Peter Machlup is a compulsive collector of wristwatches. He has built up a business dealing in new and second-hand collectible watches and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the value of the most important brands. He has strict criteria that determine the watches he buys and sells: only those that hold their value over time cross the threshold of his offices in Johannesburg’s stylish Melrose Arch complex.
Peter’s business differs from that of a watch retailer. Retailers have a set number of brands; they buy for a certain price and sell for that price plus a set mark-up.
Like most serious collectors, Peter only deals in mechanical watches. Peter can offer shrewd advice about the collectability and value of a range of watches, mainly Rolex, Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Breitling, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne and Officine Panerai, AP Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, Hublot, and Franck Muller. This means he has only the best, most exciting of various ranges to show his clients. “The advantage is that if I am prepared to sell it, I am prepared to buy it back.” This is the strength of Peter’s service. Many of his clients regularly buy and sell back to him. His second-hand watches are in first class condition, from new barely worn watches to antique collectibles and all come with a guarantee and valuation.
The experience of buying a watch from Peter is unique, something you will never experience in a retail shop in Sandton, New York, Tokyo or Paris. He clearly loves the cut and thrust of negotiation as much as he loves the watches themselves. Part of the pleasure is sitting in his elegant offices, sipping espresso, paging through his library of watch-related volumes and listening to him relate the background to each timepiece. It is easy to become more than just a buyer of one watch and to turn into one of the growing community of watch collectors.