Meet Our Watch Expert: Tomas Aznar

Tomas Aznar brings a wealth of technical watchmaking experience to our Watches Department, having previously worked with the likes of Omega and Rolex…


15/11/2021     Watches

“My dad had a collection of watches and clocks, and that’s what first got me interested in them. I was going to get a much more office-based job, but one day thought - what if I became a watchmaker?”

Tomas completed his watchmaking studies at 18 years old, at a specialist school in Madrid, going on to work for Omega and becoming a teacher of mechanical watchmaking. After working with a variety of top names in Madrid, Tomas came to London and worked for different companies as both a mechanical watch specialist and a watchmaker – before joining the world of auctions at Chiswick as our Head of Watches.

“I love working in auctions because you get to see all kind of watches – and meet all kinds of customers. Every day I come into contact with different watches, studying them, opening them – I love that. Every day is something new, and you never know what might next come through the door.”

Technical approach

Tomas also brings a meticulous, thorough and rigorous approach to his work, drawing on his technical knowledge – as seen in action in the photograph above. When cataloguing watches for his sale, he will open every single one to check the serial number, which allows him to authenticate the provenance of each watch.

When first buying a watch, it can be registered through its unique serial number; this recorded information means that ownership and authenticity can be traced, as well as other items – and a key part of authenticating a genuine watch.

“We check serial numbers against the official watches register – for example, to check that they are not stolen, which is where they would be reported. You check against the serial number, case and mechanism. We are also check the year, in case we don’t have the paperwork and you can that check that the model in front of you is real as well. If we have the watch paperwork, we still check against the serial number, case and mechanism, which all must all match – and this doesn’t always happen!”

As a specialist item where fakes are getting more and more sophisticated, even eBay has set up its own counterfeits laboratory, where all watches for sale must first be sent. We are particularly unique at Chiswick, to be able to include this service in house through Tomas’s expertise and background.

He will then review the watch’s movement, which is detailed in the condition report. The movements of a watch are what holds all of its timekeeping power and functionality; if these intricate movements are not precise, it will not accurately tell the time.

“I have been told by most of our buyers that something that provides them with greater confidence in bidding is the fact we check all the watches, inside and out, every single part and component, to be sure they are genuine – something that is even more important now, given the amount of credible fakes circulating the market. Just last month, I had to send back over 30 watches that turned to be fakes.”

“My diligence in checking serial numbers and movements allows us to provide you with the most accurate information on your watch - guaranteeing its authenticity for both buyers and sellers.”

Where necessary, Tomas will use his watchmaking experience to also provide some fixes, as well as polishing ahead of sale. 

Exciting lots

“One of my most interesting lots at Chiswick was an Omega Pre-Moon Speedmaster which sold for £16,250, including Buyer's Premium, in our November 2019 auction. This kind was the only watch qualified by NASA for extravehicular activity use in 1969 (the year of the Moon landing) and was made famous by Edward White, the American NASA astronaut who wore it during his spacewalk.”

Our most recent Watches sale on 9 November had some incredible results, with 73% sold by value and by lot and a hammer total of £229,510. The top lot was a Rolex 18 Carat Rose Gold Daytona Men’s Watch, which sold for £38,750 including Buyer’s Premium, closely followed by a Chopard Rose Gold and Diamond Watch, designed by Sir Elton John for his AIDS Foundation, which sold for £35,000, including Buyer’s Premium. 

“I was really happy with the most recent sale because we achieved incredible prices – prices similar to some of the very top auction houses, so I am happy with that. We had customers buying from all over the world – Italy, France, Spain, the US.

“The buyers also trust us; they trusted our condition reports, the checks we do, and have faith in buying with us - all of this takes time.”

 

Interested in consigning with Chiswick Auctions? Get in touch with Tomas Aznar tomas.aznar@chiswickauctions.co.uk

See the results of our latest Watches auction here.