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.
Name: Deborah Wynter
Job Role: Senior Jewellery & Luxury Asset Valuer
Experience: 30 years in the industry, with almost 2 years at H&T
Great managers and mentors have inspired my pawnbroking history, along with having
the privilege to see and handle a wide variation of jewellery. My day to day role entails
supporting the stores with up to date prices for jewellery containing diamonds and gemstones,
branded jewellery and important jewellery. Along with my colleague Laura, I price and
authenticate branded bags. My favourite pieces have been a GIA certified diamond, 5ct D/IF,
set in a platinum ring mount. Also, ten various Hermes bags for just one client!
One of my favourite luxury jewellers is Cartier and my favourite luxury watch brand is Patek
Philippe. They both have a long history and both retain exceptional second-hand and auction
My perfect day is seeing slightly out of the ordinary jewellery sets with high quality
gemstones and branded jewellery sets with interesting diamond designs.