Shaking up Australia's fraternity of watch aficionados this month is the news that watch dealer and industry authority, Horology House, has claimed to be the victim of a scam surrounding the sales of fake Rolex timepieces.
Last week, a buyer took to the popular online Rolex Forum to share his account of purchasing a Rolex Daytona (116500LN) for a $29,000 AUD from Christopher Essery, founder and owner of Horology House.
Executive Style attempted to contact Essery for comment however so far the specialist has chosen not to reply.
A reply from Horology House
Essery, however, did provide a statement via Horology House Instagram account, dated 31st January, 2020:
"Some of you may or may not be aware that I recently came into issues with the sale of a replica watch. I feel stupid, sick, numb, upset, and frustrated that I've potentially passed this onto a buyer."
"After a few days, the buyer returned the watch to me, and immediately received a full refund. Upon inspection, the watch is a replica...
"I'll be taking some time away with my family to personally deal with this."
Executive Style also reached out to Rolex Australia to gauge if they were aware of Essery's dealings with watch buyers in Australia but the Swiss brand has declined to comment.
A prominent watch authority
Until recently, Essery was considered a prominent watch figure in Australia, synonymous amongst collectors and buyers for his popular reselling site Horology House, watch reviews via his eponymous YouTube channel, and founding popular Facebook forum Australian Watch Buy, Sell, And Swap (AWBSS). Essery was also a moderator for the Australian Watch Forum (AWF) Facebook group - arguably two of the largest Facebook watch groups in the Horological community.
During this time, he garnered the trust of thousands of watch collectors, not only in Australia but around the world for his knowledge of luxury timepieces. Essery even posted a video on his YouTube channel on how to spot a fake Rolex. This video has since been deleted.
Since the allegations were made, the Horology House website has been deactivated, along with its Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, including all of Essery's personal accounts such as Instagram.
The initial forum post dated on the 31st of January 2020 documenting the buyer's experience with Essery and the sale of a fake Rolex has seen a swift backlash from watch buyers shocked by the whole ordeal.
The ramifications of the sale could be damaging for the industry as a whole; an industry built on knowledge and trust.
Tricking an expert
According to Essery, he was not aware that the watch was a fake. A conversation between Essery and the buyer via Whatsapp released earlier last week shows Essery believed he was selling what he thought was an authentic Rolex Daytona. From the two public statements Essery has since made, he stands firm that he did not know the Rolex Daytona he sold was not genuine.
What this means?
Collectors will often warn that it is nearly impossible to purchase a 'grail' timepiece, such as a Rolex GMT or Rolex Daytona direct from boutique, with resell values going into figures in excess of $30K, $40K and $50K AUD.
But with the current resell market showing signs of instability, it begs the question what can big brands do to stop similar events as those surrounding Essery and Horology House happening again and what can the resell market do to regain the trust of buyers?