Cheap sources for fine watches

Thread: Cheap sources for fine watches

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  1. #1
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    Cheap sources for fine watches

    Done a few years past, but still applicable is my report of sources for fine old watch collectibles with resulting examples. Still have most of these, but a couple financed quite a few other good purchases. The Lemania actually came from owner's modest estate sale and Patek from owner's friend. Thus all from different kinds of sources. No collectors or watch dealers. Craigs list and ebay are possibles but so far for me have not been cheap sources for good stuff. Just had to do complete computer recovery because of an ebay listing of a 50th anniversary gruen. Got thru firewall and a refreshed Norton. Massive virus from someone mad at ebay?

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    Last edited by artb; February 3rd, 2010 at 17:09. Reason: add and clarify

  2. #2
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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    Hi artb,

    If ever somebody would know a generally cheap source, he would not
    publish it here. But I suspect there is no generally cheap source.

    There are only two reasons that you get a watch (or anything else)
    substantially lower than market price:
    1) The seller urgently needs money, and doesn't care for a fair price.
    2) The seller doesn't know what he is selling.

    And be sure, ebay or any other auction, or auction look alike, can't be
    cheep sources. You only win if you pay more than everybody else, and the
    greater the community the worse the purchase.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  3. #3
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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    And be sure, ebay or any other auction, or auction look alike, can't be
    cheep sources. You only win if you pay more than everybody else, and the
    greater the community the worse the purchase.
    Well that sounds depressing :(

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  5. #4
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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    May be depressing, but Roland is right. The point of this posting is to not ignore the unconventional sources or even the jewelers and antigue dealers that are not watch specialists.
    Last edited by artb; February 4th, 2010 at 00:16.

  6. #5
    Member Tony C.'s Avatar
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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    ...ebay or any other auction, or auction look alike, can't be cheep sources. You only win if you pay more than everybody else, and the greater the community the worse the purchase.
    I'm going to disagree with Roland on this point. My disagreement is not with the broad point that he is making, but rather the absolute terms in which he makes the point.

    Even on ebay, the biggest market in the history of the world, there are opportunities to find deeply undervalued, fine vintage watches. No, it doesn't happen often, and one must be either very lucky and/or diligent in the search. But it can and does happen on occasion.

    There are several insights that can help collectors increase the odds of finding the proverbial diamond in the rough, and I'll mention two for the benefit of forum members. The first is to not take anything for granted with regards to ebay search functions. In other words, even so-called "advanced" searches may not be quite what they appear to be. I won't be more specific than that, but anyone who is interested should be able to figure out where I am heading with this point.

    Secondly, there are extremely fine and high-quality vintage watches that fly under the radar screen, so to speak. So while you aren't likely to ever find a bargain on a vintage Rolex Submariner, or Vacheron & Constantin, etc., there are certain individual watches that were manufactured by good-class companies that are as (or nearly as) fine as some of the very best of their better known counterparts.

    For example, a few months ago I acquired a superb vintage Movado with a chronometer grade movement on ebay. Everything about the watch is outstanding, from the case, to the dial, to the exceptional movement. And while it wasn't "cheap", it went for far less than I believe it to be worth. This acquisition perfectly illustrates the two above points. It was well below the radar screen, as it isn't technically a chronometer, and there is a broad lack of appreciation for the vintage Movado movements. It was also sold in a European country, and therefore would not have shown up on many search results, eliminating many potential bidders.

    Again, I don't dispute Roland's main point. But there is more than a glimmer of hope for those who learn how to search effectively, and learn how to discern fine, under-appreciated watches.
    Last edited by Tony C.; February 4th, 2010 at 03:08.

  7. #6
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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony C. View Post
    Again, I don't dispute Roland's main point. But there is more than a glimmer of hope for those who learn how to search effectively, and learn how to discern fine, under-appreciated watches.
    I'll back Tony up here. Dr. Ranfft is correct in broad terms, but Tony has found the exception(s) that some of us know how to search for. A few years back, Longines was the biggest bargain in vintage brands. Now that their modern offerings are becoming popular again, interest in their vintage pieces is rising. (I can offer examples if needed.) The prices rise in parallel with the attention. Speculating on what watches will appreciate is similar to speculating on the stock market - it's risky but can be rewarding for the initiated and knowledgeable collector who does their homework and keeps track of trends.

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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    I know a cheap source, I bought my -44 Laco B-uhr for approx 500USD, and the -76 Omega Chronoquartzfor I think around 1000USD.
    Do not ask, as there will be no answer. My lips are sealed by the glue named Greed!

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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    No market is 'perfect' in the economic sense. EBay is closer than most. But a great deal of persistence can find values.

    For example, I have 3 ETA 2892-A2 based watches in fine or new condition fished from the Bay. Prices: $250, $350, $350. Average time to find such a bargain: 1 year per watch.

    (Hey, I admit it... I'm so cheap it seemed like a good tradeoff!)
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  10. #9
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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    Thoughtful comments here. I have seen good deals for sellers and buyers from Craigs and ebay , but so far not for me except for a couple fine guitars.

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    Re: Cheap sources for fine watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Average time to find such a bargain: 1 year per watch.

    (Hey, I admit it... I'm so cheap it seemed like a good tradeoff!)
    For me, about one "find" avery other year, that includes my other hobby, Graal glass made by one artist in Sweden 60+ years ago.
    That is the fun, discovering something nobody else sees.
    Oh yeah, I get burned too!

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