Last week Paul Maudsley, international head of Bonhams auctioneers watch department resigned. Paul, based in London, had been with Bonhams for 15 years and the announcement came as somewhat of a surprise to the industry. Although it's well known he had been regularly courted by all of the major houses over the last several years due to his excellent reputation for honesty and his knowledge on vintage watches, particularly vintage sports Rolex, (a vital field of knowledge in todays auction scene), he had previously always declined their efforts and instead decided to stay with Bonhams. Considering he almost single handed built the watch department and sat on the London board of directors for the company, not to mention his love of vintage cars, a field Bonhams excel in, he seemed destined to remain with them.
Rumors are rife with regards to his next position but Paul is, understandably, keeping quiet. We will just have to wait 6 months until his garden leave is complete and the news made public for any confirmation.
In other news it is now all but official Tim Bourne, the international head of Sotheby's watch department, will be relocated from Hong Kong to London shortly to support Geneva and continue his role from a more centrally located time-zone. (A move I advised he make years ago.) His relocation means we could also see Sotheby's re-launch London watch auctions in 2015. Of course the big question is, will Paul Maudsley be with Sotheby's as head of Europe, or compete against them?
Having worked within the same office with both Paul Maudsley while at Bonhams and Tim Bourne at Sotheby's, I sincerely hope we see them competing in London as they are stronger apart than together; between the two I know who I would entrust with my watch for auction and wish him all the best in his new position, wherever it may be.