Quite frankly, I think FT is at least a little full of it here, using its coverage of wider securities and commodities markets to imply some level of expertise in the watch market that really isn’t demonstrated in the evidence presented.
Yes, FT is quite right that there are fewer really nice and notable watches coming to auction at some of the more well known houses, with more and more modern and even current models appearing instead. This however has less to do with anything intrinsic in the watch market itself than it does with the *auction* market, which is a very minor subset of the larger vintage watch market itself.
And with particular regard to Antiquorum and Patrizzi & Co., the lack of notable offerings of late likely has more to do with persistent spectres of allegations of previous misdeeds and shortfalls. More studious watch collectors typically regard Antiquorum’s offerings and descriptions with a degree of skepticism after controversies like the Omegamania sale. Patrizzi & Co.’s initial auction was crippled by severe technical problems with online bidding and some military watch offerings of very questionable authenticity.
It’s well known amongst collectors that many of the best and most desirable vintage watches are either traded amongst collectors themselves or proffered by knowledgeable, reputable private dealers well away from the open market. And many of those dealers have been doing quite well even in the downturn. FT is apparently wholly oblivious to this however.