I am posting this story so that watch enthusiasts and all others may learn
from my recent, sad experience.
On the 25th of October, 2015, Antiquorum auctioned several watches in Hong
Kong. Among them was a watch that was stolen from me on the 18th of
January, 2011: My Langematik Anniversary Nr 185 / 500, the "Langematik of
the Shame," pictured here with photo credit to Antiquorum:
Here, the link to the auction in question:
As you see, Antiquorum auctioned only the watch, without any boxes or
papers. That's because I still have the original box and official Lange
papers that are unique to this specific watch Nr 185/500. The thief stole
only the watch, not the box and papers. I still have those.
It was a widely known and easily discoverable fact that this specific
Langematik Anniversary Nr 185/500 was stolen. See for yourself. Just type
"Langematik Anniversary Stolen" in Google, and you will find this link at
or near the top of the Google search results:
Notice that this link is to a Timezone forum -- a site that is, I think,
associated with Antiquorum -- and it appears at or near the top of the
This information is so easy to find, and such a widely known fact, that
the winning bidder -- an honest gentleman -- immediately discovered it
upon receiving the watch. He promptly contacted Antiquorum with this
information and returned the stolen watch to them. Weeks later, and only
after the "winner" applied some legal pressure to Antiquorum, did
Antiquorum begin to process his refund. [I know this because the buyer and
I communicated directly with each other after all this was done. We met
each other through a fellow collector who also had knowledge of this
Now, what happened can be summed in the following facts. These are just
facts and only facts. There are no assumptions, no guesses, no
subjectivity. I have all the correspondance between myself and Antiquorum,
and some people here have also witnessed these events unfold as I describe
On the advice of a friend, I contacted Antiquorum to tell them that I was
the legal owner of this watch which was stolen from me.
On the 4th of November, 2015, I received an email from Antiquorum that
said this, in part:
"It saddens me to hear about the theft of your timepieces. TO MOVE THIS
FORWARD [emphasis added], please do scan all your paperwork regarding the
watch, including the police report, as well as images of the box and any
other accessories you may have".
Some comments from my part: I immediately did exactly what Antiquorum
requested, scanning and sending them on the very next day the papers of my
Langematik Anniversary, the purchase invoice, the police report, and the
pictures of the boxes. And I confirmed with Antiquorum that I never
received any insurance money from the theft of this watch.
"To move this forward", they wrote. I had the naivety to think that it
would help me to get my watch back. I never thought that doing so would
only allow Antiquorum to cancel the auction and send the watch back to the
After submitting these scans to Antiquorum, I heard nothing. Then, about
ten days later, I contacted Antiquorum to inquire if things were going in
a positive way. Antiquorum answered that for the moment, they had no news
and I should wait ... Ok.
I then asked them, on the 2d of December, 2015, if there were some news...
And I received, in a very laconic way, this answer:
"We cancelled the sale of the Langematik Anniversary and RETURNED the
timepiece to the consignor".
You can imagine that I didn't give up, and after contacting Antiquorum NY,
I received this answer, on the 17th of December:
"We have consulted our legal counsel in NY and HK how to handle this case.
Due to the AMBIGUITY OF TITLE [emphasis added], we have been advised to
return the piece to the consignor."
A comment from my part: Where is this "AMBIGUITY OF TITLE"?...
- Who has the boxes and papers unique to this specific watch Nr 185/500? I
- Who has the invoice for this watch? I do.
- Who has the police report documenting the theft of this watch (22
watches were stolen to me on the very same day, by the way, and among
them, of course, this Langematik Anniversary )? I do.
So where is the "AMBIGUITY OF TITLE" here?
How could the "consignor" possibly justify ownership of this watch in a
better, more robust way than I did? It is impossible. How can he explain
that I have all the documents, the box, and the police report about that
watch -- and that this specific watch Nr 185/500 was documented as stolen
on the internet, on Timezone and in other places, long before this auction
happened? In what way can the consigner justify that he bought this watch
without box or papers and never bothered to inquire or learn that the
watch was stolen from a simple Google search? Note that this watch was
registered as stolen with Lange, too.
Was the consignor asked what kind of papers from Lange he could show to
justify its ownership?
Who does have an ambiguity of ownership, here? The consignor or me?
The answer is evident: Antiquorum's way of dealing with this matter is
unprofessional and deplorable. They asked me to justify my ownership, to
prove it, and in the end this just helped them to quickly return the watch
to the consignor who does not and cannot have better evidence of ownership
than I do. Antiquorum should have held this watch pending its eventual
return to me, its rightful owner.
And Antiquorum, a "professional" auction house specializing in watches,
never even checked to see if there was something on the internet or in
Lange's records about the possibility that this watch -- a limited edition
Lange without papers or boxes -- was stolen. This is something the winning
bidder did immediately, and he is not even a dealer, just a private
Remember this when you deal with Antiquorum: Be very careful. And if you
ever find Langematik Anniversary Nr 185 / 500, you now know the story. It
PS: Of course, I kept all the correspondence between myself and
Antiquorum, I have some witnesses of these exchanged emails, and I still
have all the original documents for my watch.