Watch dealer Alex Stevens.

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1 How did you get your start as a dealer?

I spent my early years at local auctions and fairs with my father, who was then a book dealer. At 14, I began buying and selling collectables. Soon after I found a great interest in vintage watches and progressed on to my first vintage Rolex models during my A levels.

On leaving school I got the opportunity to work for five and a half years in the auction trade at Watches of Knightsbridge. I was fortunate to catalogue thousands of rare and interesting watches, as well as learn valuable trade knowledge.

2 What is one great discovery you’ve made?

My best would have to be an Omega Speedmaster with blue ‘Soleil’ dial, during my time in the auction world. There are few examples known of this very rare dial variation so they command strong interest when they do surface to the market.

It was just in the condition you want to find it. I helped consign the piece to auction and the vendor was very pleased with the result.


An Omega Speedmaster with blue ‘Soleil’ dial uncovered by Alex Stevens.

3 One lesson you would like to pass on to others in the trade?

Express your passion, interest and willingness to learn and seek practical work experience in your area. Highly motivated and knowledgeable young people are not so common in this trade.

Do not rush; allow yourself to progress naturally once you’ve learnt the core principles of the trade – it is a gradual process but starting young can fast-track your development massively.

4 Have you noticed any collecting trends in the last 6-12 months?

Vintage Cartier is very in vogue, particularly those from the London workshop. Cartier were wonderfully imaginative and daring with their case design, and these pieces are actually far rarer than people realise.

On a more general note, collectors are honing their collections to include only the best examples possible – it’s our job to go out and find them. Pieces of mediocre condition or quality are far harder to sell, even at appropriately lowered prices.

5 What is one thing you couldn’t do without?

My iPhone. My whole business is built around this little device. I am a big Instagram user and it acts as a virtual shop window to showcase pieces to collectors worldwide. It may surprise people but I don’t even own a camera – the iPhone takes amazing photos!

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