Post-Brexit Art Market: Keep Calm, Carry On and Negotiate Hard

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Lot and his Daughters painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens c.1613-14 sold for $58m at Christie’s, the centerpiece of Christie’s a week of sales in July branded Classic Week. It came for sale from the family of railway magnate Baron Maurice de Hirsch de Gereuth (1831-96) who acquired it from the Dukes of Marlborough.

The British art market, the second largest in the world, is putting on a brave face after the Brexit vote. No need to panic. Business as usual. Reasons for optimism. Precisely two weeks after the June 23 referendum, the sound of applause echoing for a $58m Rubens at Christie’s was proof that it will take more than 17.1m ‘leavers’ to upset this apple cart.

Thriving on Economic Uncertainty

The art market can enjoy economic uncertainty. It’s often said that auctioneers prosper by the three Ds – death, debt and divorce. And Brexit has something of all three. Following the global recession of 2008, prices for many art and antiques hardened and gold, silver and gemstones spiked. Expect more of the same – particularly in the context of the weakening pound. The immediate impact of a Leave vote at London’s summer fairs was that visiting Americans were happy to make deals at £1 = $1.30 that would not have materialised at £1 = $1.50.

Establishing the UK’s Art Market Pre-eminence

The Brexiteers also argue that cutting formal ties with the European superstate could be a chance for the UK to enhance its status as an entrepôt for art and antiques. The UK is the region’s dominant art market player with sales of $13.5 billion translating to a 21% share of the global market (France accounts for 6% of global sales, Germany, 2% and Spain and Italy just 1% apiece). However, its pre-eminence has been threatened by New York, Hong Kong and Beijing. There are those in the trade who say the EU – and particularly three regulatory areas emanating from Brussels since 1993 – hasn’t helped.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, senior figures from British Art and Antiques Plc are calling for the repeal of the Artist’s Resale Right (ARR), a potential reduction in import VAT on art and a review of export licensing thresholds. Axe them all and the London market could be set fair. Keep them and optimism begins to fade.

It won’t be easy. ARR, entitling artists to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an auction house or dealer, puts London at an immediate disadvantage to its key international competitors. Yet at its heart, it is an ideological discussion. It has as many adherents in the artist lobby as it does detractors in the art dealing community.

Abolishing import VAT is perhaps more realistic. Currently the wildly differing tariffs levied on works of art as they are brought into the EU have played into British hands. What costs 5% in the UK is 6% in France, 10% in Spain and a massive 22% in Italy.

The Challenge of Being Heard

However, leaving the single market and imposing that 5% tax on items coming from Europe too would surely be a barrier too far for dealers and auctioneers who rely on consignments from the continent. A post-Brexit government seeking to champion British success stories would surely understand?

This is doubtless the right time to lobby for concessions, and much will fall on the shoulders of the British Art Market Federation (BAMF), who represent dealers and auctioneers and lobbies on their behalf. However, with a new Prime Minister and a new-look government faced with four decades of European legislation to unpick, art market red tape will scarcely be priority number one.

Hope for the art and antiques trade lies in being part of the discussion. At this seismic moment in British political history, being heard may be the biggest challenge of all.

Roland Arkell (LinkedIn) is the Contributing Editor at ATG Media.  For almost two decades, Roland has been writing about the British and international art and antiques market for Antiques Trade Gazette, the leading publication for serious buyers and sellers of art and antiques.

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2016 Silverstone Classic Preview

LeadImage

Silverstone Classic is once again upon us and Silverstone Auctions continues to make a name for themselves with fine modern classics being offered. Spread over three days (July 28th – 31st) there is a competition car sale and classic road car sale.

Star of the competition sale is the Porsche 924 Carrera GTR you see above, with just 109km from new. It is a beauty, but it was also for sale with COYS back in May at Monaco Historique, so requires careful investigation. Once again we have picked out our own choice of three investments for the road and one for the track that is guaranteed to raise a big grin.

1954 Austin A30 ‘Speedwell’

Austin_A30

So let’s open with the racer, this dinky Austin was built by specialist Rae Davis as a nod to the original Graham Hill Speedwell car. Currently owned and raced by two-time BTCC champion Gordon Sheddon, the car has been raced at events such as the Goodwood Revival and will likely be invited back for the next 1950’s St. Mary’s trophy race. The car is run and prepared by Team Dynamics and the lucky bidder will receive a handover test day with the team and Gordon himself.

Historic racing is hugely popular at the moment and there are plenty of race series that this car would be eligible for. This car represents a great opportunity to enter into historic racing at a relatively sensible price with a car that has a great heritage.
Estimate $40,000 – 45,000

2009 Ferrari F430 Scuderia

Ferrari_Scuderia

The F430 Scuderia picked up where the 360 Challenge Stradale left off, a relatively low production run of special edition cars based very loosely around the race cars. Total numbers produced are sketchy to say the least with estimates ranging from 1,500-3,500. While it isn’t as rare as the 360CS the ’Scud’ is a thrilling and capable car that will make a good long-term investment that can still be enjoyed from time-to-time.

This particular car is Left Hand Drive (LHD) and has just 26,000 kilometers on the clock. It also features a number of options including: Scuderia Ferrari Shields, Carbon Fiber Driving Zone, 4 Point Safety Harnesses, Brake calipers in Rosso Corsa, Tire Pressure Monitoring, Carbon-Ceramic Brake System, LED Gear change display, Hi-Fi Pack, and a factory roll bar.
Estimate $160,000 – 200,000

1976 208 GT4 Dino

Ferrari_208

That’s not a misprint, the 208 was an Italian market only model produced to avoid heavy taxation on cars with big engines. As a result, there were just 840 cars produced and no doubt we are probably looking at just 500 or so these days. Don’t worry it still has a Ferrari V8 it’s just in 2-litre form and producing 180bhp. Very carefully restored by Italian specialists in recent years this is a beautiful car and in Azzuro Blu it will no doubt be far rarer than a Rosso Corsa colored car. A great opportunity to acquire a rare and interesting Ferrari at a modest fee.
Estimate $45,000 – 50,000

2002 Porsche 911 (996) GT2

Porsche_GT2

This car is intriguingly priced but the details offer no current mileage apart from a service in 2015 at 46,040. If the mileage is still relatively similar and the car is as described and completely original this really is a great purchase at its estimate price. The 996 GT2 has scared many with its ferocious acceleration that 14 years on will still give many a modern supercar a run for its money. The GT2 is also a rare car with a little over 100 produced globally and as the car was nick-named the ‘Widow Maker’ you can be confident that there are under 1,000 left and very few in original condition and Right Hand Drive (RHD).
Estimate $120,000 – 130,000

Photo credit: © Silverstone Auctions 2016

About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, gasoline is very much in his veins.

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Bonhams Goodwood Revival 2015

Bonhams Goodwood Revival 2015

The Goodwood Revival has, for many years now, been a firm favourite on the motor racing calendar. Its broad appeal perhaps making it the huge success it is. Now in its 18th year, it is once again a sell out on all three days. Saturday September 12th sees the return of the excellent Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale.

New Top Gear presenter and DJ, Chris Evans has been having a clear out and is auctioning off 13 cars from his extensive collection. You can see the entire listing below.

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy, estimate £2,600,000-2,900,000
1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, estimate £2,300,000-2,600,000
1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L ‘Lusso’, estimate £1,400,000-1,800,000
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spyder, estimate £1,300,000-1,600,000
1963 Ferrari 250 SWB Replica, estimate £500,000-600,000
1949 Jaguar XK120 ‘Alloy’ Roadster, estimated £325,000-375,000
1967 Jaguar XKSS ‘Lynx’, estimate £325,000-375,000
1936 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica, estimate £250,000-350,000
1970 Mercedes 280SL ‘Pagoda’, estimate £100,000-130,000
1989 Ferrari 328 GTS, estimate £100,000-130,000
1958 Jaguar XK150 3.4 Fixed Head Coupé, estimate £55,000-65,000
1964 Daimler Dart Police Car SP250, estimate £50,000-60,000
1983 Fiat 127 Abarth, estimate £10,000-15,000

1983 Fiat 126 Abarth replica

1983 Fiat 126 Abarth replica, Image Copyright Bonhams

1983 Fiat 126 Abarth replica, Image Copyright Bonhams

Now this little Fiat 126 Abarth replica is great fun. It is certainly quick enough to get you into trouble with the law, not to mention the fact that it’s great for parking around London! Chris purchased this car recently after it was built to exacting standards by racing driver Mike Jordan, father of ex-BTCC Champion Andrew. With an estimate of just £10,000 – £14,000, this is a cheap way to buy yourself a car previously owned by Chris.

1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Recreation

1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Recreation. Image Copyright Bonhams

1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Recreation. Image Copyright Bonhams

To put the estimate of £500,000 – £600,000 into context, if you want an original one it will cost you north of £5 million. Yes it is a recreation, but this car is based on a Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2. A less popular car it may have been but it is undoubtedly the perfect starting point for a recreation. The alloy body is totally correct and the car was completed in 2012, so this is a fresh car raring to tackle a drive down to Modena. Regardless of its famous owner this is, in relative terms, a bargain.

1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta. Image Copyright Bonhams

1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta. Image Copyright Bonhams

Arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever created, the Pininfarina styling is absolutely stunning. This could possibly be the biggest mistake of Chris Evans’ life, as this is a car that will only continue to appreciate in value. Just 350 were built and this, the 94th car off the line, has had a busy life, changing hands and colours over the years. Sadly there are a few black holes in the car’s history, but a Ferrari Classiche file and Historic Tour Passport (HTP) means this car is the real deal and can participate in the Mille Miglia and Tour Auto amongst other fine historic motoring events. £1.4 million – £1.8 million is not an outrageous sum for such a fine machine that will never go out of fashion.

So, that’s our pick of the Chris Evans cars, but these two are also well worth a look.

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super Competition Saloon

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super Competition Saloon. Image Copyright Bonhams

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super Competition Saloon. Image Copyright Bonhams

This is a lovely little car with real period racing provenance, having placed 6th overall at the 1965 Sebring 3-Hour race and 3rd in class behind a certain Jim Clark in his Lotus Cortina. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a genuine ex-works Alfa Romeo ‘homologation special’ for an estimated £70,000 – £90,000. The engine is said to be producing in excess of 200bhp, that’s more than enough for this little Italian especially with its lightweight body panels. A fantastic entry into historic motor racing awaits the lucky bidder.

2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG Coupé

2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG Coupé. Image Copyright Bonhams

2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG Coupé. Image Copyright Bonhams

At first glance it would be easy to write this off as a fast special edition Mercedes. What this is though is an extremely rare car, of which just 100 were built by Mercedes-Benz’s official performance division, AMG. Based on the ultra successful DTM racing car and wrapped in carbon and alcantara, this is the real deal. It’s a racing car for the road with performance figures to match. 0-62mph takes just 3.9 seconds, and it will top out at 199mph. Brand new, these cars were £180,000 and they sold out instantly. This one-owner car has been fastidiously maintained by a well-known car collector and has under 10,000 miles on the odometer. An estimate of £130,000 – £160,000 seems a bargain when compared to its rarer bigger brother the CLK GTR, which fetches ten times that. A special car with a very reasonable price tag. Don’t miss out.

Car-themed Watches: A Vehicle for Success?

You’ve probably noticed the ubiquity of partnerships between automotive and watchmaking companies. Aside from the obvious benefits associated with the sponsorship of any commonplace product, why is this trend so popular? What ties watchmaking to car manufacturing to such an extent that collaboration between the two industries is no longer newsworthy in itself, but rather par for the course?

Breitling for Bentley watchImage supplied, courtesy of Breitling for Bentley

A wristwatch, as with a car to a lesser extent, is stylistically limited by its function. It must be small enough to sit on a wrist, just about light enough not to break your arm whenever you shake someone’s hand, and it must have a register by which the time can be displayed and read. Creating aesthetic differentiation between products that fundamentally perform the same function is imperative. Watch design is often a referential business. Notions, ideologies, moments, places, and personalities are frequently used to imbue the physical elements of a watch with a wordless message. The watch becomes a statement. It informs others of its wearer’s likes. By adhering to pre-existing design principles, watch designers are able to create links between a product and another world.

In the case of the automotive world, this could barely be easier. Cars – and more specifically sports cars – have given us loaded symbols like racing stripes, race numbers, chequered flags, tyre tread, hand-stitched leather seats, bright, brash colours, and dashboard instruments that are just crying out to be ripped-off by watch creators. By harvesting these pre-agreed images of speed, a wristwatch becomes exciting, daring, sporty.

Standing out and Leading the Pack

Second to design is the mutual ability of both watches and cars to enhance the perceived status of an individual. We all know a fifteen-year old jalopy can get us from A to B, while a ten dollar Casio will tell you exactly how long the journey took, right down to the hundredths. To get a watch capable of that kind of precision, you’d be shelling-out tens of thousands of bucks. But people still do it; people still buy the newest, shiniest car the minute it rolls off the production line and approximately ten seconds before its value plummets as you set-off home behind the wheel of your new money pit.

TAG Heuer MonacoImage supplied, courtesy of TAG Heuer

In fact, it’s arguable that the rapid depreciation of most modern cars has a lot to with their positive effect on their driver’s status. In order to make such an economically unsound decision, you must have money to burn. It’s basically a braggadocious middle finger to everyone rolling around in a pre-owned Ford, fumbling with a banjaxed tape deck, while you verbally command your supercar to skip through Spotify.

Watches and automobiles share mechanical foundations. It follows that someone interested in one might well be interested in the other, so why not attempt a bit of cross pollination? But for any partnership to be worthwhile, both parties have to gain something. In this case, is the enhancement shared, or does one industry come out on top?

It’s interesting because the immediate benefits are pretty similar, but the long-term effect of these partnerships very different. Car manufacturers like watchmaking associations because it increases their luxury appeal; watchmakers love car manufacturers because they give their product a wider reach. But while the car is a more necessary item than a watch, it is also much more temporary.

In terms of increasing collectability, it is highly unlikely that a car will appreciate because it was associated with a watch; conversely it seems quite plausible that a watch will creep up in value because of its association. This is partly because the watch will no doubt display much more of the car’s DNA than the car will of the watch’s. But it’s also partly because modern watches are built to last longer than modern cars.

Audemars PiguetImage supplied, courtesy of Audemars Piguet

So is it worth it? In the short term, it can be a mutually beneficial relationship; in the long term it is a roll of the dice. Very few car-inspired watches have become stonewall classics, but those that have – the (TAG) Heuer Monaco, the AP Michael Schumacher – will likely become even more desirable as time moves on.

There are some new options on the market, with the Bremont Jaguar, and Parmigiani Bugatti watches aligning themselves with particular models, while other nascent companies like the affordable Autodromo and Belgium-based Raidillon, simply mine the design principles for inspiration. A cool car-themed watch is no bad thing, but it’s probably one of the gimmicks you should back on the grounds of taste rather than profit.

About the Author:

Rob Nudds is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market. You can read more of his work on aBlogtoWatch.com.

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Luxury Assets Are a Brexit Hedge

Borro is predicting a move towards hard assets, including luxury assets such as art and classic cars, as Britain reacts to the referendum result. The morning the UK’s referendum results were published, gold rose by 6% – 20% if sterling fluctuations were taken into account – an indicator that investors are seeking protection against market changes.

‘Economic uncertainty often leads to increased activity in different markets, including luxury assets,’ Samantha Lilley, Director of Valuations commented, ‘buyers are looking for a tangible store of wealth to protect themselves against volatile financial markets. Additionally, savvy collectors will be watching auctions, looking for opportunities to generate long term returns.’

At Bonham’s Goodwood Festival of Speed auction last Friday, the first major auction after the result was announced, a 1938 Jaguar Roadster estimated at £180,000 – £260,000 sold for £337,500. In 2008, while the FTSE fell by 31% over the year, the fine art market only fell by 4.5%. More significantly, by 2011 the market had recovered to the record levels of 2007 and grew every year up until 2015.

‘Luxury assets benefit from an international market,’ stated Paul Aitken, Borro’s CEO and Founder, ‘although Brexit may be affecting confidence in the UK, that doesn’t have a dramatic effect on Patek Phillipe sales at Christie’s Hong Kong.’

‘The global nature of these markets has always been beneficial to us as a company,’ Paul Aitken continued, ‘we have always taken into consideration not only local market prices, but international markets which may have higher demand for certain assets.’

‘Our 7 year track record combined with our experienced staff makes me confident that we will be able to continue lending as expected.’

Borro has valued over 50,000 luxury assets, while its property lending team has over 90 years of underwriting experience. The company has made no changes to its growth forecasts for luxury asset or property lending on the basis of the Brexit vote.

Contact: Anthony Fernandes – anthony.fernandes@borro.com

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Brexit: How will the UK art and antiques trade vote?

On January 1, 1973 the Union Jack was raised at the EEC headquarters in Brussels to mark Britain’s entry into the Common Market. Forty-three years later – an era in which the art and antiques business has evolved beyond all recognition – debate continues as to the merits of a politico-economic union now representing 28 member states and an estimated 508 million people. On June 23 Britain will put it to the vote.

But what would Brexit – that inelegant shorthand for Britain leaving the European Union – mean for dealers, auctioneers and collectors in the UK?

UK-fine-and-antiques-trading-2014-640x520

Of the £4735m worth of art and antiques exported from the UK in 2014, just £92m went to other parts of the EU. Imports from the EU were more substantial at £357m.

One side of the fence has it that Britain’s ‘via media’ within the EU has ultimately enhanced its status as an entrepôt for art and antiques. Cross-border red tape has been reduced, British auctioneers have muscled in on the once fiercely-guarded Paris market while the London art trade has prospered with the input of creative and knowledgeable French, German, Spanish and Italian dealers.

Equally helpful for British Art and Antiques Trade Plc in the so-called Single Market are the wildly differing tariffs levied on imported works of art. Import VAT on art charged at 5% in the UK (the lowest) rises to 10% in Spain and a massive 22% in Italy.

So why risk changing the status quo?

Global-Art-Market-Share-by-Value-in-2015-640x453

The UK is the EU’s dominant art market player with sales of $13.5 billion translating to a 21% share of the global market. France accounts for 6% of global sales, Germany and Switzerland (outside of the EU) 2% and Spain and Italy 1%.

The TEFAF Report 2016, published earlier this month on the eve of the Maastricht fair, found that the UK (the second largest art market worldwide in 2015 with sales of $13.5 billion) accounted for 64% of all sales in the EU, with France a distant second with a 19% share and Germany in third with 5%. The remaining 12% of the market is divided between 25 other nations.

Such apparently positive statistics highlight precisely why at least some senior members of the dealing community will be voting to Brexit. The argument goes that the art and antiques market means far more to the UK economy than it does in other part of Europe where it is frankly considered of little or no importance.

Anthony Browne, chairman of the British Art Market Federation, argues that three regulatory areas emanating from the EU since 1993 have damaged Britain’s global competitiveness. These are the burden of EU export licensing, the introduction of VAT on art imports and the implementation in 2006 of the controversial Artist’s Resale Right.

The latter, entitling artists to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an auction house or dealer, put London at an immediate disadvantage to its key international competitors and promoted fears that the art market would migrate from London to New York and Hong Kong.

Ten years on and its precise impact is still being debated as, no doubt, UK stakeholders will debate the place of the antiques trade ‘in or out’ of Europe as June 23 looms.

One thing is clear. On a topic where hearts and minds can be as important as facts and figures, this is not an issue where the antiques trade will be singing with one voice.

About the Author

Roland Arkell (LinkedIn) is the Contributing Editor at ATG Media.  For almost two decades, Roland has been writing about the British and international art and antiques market for Antiques Trade Gazette, the leading publication for serious buyers and sellers of art and antiques.

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Chopard: A History of High Quality Jewels and Jeweled Watches

Founded by watchmakers

Chopard Family
Source: Chopard

Chopard is internationally renowned for its high quality jewels and jeweled watches. Established in 1860, Louis-Ulysse Chopard created a watchmaking factory, in Sonvillier, Switzerland, at the age of 24, encouraged by his father, a farmer, Lucien Chopard.

Louis-Ulysse Chopard combined unique designs and precision watches. He soon presented his collections to international clients, visiting countries like Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands in 1912 and earned immediate recognition.

Karl Scheufele
Karl Scheufele, source: Chopard

In 1937, Chopard relocated to the heart of Haute Horlogerie quarters in Geneva. In 1943, Louis-Ulysse’s grandson, Paul André took over the company. Twenty years later, at the age of 70, Louis André Chopard was keen to sell his company. At the same time, Karl Scheufele III, descendant of German watchmakers and jewelers from Pforzheim, Germany, made it public he wished to purchase a Swiss manufacturing company. The decision to buy Chopard happened very quickly, “After half an hour of conversation, I knew it was the right choice “says Scheufele. As an independently owned company, Chopard has continued to grow as an international jeweler and watchmaking leader.

In 1974, when Chopard relocated to the Meyrin-Geneva site, on the outskirts of Geneva, its effort focused on women’s jewelry and watches.

The corporate woman
Working Girl
Working Girl

The 1980s saw big changes for women in their social and professional roles. This was the time of big hair, big shoulder pads and big money. After the Art Déco period- when women came out of men’s shadow following the First World War- the women’s empowerment movement culminated in the 1980s. Women were now well respected in the workplace and taking on roles traditionally held by men. Naturalistic and flowy dresses gave way to tailored jackets, blazers and shoulder pads. While remaining feminine and glamourous, outfits were masculine, structured and uncomplicated.

Madonna, Material Girl
Madonna, Material Girl

Madonna said it in her 1984 album: it was a decade of accessories for the Material Girl.
Chopard, enclosed between two sapphire crystals, loose diamonds are free to move around the dial
Source: Chopard, enclosed between two sapphire crystals, loose diamonds are free to move around the dial

The busy executive woman no longer had time to waste with long sautoirs of the 1970s.

A seed pearl, ruby and diamond sautoir, Bulgari, circa 1970
Source: Sotheby’s, A seed pearl, ruby and diamond sautoir, Bulgari, circa 1970, sold for CHF 50,000, 13th May 2014

Jewels had to be functional, practical but elegant and synonymous of power and wealth. Chopard embraced this choice of luxury jewelry and watches. It was then that Ronald Kurowski created a new line of jeweled watches, the “Happy Diamond” collection.

As diamonds move freely, sparkling and reflecting light, accurate timekeeping is ensured by Chopard’s tradition of excellence in watchmaking.

chopard jewellerychopard pendantchopard brooch
Source: Chopard

As the collection became more and more successful, Chopard designers further developed it and adapted it to jewelry such as rings, pendants and brooches.

chopard Happy Sport watch
Source: Chopard

In 1993, the luxury functionality of the “Happy Diamonds” was taken one step further with the creation of the “Happy Sport” collection. The same principle applied: loose diamonds within a watch’s dial but modified slightly to give it a sporty powerful edge. Rubber strap for example is one of the materials used in this collection.

Global Expansion, Innovation and Recognition

In 1983, Chopard opened its first store in Asia, in Hong Kong and three years later, in Geneva.

With an established international recognition and clientele, Chopard returned to the Jura area of Switzerland in 1996 and was dedicated to refining the “L.U.C” (Louis-Ulysse Chopard) movements. A year later they were awarded the “Watch of the Year” by Swiss magazine Montres Passion.

Chopard. Discover the making of the Palme d’Or
Source: Chopard. Discover the making of the Palme d’Or on http://www.chopard.com/palme-d-or

In 1998, Chopard became the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival, designing the Palme d’Or, which every film director hopes to win one day. Caroline Scheufele was asked to redesign the Palme: the golden stalk now ended with a heart-shape – one of the company’s symbol – and the palm rests on an emerald-cut crystal echoing a diamond.

Julia Roberts wearing a chopard emerald and diamond pendant necklace

Julia Roberts at the 2016 Cannes festival wearing no shoes but a Chopard emerald and diamond pendant necklace.

Following last year’s outrage that women in flat shoes were turned away from the Red carpet, Julia Robert’s decision to wear Chopard seemed to be the clear choice. Chopard embraced women’s empowerment in the 1980s and has once again been the preferred jeweler of influential women.

Chopard is no stranger to the motion picture awards. Since 2004, 13 Oscar winners have worn Chopard jewels such as:

Charlize Theron wearing chopard jewellery
Charlize Theron, 2004

Helen Mirren with her chopard jewellery
Helen Mirren, 2007

2004 – Charlize Theron, Best Actress, Monster
2005 – Hilary Swank, Best Actress, Million Dollar Baby
2006 – Rachel Weisz, Best Supporting Actress, The Constant Gardener
2007 – Helen Mirren, Best Actress, The Queen
2008 – Marion Cotillard, Best Actress, La Vie en Rose
2009 – Kate Winslet, Best Actress, The Reader
2009 – Penelope Cruz, Best Supporting Actress, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2010 – Mo’Nique, Best Supporting Actress, Precious
2011 – Colin Firth, Best Actor, The King’s Speech
2012 – Michel Hazanavicius, Best Director, The Artist
2013 – Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress, Silver Linings Playbook
2014 – Cate Blanchett, Best Actress, Blue Jasmine
2014 – Matthew McConaughey, Best Actor, Dallas Buyers Club
2015 – Julianne Moore, Best Actress, Still Alice
2015 – Eddie Redmayne, Best Actor, The Theory of Everything

With over 150 years of experience in luxury watchmaking and fine jewelry, Chopard has adapted and innovated, creating daring combinations of jewelry and watches which have become their signature pieces and most popular designs. Over the decades, Chopard has been able to reinvent itself always with the same elegant style without ever neglecting quality and refinement. To perpetuate this unique know-how, Chopard trains 25 apprentices in the art of watchmaking each year.

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The Rise of In-flight Watch Thefts

Once you’ve decided which luxury wristwatch (or wristwatches) you want to purchase, what’s the worst possible thing you can imagine happening after you strap it on for the first time?

nomos glashutte timepiece
Source: Author

You could drop it, but that’s no big deal – even though it’s expensive, any decent after-sales department can fix up a modern watch for you in a matter of weeks. Maybe the water resistance fails – yes, that’s annoying, but no doubt covered by your guarantee. In a terrifying scenario, your whole family might be kidnapped and held to ransom. Painful as it might be to part with your wrist candy, these luxuries pale into insignificance against things that actually matter in life. Also, you might be able to take some solace in the kidnapper’s obvious appreciation of haute horlogerie. A kindred, albeit criminally insane, spirit.

No, the worst thing that can happen to your beloved investment would be to have it stolen. But how could this happen? Surely anyone who has poured thousands into a decent timepiece would not just leave it lying around? As much as it begs belief, that’s exactly what’s been happening on a rash of recent flights. You might think this is pretty uncommon, but reported mid-air thefts rose by 25% in 2015, jumping from 48 cases in 2014, to 60 by year’s end.

You might roll your eyes and profess the careless owner had it coming, but it makes my blood run cold to imagine someone in 2016, boarding a flight with the intention of mid-air thievery. It is brazen beyond belief, but it’s happening. So what can you do to protect yourself?

Good Sense and Smart Storage Solutions

Firstly, unless it is absolutely necessary, do not travel with hundreds of thousands of dollars in your hand luggage (in both recent cases, the watches were nabbed along with a huge wedge of ready bank notes, stashed flippantly in an attaché case stored in an overhead locker).

pacsafe
Source: Pacsafe

Secondly, whatever precious cargo you are carrying should be kept with you at all times! Obviously wearing a watch is a very good way of protecting it during transit, but make sure you don’t shake hands with the Artful Dodger en route.

Sometimes, however, it is just as dangerous to wear a valuable watch. You may want to travel incognito, and avoid the prying stares of would-be thieves. In those instances, you should consider some kind of travel safe, or at the very least a secure briefcase that is small enough for you to store under your seat while flying.

Vigilance, as with all theft prevention, is key. It should never leave your attention when you are a steward of a potential heirloom. If you’re on a long haul flight and you might have to sleep, it’s probably worth quietly notifying the cabin crew that you are in possession of a valuable item(s), and even consider surreptitiously handcuffing yourself to your carry-on bag. It’s even more important if the watch has sentimental value, as that kind of problem can never be fixed, no matter how much money you throw at it.

About the Author

Rob Nudds is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market. You can read more of his work on aBlogtoWatch.com.

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