Vintage Watch Market

Thread: Vintage Watch Market

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  1. #1
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Vintage Watch Market

    Hi -

    As your friendly moderator, one of the things I'll try to do is to help give people an idea of how the vintage watch market is going.

    Now there's a lot of various on-line markets out there. The one we all know and love/hate/adore/despise is eBay. It's the 500 lb gorilla in the vintage watch market.

    I've been watching eBay price development for quite a while, and there is a general, slow increase in some kinds of watches being sold on eBay. This doesn't mean that vintage watches are going to be a great investment opportunity - they're generally not, as much as we all want to find that perfect Omega Seamaster 300 in NOS put up by a disgruntled former wife for immediate sale for $1.

    What I will be starting here is a continuing series under this thread: the volume of the vintage watch market on eBay Germany. This is under the rubrik "Sammleruhren" and I'm only going to cover the one category that, for me, really represents the vintage watch market: watches up to and including 1970. This is the one category that really does tend to have only vintage watches on offer: many other categories (such as military vintage) has lots of watches that simply don't belong there.

    Today's market volume:

    2004 watches total offered
    563 auctions ending within 24 hours

    That's all I'm going to start gathering data on. This will be going into an Excel spreadsheet and over the next several months I will be posting some charts based on this.

    I've looked at using some searches, but to be honest, I can't spend too much time on this.

    Hey, it's not the greatest statistic, but it's the only one out there, as far as I know. If anyone has a better idea of how we can get a better idea of the size of the vintage watch market, talk about it here!
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  2. #2
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    Hi John,
    I think it's really a great idea to follow eBay as a market indicator. I know that the Elgin watch serial number database did that for a while in the case of pocket watches but they seem to have stopped after 2002 or so.
    I'm not aware of anybody else doing this sort of thing so any data you can glean will be useful.
    In spite of what one may think of eBay it is generally the most efficient marketplace for vintage pricing that I know of.
    This can be a major time consumer so don't get burned out.

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

  3. #3
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    Hi Ray -

    Yep, eBay can be a *huge* time consumer. I spend usually a few minutes a day perusing it and at least once a week will spend an hour or more checking out what's out there.

    I admire eBay immensely as an economist, because it is a truly outstanding market. It has its flaws - been burned once - but overall it really does a great job.

    The key for success is the same as it is at any swap meet: know what it is you are looking for, research before making a bid, and don't let the seller and others bidding how much you really, really want the watch. I love snipers for this reason.

    There's only one caveat on the data: I collect it in the evening, at home, since eBay is one of the banned sites at work.

    JohnF
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  5. #4
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    Today's market volume:

    2126 watches total offered
    203 auctions ending within 24 hours

    Down quite a bit on the short-term side, unusual for a weekend.
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  6. #5
    Member kamerawerx's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    First of all welcome, John F, as a new moderator!

    I don't post a lot, but I am (modestly) collecting vintage Omega. And I find shopping on ebay a "fascinating" pasttime. But I don't see how you can do it so quickly. For me it can take hours at a time every few days just to get through the Omega stuff!

    But then, I do stop at all those "no photo" listings, to see what it really is. And I've come to love the "blurry pictures are the best I can do" entries. I have actually won a few really nice watches from those (I have my careful methodology at this).

    And yes, I agree sniping is the best way to go. That way I'm not tempted to spend more than what I think a piece is worth. Very frustrating to lose by two dollars! And conversely, interesting to see how some things went way out of my reach! At times it seems I have a very good eye for desireable stuff!

    I will be interested to observe your tracking of the vintage market. Of even more value would be an "average price" statistic. I wonder if that's possible?

    Perhaps if you chose an "average" commonly listed watch (for example, "1950's Seamaster") and went to the section on ebay called "What is my item worth?" you may be able to extract useful data. Although some of them will have sold for $50. and some for $500., the average price trended over time may still be meaningful.

    At any rate, I look forward to watching your project.

    Best Regards!


  7. #6
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    Hi -

    I'm reluctant to go for an average price, since there are too many factors involved: further, choosing the "average" watch to determine the "average" price includes too many subjective variables.

    Besides, if I chose an Omega all the Rolex fans would be disappointed, and if I chose what I watch (Gruen), then all the Omega folks are disappointed. Let alone the Longines and and and...

    It's not the greatest of statistics, but it's a start.

    Geez, second day and already the users are complaining...

    Just kidding: I'm an economist and I give our database people an incredibly hard time on data quality...

    JohnF
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  8. #7
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    So, Saturday numbers:

    1971 total, 486 within 24 hours.

    The weekend frenzy picks up...
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  9. #8
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    And I can't believe I forgot to post yesterday...

    Sun: 1994, 397

    Mon: 2006, 161

    And I've seen now that eBay does offer statistical analyses of its databases: $240/year, $20/month.

    But you can't use it for any publication purposes. As an economist, I'd LOVE to get my hands on THAT database: imagine a constantly updating average price database for all sorts of commodities? Coooooool.

    JohnF
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  10. #9
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    Today: 2068, 196
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  11. #10
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Watch Market

    Today's tally:

    2152, 163
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