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Midland/brunel Watch And Clock Fair

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Dear friends,


I had the chance of experiencing first hand the antique watch fair held at Brunel University (Uxbridge, London) last Sunday 6 September. This event does not seem to be widely advertised, so perhaps reporting it here will alert other fellow enthusiasts.


Let's begin with the location. For those living closer to Brunel University, the official fair's website still announces that the next event (13 December) will be held at the Sports Hall. This information is not very precise, as the university campus has several sports halls, some quite far apart. The actual venue is the basement of the Sports Centre. This is the building housing the 'More Energy Brunel Fitness Centre' and here is a map for access. The last thing you want is wandering lost on a Sunday morning.


The fair run from 9 am to 2.30 pm but I only needed over an hour to thoroughly check all stalls and I recognise this is considerably more than any returning visitor would require. The number of stalls was far less than the 100 mentioned in the official website. In fact, the number of sellers was probably below 50. For those closer to Birmingham, I understand the Midland fair is bigger in size and it also occurs more frequently (five times a year against three times only).


Access to the fair is granted prior payment of a fee which decreases every two hours. So from 9:00 to 11:00 the fee is £5, but from 11:00 to 13:00, £2.50, and, finally, from 13:00 to 14:30 it is £1. My view is there is no need to rush in early. After all Sundays are for slacking. I would not be too concerned about someone else being there first as every collector has a different eye and a different target. Once you pay, they stamp your hand like they do in night clubs and you can get in.


Inside there was no disco ball but luckily for me most of the stalls had some pocket watches to train my eye. There were less clocks and less wristwatches. As far as tools and spares are concerned, there was not much stock at all (no mainsprings for example). I would say part of the sellers were retired collectors and part were professionals or semi-professionals. Some were friendly and helpful and some were not.


As for the sellers-collectors, their obvious aim is to offload some of their less desired collection items, even selling watches from friends. Other sellers, the semi-professionals, mostly offer irretrievable and overpriced junk, no actual knowledge and bad manners. The professionals have top quality and top prices and they know it.


In the end I bought from two of the nicer elderly collectors, an English silver full hunter key wind lever fusee pocket watch and, surprise, a German Kern anniversary clock (exactly like the one in the photo attached but gilt colour), none of which work but they tick and hope to restore to full working condition eventually. These two may be the subject of separate posts in the future.


I would like to hear if you have any experience about this or other similar fairs.


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I used to attend regularly but I have found over the years that there are less & less tools for sale & more offloading of undesirable watches & clocks. As you say there are also some really nice watches & clocks but no bargains.

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