Name: Michael Ayres
Job Role: Head of Valuations
Experience: 29 years in the industry, just over 2 years at H&T
I began my career where I grew up, in London, at an independent jeweller. During my time
there I developed an interest in high-end watches and decided to pursue employment within
a pawnbroker so that I could learn about a wider variety of luxury items. Throughout the
years, I’ve worked my way up to Head of Valuations here at H&T.
My role covers the running of H&T’s flagship Bond Street branch, the management of the
valuations team and overseeing diamond and luxury watch appraisals. I really love Patek
Philippe and original Art Deco jewellery pieces, so these are a particular highlight when they
come into the store.
One of my more memorable valuations was a wonderful collection of signed period jewellery,
which included fine pieces from Cartier, Mauboussin and VanCleef & Arpels. This valuation
resulted in a pawn loan of over £500,000 and was certainly a very memorable highlight of
my time here thus far.
Name: Emma O'Keeffe
Job Role: Watch Specialist
Experience: 10 years in the industry and 3 years with H&T
I come from Kent, and began my career at a retail jewellery store. After working there as the
manager for a number of years, I developed a growing interest in luxury watches and
decided to pursue a career in pawnbroking. I’ve learned a huge amount about high-end
watches and other luxury items since I started out, and I’m now an in-house Watch
Specialist for H&T.
My role is really varied and involves valuing and authenticating high-end watches that come
to us here at the Bond Street store. We get watches from a wide range of eras and
designers, so there’s always something new to discover and admire. My personal favourite
valuation has to be a rose gold Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater timepiece, and I’m
also a huge fan of the Jaeger Le-Coultre brand.
Name: Graham Bond
Job Role: Watch Specialist
Experience: 7 years in the industry and 18 months at H&T
An interest in the rare and unusual inspired me to look into a career in pawnbroking, and I
got my first job in the industry when I was 16 and living in Essex. I continued working part-
time throughout university and have held various positions throughout my time in the
industry, which has afforded me a wealth of knowledge about fine jewellery, high-end
watches and other luxury goods.
My current role as one of H&T’s in-house Watch Specialists requires a keen eye for detail,
as I need to be able to spot rare items, irregularities and model specifics; not just to
authenticate the piece, but to also provide as accurate a valuation as possible. I also get to
visit our branches to view rare or unusual watches that need a closer inspection. This is a
highlight, as I really enjoy meeting colleagues and teaching them something they may not
have known before.
I deal with high-end watches and certain other luxury items on a daily basis, and have
become fond of 50’s and 60’s era Omega and Rolex timepieces, with the Universal
Polerouter being a particular favourite. My most memorable valuation so far, however, was a
Rolex from the 90’s – a stunning 18ct gold Day-Date with pyramid bezel and bracelet.
Name: Laura King
Job Role: Diamond specialist
Experience: 12.5 years in the industry, with almost 6 years at H&T
I hail from from Kent, and have always had a passion for luxury items, diamonds, and
gemstones – with Tiffany & Co. and Jaeger Le-Coultre being my favourite brands. I was
inspired to seek a career in the jewellery industry, so I applied to a role in my local H&T
branch in order to learn about all types of fine jewellery; from antique pieces to modern
designs. Happily, I gained the position and I’ve worked my way up to the role of Diamond
Specialist over the last 6 years or so.
As well as authenticating and valuing fine jewellery and diamonds alongside my colleague
Debbie, I also deal with any luxury fashion items that are brought in to us - like designer
No day here is the same; my favourite valuation to date has to be when I was involved in
valuing a 5.20ct radiant cut flawless diamond set in platinum – it was stunning. Seeing high-
quality diamonds and lovely signed pieces of jewellery from a variety of luxury brands is a
great part of the job.