Vintage Value Classes

Thread: Vintage Value Classes

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  1. #1
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Vintage Value Classes

    We still get lots of requests about "what is my watch worth" in spite of my sticky note on "7 Rules etc". So here is another take on the subject.
    I'll try to outline some classes of value of vintage watches (without an actual monetary figure). Remember we are a worldwide community so we have all kinds of currencies to deal with. Also my thoughts on the economics of restoration for each class.
    Before I begin, let me once again say that there's no point of talking about value unless you have a working, recently serviced timepiece in your hands. A non functional watch is the horological equivalent of a 1938 Packard in pieces in a farmer's barn somewhere.

    So here goes:

    Really Valuable
    Limited edition gold watches (Gruen 50th anniversary watch comes to mind.) Railroad grade pocket watch rarities. Antique Pateks, Vacherons, Rolexes. Museum quality stuff from 1800 or earlier. Count your blessings if you have these. Keep them purring in a fine box on a satin pillow, or in a safe.

    High End Collectible
    Vintage Omegas, Gruen curvex, Rolexes from the 1950s and 1960s, maybe some Hamiltons from the 1930s-1950s. Really nice chronos from the 1940s-1950s. Always worth fixing and keeping.

    Affordable Collectible
    Bulovas, Benrus, some non railroad grade pocket watches, mid-range but well known Swiss makers from the 1940s-1960s, Elgins, Walthams and Gruens from 1940-1960. Probably not worth fixing unless you love the brand, or it's an heirloom.

    Curiosities, Kitch and Junk
    Worn out 1960s and 1970s Swiss wind-ups, generic Swiss 1970s and 1980s autos with the same ETA movement in every model. You're kidding, right?

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage Value Classes

    Sorry for my honest comment, but this catogorization has to fail.
    I think you mentioned it once before: a watch is worth, what somebody is willing to pay for it!
    I saw watches been sold for 100 EUR, that would be much more collectible than some others sold for triple the money. The problem is, that the whole market is brand oriented. E.g. an old Zenith could have gone for chunk some years ago and now you a premium for the brand. Same for old Stowas. Why should they be more expensive than, let's say, old Oscos? Simply, because the brand is now more famous (nothing against Stowa, though).
    Don't know much about the American market, but there, for example, people pay imho far too much for a Seiko 6105-8110, just because it appeared in a movie!
    O.K. maybe it's not too much, but then the other Seikos are underpaid.

    I hope you got, what I mean.

    Cheers,

    Axel

  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Value Classes

    I would consider 100-300 Euros to be in the "affordable vintage class". And I agree that any system of value class will have as many exceptions as general "rules".
    I'm not saying that price has necessarily anything to do with quality either. Ultimately the price of any watch has to be agreed between buyer and seller. However people will pay more for a Gruen Curvex than other Gruens even though the quality is similar.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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