Anyone with even a casual knowledge of the coin and medal markets will be very familiar with Baldwin's.
As we've seen, they've been leading the way in the recent boom in Chinese and Russian numismatic collectibles, and have sold a variety of items for six-figures. For example, some truly extraordinary pieces from the Walter Mooromsky collection of Russian medals, and a $160,000 coin relating to the Mughal Emperor, sold in January.
The company has been running for nearly 140 years, so naturally it is experienced in these markets, but now they've decided to enter into a different market entirely: fine timepieces.
This is likely to prove a very shrewd move, with the market in the ascendency. Likewise the company's decision to hold their first sale in Hong Kong will make it as accessible as possible to the ever more powerful Chinese collectibles markets.
China has certainly seen an increased interest in luxury watches, and so Baldwin's should see some eager bidders in their first timepiece auction which will take place on April 7th.
The sale will see an impressive list of great watchmakers represented, including such names as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Rolex, Cartier, IWC and Audemars Piguet. Some of the pieces on offer are relatively gentle on the pocket, calling for no more than US$1,000.
More exceptional watches are also available however. Two lots stand out in particular:
An extremely elegant Patek Philippe with Nouvelle Lemania movement circa 1990 (Ref. 3970EP, Movement No.2869987 Case No.875596) is a fine platinum, manually-wound, perpetual calendar, chronograph wristwatch with phases of the moon and a platinum buckle.
This carries an estimate of $128,000-192,000, and should make an excellent investment, but it is not the most likely top lot.
That honour is expected to go to an IWC Il Destriero Scafusia Grand Complication - a highly important, limited edition pink gold piece. It boasts a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, split second chronograph and a tourbillon, not to mention a moonphases display.
This is expected to sell for US$168,000-232,000. Managing Director Ian Goldbart commented:
"We are delighted to have teamed up with local Hong Kong watch specialists to produce our first Hong Kong Watch auction.
"Watch trading is one of the fastest growing areas of the Chinese and Hong Kong collectibles market and we are fortunate to be working with a group of people who are both passionate about, and dedicated to, horology.
"A H Baldwin & Sons Ltd. is joint sponsor of the Hong Kong Coin and Watch Fair so the move into this area was a logical progression for us, allowing us to build on previous auction success in Hong Kong and further strengthening our position in the global collectibles market."