Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?
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  1. #1
    Member jbbutts's Avatar
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    Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    I have a vintage Waltham, swiss made, automatic watch that I picked up cheap on eBay. Why are they so inexpensive? Vintage Swiss watches selling for next to nothing? I'm trying to get into the vintage world and dont understand this!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member sherwoodschwartz's Avatar
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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbbutts View Post
    I have a vintage Waltham, swiss made, automatic watch that I picked up cheap on eBay. Why are they so inexpensive? Vintage Swiss watches selling for next to nothing? I'm trying to get into the vintage world and dont understand this!

    Thanks
    of the american manufacturers, waltham was the most behind the times with regards to wristwatch production. they failed to properly tool up for the new fad and were left behind when it took off, ergo the company lost the inroads to make it a good go of it. more knowledgeable collector's than i know more of its history, but, apparently, the company was not well-managed during this time (20s through 40s). although they made excellent pocketwatches, this failure in teh wrist market was a serious blow. so, unlike hamilton and elgin, the domestic interest in waltham waned long before the american watch industry crashed and burned. there just aren;t a lot of people around now who collect waltham wristwatches at all, and even fewer who collect those that have imported movements.

    to add a more general note- to most collectors, ebauches are less desirable than manufacture movements. not that they aren't collectible, it's just that many devalue them. when speaking about collector's of US made watches, it's almost a death knell. i can think of very few diehard aficionados of american watches who don't care what's under the hood. there are a few hamilton designs that still peak collector interest even though they have swiss movements, but there aren't that many.

    so, if you like your new waltham then enjoy it, learn more about it, and buy more. you're in for a treat because you won't have a lot of competition. good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    When I was a kid, they were just another inexpensive watch, like Helbros.

    I remember one in my former store's pre-owned and vintage cases, in was from
    1925 or 28, it was kinda hard on the eyes. I don't recall if it ever sold.
    Last edited by Watchbreath; April 19th, 2012 at 00:55.

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  5. #4
    Member jbbutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherwoodschwartz

    of the american manufacturers, waltham was the most behind the times with regards to wristwatch production. they failed to properly tool up for the new fad and were left behind when it took off, ergo the company lost the inroads to make it a good go of it. more knowledgeable collector's than i know more of its history, but, apparently, the company was not well-managed during this time (20s through 40s). although they made excellent pocketwatches, this failure in teh wrist market was a serious blow. so, unlike hamilton and elgin, the domestic interest in waltham waned long before the american watch industry crashed and burned. there just aren;t a lot of people around now who collect waltham wristwatches at all, and even fewer who collect those that have imported movements.

    to add a more general note- to most collectors, ebauches are less desirable than manufacture movements. not that they aren't collectible, it's just that many devalue them. when speaking about collector's of US made watches, it's almost a death knell. i can think of very few diehard aficionados of american watches who don't care what's under the hood. there are a few hamilton designs that still peak collector interest even though they have swiss movements, but there aren't that many.

    so, if you like your new waltham then enjoy it, learn more about it, and buy more. you're in for a treat because you won't have a lot of competition. good luck.
    Thanks for the useful information. I greatly appreciate it!

    I enjoy vintage watches of all types and brands...I'm just relatively new to the game...so I am just starting to pick out some pieces that I like at a reasonable cost before I make any major purchases.

    Thanks again!

  6. #5
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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    That is, in my opinion, the best way to start. You can later sell off the pieces you decide you don't want, and many times break even or sometimes even turn a profit. But if you're anything like me, you'll find that you want to keep most of the pieces you bought with an amateur eye when first starting out :)

  7. #6
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbbutts View Post
    I have a vintage Waltham, swiss made, automatic watch that I picked up cheap on eBay. Why are they so inexpensive? Vintage Swiss watches selling for next to nothing? I'm trying to get into the vintage world and dont understand this!

    Thanks
    Waltham is only a desirable brand for collectors of American watches, so this post-American watch fails the test. To everybody else, Waltham is just another low-rent generic brand. Part-jewelled French Walthams, and later quartz Walthams, have reinforced this view.

    And just being 'Swiss' is not enough to command a premium. Ebay is awash with old Swiss watches, so the brand really needs to stand out, or the specification needs to be 'exotic' (chronograph, alarm, triple-calendar, etc), for a Swiss vintage watch to sell for more than a vintage Russian or Japanese watch.
    Watchbreath and Raffa like this.
    Chascomm
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  8. #7
    Member howards4th's Avatar
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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    For me, I collect what I like and I saw an awesome looking Waltham on the bay the other day ...went for 25 bucks. I would of bid on it but I got the ending time of the auction wrong, two kids and lack of sleep will do that to ya
    I've been collecting for a little over a year now and I started out thinking ..."did I pay too much?" You definitely get that kid in a candy store mentality when you first start collecting but after while you know what you like. As a previous post pointed out; if you decide to sell and make profit, BONUS! if not and you break ever or you don't the point is you had fun buying it, wearing it and enjoying it. That's my 2-cents

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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    The value of "collectibles" is typically tied to the question of "what makes it special". In the case of a Swiss Waltham, the answer to that question is "almost nothing". It's a common, mass-produced swiss ebauche, imported by an otherwise unremarkable American company that happened to acquire the rights to the "Waltham" name after the real company collapsed in the 50's. There are probably thousands of that exact same watch around, hundreds of thousands more that are the exact same just with different names on the dial and movement, and millions that are only slightly different in unimportant (to a collector) ways. These types of watches are, unfortunately, in the worst position possible for a vintage watch, because the cost of regular service alone will almost always be worth more then you'd ever be able to sell the watch for, even if you waited another fifty years. The one advantage to them (presently, at least) is that even after the cost of a service, they're still cheaper then a "New" mechanical of similar quality (but that assumes the watch is in decent shape to begin with).
    Chascomm and Eeeb like this.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

    I have a huge wholesale jeweler catalog intended for use by customers as well. 1931 652 pages by Fort Dearborn Watch & Clock Co. Chicago. List prices shown, but 50%+ discounting to dealer. Huge quantity of w.w. with odd Swiss names. Only Americans listed are Waltham and Ingersoll. 45 pages total watches. $1624. -$208. by most expensive Swiss lady w.w. named TRUE. Waltham w.w. $547. -$24. 108 different w.w. P.W. are 80+ different $732. Premier Maximus to $18.

    Of the 108 different w.w. Walthams there are a few really desirable collectibles among the 18 listed at $100+. I will copy couple pages of these soon.

    You will not see these fine quality old gold cased ones normally as cheap sale items. There are millions of the cheaper later ones creating the depression of the Waltham collector market.
    Last edited by artb; April 21st, 2012 at 13:24.

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    Re: Why havent vintage Waltham's held value?

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    I would just like to share this beautiful Waltham and I got this one for less than $30.00. It has an all stainless steel case and about 36mm excluding the crown. It also has a textured dial.
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