How to bid at auction

I wish I could say that watch auctions are a nice safe place to bid.
My advice: do tons of homework in advance, see the piece in person, and set your limit.

– Beware being the only bidder on a lot.
– Watches being handled during the previews can take a beating. Never hurts to see it on the last preview day, and also take video/images of the condition at the time.
– Know that you might be bidding against:
— The chandelier in the room (these are legal bid…the auctioneer can go up to the reserve amount making show of things, but none are real bids). Note at times you can bid *under* the reserve and win the watch.
— The owner of the watch. Yes…they might be there bidding against you to drive the price up.
— Others that own the same reference and want to protect their current inventory of pieces
— The manufacture, to either prop up the value of their pieces…while some may be bidding to purchase the piece (for their museum or otherwise)
— If you are bidding at an unscrupulous auction house, they may be driving up the price without bidders, either for a written bid you submit beforehand, or during the auction above the reserve (though not legal). An example is one of the hosts of The Waiting List podcast talking about sitting in her car with a former Phillips’ employee as he was on the phone talking about what fake bids to put in the upcoming auction (Waiting List podcast, Episode #55 37:30 [1]), and likewise for the hosts skepticism over the phone lines not working for certain lots. It’s a good listen as you rarely (never?) hear people talk publicly about auction houses in this manner.
— Those just looking to launder money. Yup.

[1] “In Hong Kong recently…I can say this since he’s not there anymore, he worked at Phillips, but he doesn’t work there anymore…he had to take a call for the auction that was happening that night and they were basically discussing which fake bids he had to put in.
And then suddenly it was silent and I think the guy on the other end was like ‘whose car are you in?’ and then the guy casually was like ‘I’m in Lung’s car…like, Lung Lung’s car’, but you know no matter what I’m still a potential customer, you can’t say that shit in front of me, right? Um, so he got off the phone and he’s like, ‘this does not leave the car.’
And I was like, yeah, okay, I don’t think I can bid from auction again. I don’t think I can buy from auction again, it’s so bad. But it was literally like, ‘what bid are you going to put it in, at what price, how many times are you going to do it?’…you already your client really well so you know what price he is going to put, so you just got to push him a little bit…”

Stolen watch registry

The Alpha Hands stolen watch registry is the largest free registry in the world, and is used and contributed to by:
– Collectors and enthusiasts
– Insurance agencies
– Retailers/dealers
– Auction houses
– Manufacturers
– Police departments
– Pawnbrokers
– Service providers
– Watch associations/foundations
Please use the Alpha Hands stolen watch registry submission form if you would like to have any watch(es) added.
If you find any watches in the following table, please let me know. I retain contact information for all registered timepieces.

The registry doesn’t just include stolen Rolex – this database includes a wide variety of manufacturers, including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, TAG Heuer, Vacheron Constantin and others. But in addition to searching the Alpha Hands registry, always perform a broader search (aka Google) for the serial number of the watch you are purchasing (or even a fraction of the serial number).

Alpha Hands does not take a position as to the proprietary rights of the watches recorded in the registry, rather we are just aggregating watches that have been reported as stolen on or to a variety of sources: watch forums, instagram, Facebook, auction houses, police departments, manufacturers and directly to Alpha Hands. As such, there may be disputes over ownerships. If you are interested in the original source of a piece reported stolen, please contact us for details. Prospective buyers should always do their own due diligence regarding watches that have been reported as stolen, as well as watches they are purchasing.

As with the rest of this Website, the following table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions.