CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: How is a wristwatch worth the same as a house? Time will tell

Second Hand For 50 Grand

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Bent Coppers: Crossing The Line Of Duty

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The age-old advertiser’s question has been solved: ‘What do you get the man who has everything?’ The answer is: ‘More of the same.’

Insurance broker Mark in London has so many watches that his bedroom drawers are overflowing. When he contacted a dealer on Second Hand For 50 Grand (C4) to sell one, he ended up with two more. ‘Collecting is an illness,’ he declared unrepentantly, ‘or an addiction.’

The same applies to women who have everything, of course, only more so. Nail stylist Kristen has amassed an array of designer handbags worth £150,000. The display shelves fill a wall of her bedroom.

Asked what her partner thinks of her compulsion, she said: ‘He wears the trousers . . . but I control the zipper.’ Kristen has her eye on a vintage quilted Chanel bag from the early Nineties, with a price tag of £3,499. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!

Channel 4 has its own obsession with conspicuous consumption, but the discovery that gilded goods can be even more valuable when they¿re ¿pre-loved¿ is a fresh twist on this shallow genre, CHRISTOPHER STEVENS writes on Second Hand For 50 Grand (pictured)

Channel 4 has its own obsession with conspicuous consumption, but the discovery that gilded goods can be even more valuable when they¿re ¿pre-loved¿ is a fresh twist on this shallow genre, CHRISTOPHER STEVENS writes on Second Hand For 50 Grand (pictured)

Channel 4 has its own obsession with conspicuous consumption, but the discovery that gilded goods can be even more valuable when they’re ‘pre-loved’ is a fresh twist on this shallow genre, CHRISTOPHER STEVENS writes on Second Hand For 50 Grand (pictured)

Channel 4 has its own obsession with conspicuous consumption, but the discovery that gilded goods can be even more valuable when they’re ‘pre-loved’ is a fresh twist on this shallow genre.

Classic car prices have soared in the past 20 years. Bangers And Cash, on the Yesterday channel, regularly sees everything from Model Ts to E-Types selling for double the estimate. 

Now it seems luxury brands could prove lucrative investments too. In Bridgend, South Wales, 24-year-old Hywel inherited a 1963 Rolex Submariner from his grandad, who thought it could be worth £800.

A family friend who knew a thing or two about watches reckoned it might fetch far more, perhaps 20 grand. But after a phone call to an unnamed buyer, the watch went for £140,000.

You can get a house in Bridgend for that sort of money . . . which is exactly what Hywel intends to do.

This trivial, one-off show made no attempt to understand how any wristwatch is worth so much. 

The timepiece Mark offloaded was also a Rolex, a 1967 Daytona — the type favoured by Paul Newman. Another anonymous collector paid a quarter of a million for that one.

There’s no reason to suspect that any of these nameless buyers are oligarchs, drug dealers or kingpins of organised crime, laundering their billions.

Still, you can’t help noticing that watches and handbags, like gold or jewellery, are the very definition of portable wealth.

Snake oil of the night: Joe Lycett was swigging from a bottle in a brown paper bag on The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC1). Closer inspection revealed it was judge Esme Young’s ‘revitalising tonic’. Bet that puts hair on your chest. 

The villains of the Seventies had less glamorous tastes. Bent Coppers: Crossing The Line Of Duty (BBC2) told how the commander of the Flying Squad, Ken Drury, got so fat on boozy free dinners in Soho that the local porn king started to worry.

If Dodgy Ken keeled over from a heart attack, the sex shop owner might not be able to find another senior policeman so amenable to bribery. So he bought him a rowing machine.

He needn’t have worried. As this series makes shockingly clear, Scotland Yard was corrupt from the top down. 

Even now, the retired detectives and former crime reporters supplying the anecdotes can’t hide their delight at how grievous it was. 

The villains of the Seventies had less glamorous tastes. Bent Coppers: Crossing The Line Of Duty (BBC2, pictured) shows that even now, the retired detectives and former crime reporters supplying the anecdotes can¿t hide their delight at how grievous it was

The villains of the Seventies had less glamorous tastes. Bent Coppers: Crossing The Line Of Duty (BBC2, pictured) shows that even now, the retired detectives and former crime reporters supplying the anecdotes can¿t hide their delight at how grievous it was

The villains of the Seventies had less glamorous tastes. Bent Coppers: Crossing The Line Of Duty (BBC2, pictured) shows that even now, the retired detectives and former crime reporters supplying the anecdotes can’t hide their delight at how grievous it was

Every month, there’d be a raid. Bobbies stormed in and marched off with boxes of dirty books. This became such a regular occurrence that the assistant behind the counter wouldn’t bother looking up.

Within a couple of hours, the shelves were restocked with magazines from storage rooms above the Chinese restaurants – ‘like a porn ammo dump’, remembered one local. 

Meanwhile, the shop owner could drop round to Holborn police station at his convenience, and buy back the confiscated material.

All of which gives new meaning to that timeless line from The Sweeney: ‘Get your trousers on, you’re nicked.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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