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HOT 100 RETAIL TITANS: Jonathan Darracott, global head of watches, Bonhams


Jonathan Darracott was always headed for a career in the jewellery and watch industry, ever since his mother first took him into her workshop to watch how she handcrafted jewellery for a living. “I got the bug and I’m lucky enough to have turned my hobby into my job,” reflects the international head of watches at Bonhams, who, as his Hot 100 image shows, is a true metalworker himself in his spare time.

It is fair to say that it has been a memorable 12 months for Jonathan, as his role has grown to worldwide head of watches and he’s stamped his mark on the business. It’s no coincidence that under the global umbrella, the department has racked up the largest sales in Knightsbridge ever, and the best sell-through rate in Hong Kong for more than half a decade.

None of this would be possible without the strong team ethic that shines through at the auction house – something that Jonathan is quick to pay tribute to, particularly following the success of its first foray into internet-based watch sales.


“The watch department has championed online-only sales for Bonhams, and it’s been such a successful test bed that we’ll definitely be doing another online only watch sale later this summer, and other departments will soon follow suit. It’s great to have had the opportunity to run this type of sale – and have the success that we’ve had – for the whole company.”

Jonathan relishes a challenge, be it a watch from start to finish, or meeting a collector and consigning their watches and selling them to the highest bidder, but if there is one lesson he’s learnt from his new role it’s that you have to be there to see what’s going on. “Unless you’re present, you won’t understand the full story,” he explains.

“Personal contact is very important, from flying across the world just for a coffee with a client to attending not just watch auctions but various Bonhams events where our clients come to socialise, bid, and buy, such as our varied calendar of motoring events.”

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