The Sale Room has reported a “significant” increase in demand for mechanical watches and vintage timepieces in the month since the nationwide lockdown began.
The marketplace for art, antiques and collectables auctions said that these items have seen a 13% increase in demand on thesaleroom.com since 23 March.
It added that sale prices have “held firm”, with a rare Rolex Cosmograph Daytona taking £32,000 from a buyer at a live online-only sale by Watches of Knightsbridge during the first week of lockdown.
Items that have seen the biggest increase in demand at auctions include Heuer watches with a 19% rise and Rolex watches that have seen an 11% rise in demand.
The Sale Room added that many auction houses have “ramped up their activities” in these categories, as well as changing to online sales with live bidding or to ‘timed online sales’.
John-Paul Savant, CEO of Auction Technology Group, which owns thesaleroom.com, said: “Traditionally during periods of economic uncertainty we would expect to see high demand for items seen as alternative investments – items perceived as a ‘safe haven’ because they hold or increase their value regardless of what is going on in the financial markets.
“That trend is playing out in the activity we’re seeing among bidders at auction. And of course, during a time such as this, others are simply having fun using their extra time at home to start or continue on their journey of collecting as a hobby.”
He added: “The Sale Room saw a 12% month-on-month increase in new registrants at the end of March as auctions went fully online, and prices remain strong, too.
“Many auction houses specialising in collectables and investment pieces, such as watches and memorabilia, have moved their entire business online for the first time in the last four weeks – a move that has paid off as demand has soared.”
The Sale Room lists the catalogues and runs the online auctions of hundreds of auction houses selling art, antique furniture, watches and jewellery, and collectables.