Watchmakers do often buy back certain watches for their archives much as certain jewelers do with rare pieces they want to hold on to but in the case of Omega it seems that something more might be going on. Omega was seeking to restore its reputation for fine mechanical watches after years of making quartz timepieces. Turning to Antiquorum was part of a multi-tiered campaign that included celebrity spokespeople. Patrizzi thought an Omega-only auction could help give the brand new cachet. One interesting detail though, Antiquorum couldn't vouch for the authenticity of watches that are mass-produced so Omega agreed to guarantee the authenticity of all watches sold at the auction and supplied vintage timepieces from its own collection for the sale. The sale, which was promoted in 11 cities, brought in $5.5 million last April, of 300 lots, Patrizzi says Omega bid on around 80. Did this artificially inflate the prices on some lots? That's the major concern.
Price fixing allegations on collectibles are nothing new. Perhaps the most dramatic example is the Sotheby's-Christies auction house scandal memorably detailed in The Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason. In the world of collectibles where value is determined by what people will pay, greed often takes over.