What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection
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  1. #1
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    What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Hi all,

    If this post is somehow not allowed in this forum I sincerely apologize. I did read the rules carefully, and I know no sales posts until you have a 100 posts (and I don't), but what I'm actually asking about in this post is for some advice on how to go about selling a vintage watch and watchmaking tool collection. So I hope that's allowed, because I badly need some advice (I think), but if it's not or if this is not the correct forum please let me know and I'll take down this post.

    Here's the situation: around 2009 my great uncle passed, and it looks like he was quite the watchmaking hobbyist / enthusiast / collector. Because we didn't see a whole store full of material, we doubt he was actually a professional watchmaker... it looks more like he was a very committed and talented hobbyist, with a definite 'thing' for old Bulova wristwatches. So basically, I have around 100 or more old Bulovas, some Elgins, Hamiltons, Zeniths, 1 IWC - mostly all wristwatches, with not many pocket watches. Also he had watchmaking tools. I don't think he has anything too amazing, but there are nice quality staking sets, jeweling tools, truing calipers, a Bergeon Platax tool, etc.

    When I inherited all this, I became completely engrossed with it, and became a bit of a hobbyist myself. I was a retired biochemist and un-retired geek, so really complex, demanding and difficult stuff was something I enjoyed... but now I have to be honest with myself. I just don't have the eyesight, the steady hands, the patience or even the room in my apartment to do this kind of thing.

    So, I really just want to sell this stuff. I'm not even wildly interested in getting absolute top dollar. I'm wildly interested in things going to a good home, honest transactions, avoiding giant hassles, but not getting completely ripped off either. I DO have an eBay account, I do have very good feedback on it, but lately eBay has been scaring me. It seems it's become quite popular for people to buy something, claim that is was somehow 'damaged' or not as described, then refuse to return it (and supposedly eBay is kind of just automatically siding with the buyer 99% of the time). And we all know that vintage wristwatches are tough, they need cleanings and overhauls and all manner of stuff the casual eBay buyer may not be familiar with.

    I wouldn't mind selling through this forum, but I don't have 100 posts, and I'm not going to try to fake it by posting a bunch. So does anyone have any other ideas? Etsy? Craigslist? Local antiques dealers? Consignment? I also don't have the patience to sell each watch individually, there are too many, and I can't spend all of my time doing this, so they have to go in lots... I'm in Florida now, I could, I suppose, pay for a booth at an antiques market for a few weekends and hope there are vintage watch buyers in the crowd???

    What would you all do in this circumstance? Just go ahead and do eBay auctions and hope you don't get people trying to scam you? Perhaps find a local watch repair shop and see if they want any of this (though I doubt they'd offer top dollar, but that may not be so bad).

    Anyone have any advice for me?

    Thanks for any help. Again, if this is somehow against the rules, please let me know or take it down, and I'll try and find a more appropriate forum for these questions.
    OhDark30 likes this.

  2. #2
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Scamming is pretty rare on eBay actually. We all hear horror stories, but many of us sell regularly, and usually things go smoothly. Just make sure it's clear you're selling the watches as-is, and if they're not running, say that they're "for repair". If you think that a handful of them are particularly valuable, maybe you can hold those back until you develop more confidence and feedback as a seller. Start with less valuable pieces.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  3. #3
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Hi Dan, thanks for your reply.

    So ok, you're saying eBay is probably the way to go here. Just say everything is as-is and for repair. I guess I can try that... I'm a little nervous about it, but I guess it couldn't hurt to try... but I'm going to have to do them in lots... too many watches to list individually.

    Thanks again,

    Ali

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  5. #4
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Have to agree with Dan. (As usual.

    Ebay will give you the largest exposure for a collection like that, which is what you want.

    Good luck with the sale!
    Stowa 1938 | Speedy Pro 311 | Omega SMPc | 66 Omega SM | 65 Omega Cosmic | 54 Omega SM | 72 Speedy Mark II | 69 Tissot T.12 | 70 Tissot Super T.12 | 70 Seiko 6139 | 71 Seiko Yachtman | 77 Seiko Pogue | 70s Seiko Bullhead | 69 Bulova SK | Ventus Mori | Helm Khuraburi

  6. #5
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Ok then... I guess eBay is the place...

    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    Ali
    DragonDan likes this.

  7. #6
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    If you really want to sell them fast(not just list and wait for years), place BIN at below market and call for help to ship everything out :)
    Chaos is my focus

  8. #7
    Member joeabroad's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    I'd recommend starting off by selling some individually, and not in lots, with a low starting price, a 5-day auction, and no reserve. But maybe I'm saying that because I'm eager to see what you've got .
    OhDark30 likes this.

  9. #8
    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Quote Originally Posted by tvcee15 View Post
    . . . but there are nice quality staking sets, jeweling tools, . . . . a Bergeon Platax tool, . . . . . So, I really just want to sell this stuff. I'm not even wildly interested in getting absolute top dollar. I'm wildly interested in things going to a good home, honest transactions, avoiding giant hassles, but not getting completely ripped off either. . . . . I also don't have the patience to sell each watch individually, there are too many, and I can't spend all of my time doing this, so they have to go in lots . . . . What would you all do in this circumstance? . . .
    . Anyone have any advice for me? . . . .
    On Craigslist you will find a handful of joblot buyers of watchmaking tools and related materials advertising regionally. No fuss, no muss.
    Courtesy of ULF.

  10. #9
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    heh heh... so, I get it... I asked if there was a better way than eBay to sell a watch collection, and I got the answer... no! Lol. That's fine. I mean, I still think listing these things, even in small groups, is going to be just a huge amount of work, but it's clearly the best way to get close to what these things are worth. Ugh. (Pithy I did look on Craigslist but I only found those dealers who want to buy Rolex and Breitling, etc., not little Bulova collections). Ok then, I might try one or two of those online dealers and see what they offer, but I'm sure it will be much lower than what I could get on eBay. Sigh.

  11. #10
    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with great uncle's watch and watchmaking collection

    Quote Originally Posted by tvcee15 View Post
    . . . . (Pithy I did look on Craigslist but I only found those dealers who . . . . .
    TOOLS.

    There's a Wichita dude, a few in TX, a couple in Chi/MI, some west coasters, etc.

    The NAWCC publication also has ads for buyers of TOOLS AND MATERIAL.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    badbackdan and DragonDan like this.
    Courtesy of ULF.

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