Aurel Bacs: Lessons from a “proper watch”

Always go for the best quality you can afford, do your homework and stay curious. Those are just a few tips that Aurel Bacs, the epitome of a timepiece connoisseur, shares with The Journal. In a wide-ranging interview, Bacs discusses his career, the future of watch collecting and how his first “proper watch” sparked his life-long love of mechanical watches.


He’s the main mover and shaker in the watch-auction industry, putting some of the most expensive and well-known pieces on the block and selling them at record-breaking prices. But that’s only part of Aurel Bacs’ story. The “Bacs” of the industry powerhouse Bacs & Russo - he and his wife Livia Russo run the watches department of Phillips auction house - is also a passionate collector of timepieces, something that started during his teen years, but not without a bump.


“Back then, all my friends had those digital plastic watches with an LCD screen and a calculator on the front. That’s what I wanted. But my parents wanted to convince me to get something proper. Whereas I won the first round by getting my terrible cheap plastic watch that broke in a few weeks, as my parents predicted, they gave me a second chance to receive proper watch”.  That “proper watch” was an IWC.


The Journal talked with Bacs to learn more about his early start in the auction world, his tips on getting started as a collector, gender balance in the auction industry and the impact of digital on deciding which timepiece you should buy – or shouldn’t. 


Listen to the interview below.


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