We all know the big boys of the watch auction world, Christie’s Sotheby’s and Antiquorum. But there’s more than one way to purchase a watch at auction and get a good deal. There’s a little known secret called the Property Room, an auction house that sells merchandise the police have seized from criminals or left unclaimed in the lost and found. You can benefit from the misdeeds of others without committing the crime and finding yourself in front of a judge in a nasty mood sentencing you to life in prison.There’s the usual stuff you might expect like bicycles, furniture, power tools, coins and cars. This time, though, there’s a true gem hidden within the other stuff going up on the auction block. It’s a Patek Philippe 3970E, a perpetual calendar chronograph with the Calibre 27-70- Q manual wind with its black croc strap and rose gold deployant fully signed with hallmarks. We’re talking about a coveted $100,000 plus watch that’s been out of production since 2005. Unbelievable, right? But it’s totally legit. This is the coppers and they have to make sure everything is on the up and up so they guarantee all items genuine, checked out by what they call “inventory experts”. All counterfeit goods get destroyed.
What’s great about bidding through the Property Room is that if you win you’re also giving back to the community. After the auction, a portion of the proceeds goes back to partner organisations, such as over 2,800 police departments, municipalities, museums and aquariums. Over $41 million bucks has gone back into communities all over the U.S.
Tom Lane, a former detective, established the Property Room in 2000 to help overloaded police departments who just don’t have the time or manpower to hold their own auctions. The goods can end up stuffed into a storage area never to see the light of day. When the cops did find the opportunity to hold an auction, then it was usually held in a parking lot on a holiday weekend without many bidders. Sure, it’s a for profit enterprise, but the Property Room generates cash for worthy causes without the hassle for the client.
Since the Property Room is a little known venue for watches, you just might score yourself an unbelievable deal. The 3970E is the first Patek Philippe Property Room is putting up for auction. Not a bad way to start off. In this case, crime just might pay off.
The Patek 3970E becomes available for bidding online May 9 and runs until the 15th.
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