelerated the group’s roll-out of dedicated trading areas at boutiques across Europe.
Bucherer’s iconic showroom on the shores of lake Geneva has an entire floor dedicated to pre-owned watches, but the partnership with Sotheby’s will see all five floors used to show highlights from the auctioneer’s spring luxury sales series in Geneva and New York.
The Geneva store has been severely hit by lock downs and, even when open it has been nobbled by a lack of tourists coming to Switzerland to buy high end timepieces from their motherland.
Sotheby’s and Bucherer will not just put on an exhibition of watches, there will also be vintage jewelry, designer handbags and collectible sneakers, which have all been rising in value on the secondary market in recent years.
Highlights include gemstones originating from the mines of Kashmir and Colombia, a Rolex Submariner worn by Nick Nolte in the 1970s film The Deep, and a pair of “Air Jordan 1” sneakers worn by Michael Jordan during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1985.
In addition, the partnership will see pieces from Bucherer’s Certified Pre-Owned watch stock put up for auction at Sotheby’s.
“Together our companies have over 400 years’ history and expertise, with a common ability to reinvent ourselves to evolve with the ever-changing luxury landscape and clients’ aspirations. This partnership builds on our shared appreciation of quality, tradition and innovation, and introduces an important shift to the watch auction market, where certification and authentication play an ever-greater role,” says Josh Pullan, Sotheby’s head of Global Luxury Division.
Patrick Graf, chief commercial officer at Bucherer, adds: “Creating a fresh approach to luxury and embracing unique and unexpected concepts – that is how Bucherer, one of the world’s leading retailers in luxury watches and jewellery, is setting the pace. In this light, joining forces with international auction house, Sotheby’s – was a natural fit to celebrate the companies’ shared values, strong passion and outstanding expertise in the curation of a luxury lifestyle collection.”