We speak to David Sonnenthal, from Channel 4 TV show Four Rooms, and the founder of New Bond Street Pawnbrokers, Mayfair, about his view that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has had no noticeable effect on the UK’s luxury goods sector.
Sonnenthal has 17 years of experience running a luxury collateral loans company, New Bond Street Pawnbrokers. ‘While I can’t speak for other industries, ever since the referendum result it’s been business as usual for the luxury goods sector,’ he commented, ‘My shop in Mayfair deals with luxury items such as fine watches, classic cars, and art. We’re getting what we would consider a normal amount of customer enquiries, and we’re not worried about the impacts of Brexit, at least in the short term.’
‘While there was some noticeable hesitation from buyers and sellers of luxury goods in the direct aftermath of the vote, this evened out to pre-referendum levels within a fortnight. It’s fair to say that we were a bit worried on the morning of the results, as many of our customers will come from Europe to visit the shop. In reality, this turned out to be a non-issue for us. While the willingness of collectors to buy luxury goods can decrease along with the economy, as we saw when the financial crisis hit in 2008, it doesn’t necessarily decrease the value of luxury items. Consumer confidence is the real issue, and there doesn’t seem to be a problem there from where I’m standing.’
‘In September, a high-end Mayfair auction house, just around the corner from my shop – oversaw a world record sale. A near pristine 1956 Porsche 550 Spyder – a model made famous by its association with James Dean – went for £4,593,500. Not long after, the same auction house oversaw the sale of a beautiful blue diamond for £2,322,500. To me this is a very clear sign that, three months on from the Brexit vote, buyers in the luxury goods market are not put off by the UK’s political and economic situation.’
While many industries, and the economy at large, have been spooked by the uncertainty brought about by the landmark referendum result, the luxury goods market in Britain appears to be in good health.
The long term impacts of the Brexit vote are unclear, with commentators putting forward wildly differing views on the potential implications for the UK economy. While many are confident that the result is bad news for the economy, some have offered a more hopeful outlook.
David Sonnenthal is the director and founder of New Bond Street Pawnbrokers, a luxury pawnbroking service offering collateral loans against items at the highest end of the market. He founded the company in 1999 alongside his father, Michael Sonnenthal, with whom he still co-directs the business today. David’s primary expertise falls within the luxury watch market, however the team he has assembled at New Bond Street Pawnbrokers have a wealth of expertise across various niches within the luxury goods market.