The rating system doesn't imply to open the watch and to check if every part of the movement if in good trim and guenuine. Auction are often full of professionals who knows each other and who are far or less friends with the actioneer and so best watches would go in their hands. In a nutshell, a private individual can not make a bargain there. Better buy to a second hand shop or to a private individual after having checked with the brand's after sales service if everything was clear.
Ernest, your argument is flawed. Although I didn't work in the jewelry/watch department, I did work in one of the major two auction houses in NYC for a couple of years. The majority of time, most lots that come up for sale, regardless of department are due to the three D's. Â Those being: death, debt, divorce. Â As you can imagine, the sellers comprise of everyone, museums, trade - i.e. dealers, and private clients of all levels. Apart from what occured with price fixing between Christie's and Sotheby's, there is no predetermined system of who gets what. Â Simple market economics are at play, the price is either determined by market price, or as it happens alot, 2 people want the same thing and get into a bidding war. Â I can't understand why you think auctioneers sell items to a predetermined person. Â Why would an auctioneer hammer down a realized price if the bidding is willing to go higher? Â Don't you think if the seller is in the saleroom, they are going to raise hell? Â I have seen some shady stuff in the sale room but it is always on the part of the crowd. I could go on for hours about the regulations in NY state, and the licensing process for auctioneers, as well as behind the scenes, etc to prove that there is nothing going on as you claim. I will make two more points. Â Dealers will buy inventory from any avenue possible, including auctions. Â Conversely, they will sell there too. Â If you are familiar with the market, you can identify over 90% of the people in the room at any sale. Â You know what they buy and sell at Christie's and Sotheby's. Â Just take a look at the NYtimes the day after the major sales ( impressionist/19th c, contemporary painting). Â Deboroh Solomon usually can identify the buyers of major lots (which are confidential) in her article. If you are going to buy from a dealer, chances are, Â his/her inventory derives from auctions around the world. Â This regardless of any sale category for the most part. Â You might as well buy it at an auction if the dealer is just going to mark it up 30%. Â So, by going to the second hand dealer, you probably are just buying the same watch.