Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Patrizzi's Honor

After three months, the former head of famed horological auction house Anitquorum fired back at The Wall Street Journal in an open letter, parts of which were reprinted in the Feb 2008 issue of WatchTime magazine. The letter was written in response to the WSJ's front page article of Oct 8, 2007, in which it was implied that the practice of allowing watchmakers to purchase their own products at single-brand auctions was of a dubious ethical nature. In my personal opinion, the letter Patrizzi wrote was nothing more than a sophisticated version of "I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I". Much more helpful and to the point of clarifying the issues at hand was the editor's letter at the front of the magazine written by WatchTime's Joe Thompson. His points in a nutshell: 1. the ethical issues surrounding watch auctions and the battle over control of Antiquorum are separate issues and remain largely unrelated. 2. That people at the inside of watch auctions know about the practice of companies buying their own wares, and that this is not considered unethical, and 3. that the implication that themed auctions in connection with "artificial" price inflation driving up market prices may be overstating the impact of these auctions. He sites many other forces that contribute greatly to the constantly rising prices of high-end watches, and makes other very relevant points concerning the Patrizzi "scandal". I suspect that Mr. Thompson knows Patrizzi well, and probably considers him a friend, so it is not surprising that he would come to his defense, though he does a good job of maintaining a professional journalistic distance.
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