Opinion: the overall vintage watchmarket and its developments over the past years…

Opinion: the overall vintage watchmarket and its developments over the past years…

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I know that this is a subjective view.  However, many dealers, traders, collectors and flipper kings have confirmed this which is prompting me to write this piece.  This was originally published on my facebook account months ago.  Considering the comments I received, I believe I should publish it here.

The overall market for used and vintage watches seems to develop in a very strange way. On the one hand, you have these auctions by Christies, Sothebys and Philipps where watches sell for millions of Dollars while similar watches in the regular market sit for months and longer until they sell for much much less. There is a huge disconnect between the “two markets”. Now, that is one side of the medal.

Let’s look at the other side, and there is at least one “other side”. Oh, and before I embark on my opinion here, I am not alone with my opinion, I talked to many dealers all over who share the same opinion, at least when spoken to in confidence.

So, while a few multimillionaires in auctions seem to be willing to pay virtually any price, in the real market, you cannot get access to the top 100000 wealthiest people in the world, you cannot find those who are on Forbes 400, or Forbes 1000 or anywhere like that. You deal with “normal” people. And they are worried, fearful, greedy, difficult, hard to deal with. They are in most part now people who sell the watch they just bought right away. I rarely find true collectors any more who tend to be very kindhearted people compared to the investor types. People are speculators and investors now. And this is the other side of the medal, people who want to make money with something they do not understand much of.

It is the same when everybody is buying stocks hoping for huge profit. Now, I wish that everybody is becoming a billionaire so they can spend their billions on my watches. Reality tells me something else though. It shows me that the chain of selling watches with profit is very short. It requires a lot of experience and knowledge if you want to make profit. And these people want to rely on someone like me not only to sell them an original watch, but to build in higher profit margins than I have as a registered business paying taxes and fees and advisors etc… That is something that is not possible.

If you want to make high profit, you have to take the risk yourself. I cannot be your investment advisor. I can be your trusted source for a good and sometimes even great vintage watch. I think an adjustment in expecations is urgent. And if you use my service, like any service, it is not for free. I know that in the current strange greed climate, that is very difficult to grasp by many clients. Oh well, so be it.

And on a third side of the medal, I am not your rug where you can clean your shoes on. If you are in a bad mood, that is not my problem. I do not care if your wife did not kiss you in the morning, or if you spilt your coffee. Keep that to yourself. I keep it to myself as well.

I know watches are emotional. I try to be as professional as possible as I was raised like that and schooled like that for many years while working for some of the biggest consulting companies in Chicago and New York City. I would hope that clients deliver a similar level of respect with me.

Thank you for reading.

Update based on the last 4 Geneva auctions:

While two years ago, a Rolex Paul Newman RCO fetched over 1000000 Million CHF, this last auction only brought about 500000 CHF.  Could this be an indicator for a turn in pricing?

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