Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?
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  1. #1
    Member wintershade's Avatar
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    Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    I am moving across the country in a couple weeks, from the SF Bay area to Boston. I have the great fortune to own several A Lange Sohne and FP Journe watches, along with a few dozen other lower value pieces.

    I plan to hand carry the watches and papers in my carry on luggage, but I'm not sure how to handle the watch boxes, especially the higher end ALS and FPJ boxes. They won't fit in a carry on and I certainly don't want to check them as we're flying commercial. Two options come to mind, and I'd appreciate input on how any others have handled this:

    Option 1) I could put them on the moving truck with our other goods, and the movers could crate the watch boxes along with some other high value items they'll be transporting (artwork, wife's handbags, etc.) but the movers kind of balked at the idea of assigning a high value to an empty watch box. My POV is if I ever trade the watch, it's worth significantly less without the original box and a hassle/expense to procure a period correct replacement. How much value do I assign to each watch box for insurance? I was thinking $5K/box?

    Option 2) I could ship the boxes Registered Mail. USPS will insure up to $25K per shipment, so I was thinking I could ship a couple boxes each (to diversify risk of loss). I've shipped other high value items this way and it's very safe in my experience. I was also planning to ship some of my lower value watches (in their boxes) this way, just so my entire carry isn't filled with watches.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Member Zhanming057's Avatar
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    Re: Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    Welcome to Boston! Looking forward to you being at the next GTG.

    I never worry about my own boxes and I doubt that people care that much for the box if it's a brand that's typically not associated with fakes, but maybe I've been around the indie scene for too long. In my experience with shipping things I would trust USPS less than airport check in and airport check in less than the movers. Even if you use registered mail, USPS will have the ability to arbitrarily deny coverage if a package is marked as delivered, and the process to go for a refund is a painful one. The only really good thing insurance is for is when there's a time guarantee and they deliver it late. If cost is no object I'd crate it and ship UPS ground directly to a local UPS processing facility sooner than USPS.

    Domestic airline that's point to point should be fine, though. I used to travel with big camera lenses and I just check them using a pelican and a good luggage lock. Otherwise, using the same box as your valuables and insuring them properly would be best.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    Rent a car and drive!

    If you care that much then it's best to ship with insurance to have peace of mind.
    mpalmer and ZisguyZaphod like this.

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    Member mpalmer's Avatar
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    Re: Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by R_rated View Post
    Rent a car and drive!
    There you go! Better yet, take old Route 66 and stop and camp at National Parks along the way... and don’t forget to pack an ice chest of sandwiches and Shasta cola for the drive... a foolproof and grandparent approved plan!
    Nikrnic likes this.
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    Damn. Anyone interested in buying some watch boxes at 5k each? I have IWC, omega, Rolex, JLC.
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  7. #6
    Member wintershade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhanming057 View Post
    Welcome to Boston! Looking forward to you being at the next GTG.

    I never worry about my own boxes and I doubt that people care that much for the box if it's a brand that's typically not associated with fakes, but maybe I've been around the indie scene for too long. In my experience with shipping things I would trust USPS less than airport check in and airport check in less than the movers. Even if you use registered mail, USPS will have the ability to arbitrarily deny coverage if a package is marked as delivered, and the process to go for a refund is a painful one. The only really good thing insurance is for is when there's a time guarantee and they deliver it late. If cost is no object I'd crate it and ship UPS ground directly to a local UPS processing facility sooner than USPS.
    Thanks Z! When is the next Boston GTG? Please send me info. If travel schedule permits, I’m in!

    I’m going to take your advise here and just let the movers handle it, crating it with some other valuables. It’s also easiest for me!

    I sort of agree with you that the whole obsessions with boxes, etc is kind of nuts. It’s rather annoying to store and keep track of all the boxes but I’ve had experiences trying to sell watches without them and it really makes some pieces harder to move. I think people worry about the watch being stolen or something. Whatever it is, it does seem to thin the market sometimes and at the end of the day less demand impacts price, and even if a just a few percent on a $100K piece that’s $3K. And while some of my pieces I think I’ll own forever, some I know are merely passing through the collection and when I want to sell them I want it to be as easy as possible.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wintershade View Post
    ... but the movers kind of balked at the idea of assigning a high value to an empty watch box. My POV is if I ever trade the watch, it's worth significantly less without the original box and a hassle/expense to procure a period correct replacement. How much value do I assign to each watch box for insurance? I was thinking $5K/box?

    ...
    Don’t be daft, Patek, AP, AL&S will all sell you a replacement box for less than $500 a piece.
    The only slight issue is if the box wasn’t the usual generic one, but specific to the LE version. If none of your pieces are LEs, then you’ve nothing to worry about on that front, just make sure to fly with your papers, then the boxes are a simple matter to sort out if they should be damaged by the movers or in transit.
    Well packaged/bubble wrapped, and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about and why you even needed to start this thread.

    Good luck with the new change of scenery, etc.

  9. #8
    Member Nikrnic's Avatar
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    Re: Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by mpalmer View Post
    There you go! Better yet, take old Route 66 and stop and camp at National Parks along the way... and don’t forget to pack an ice chest of sandwiches and Shasta cola for the drive... a foolproof and grandparent approved plan!
    That would be a great road trip, Ive done it three times so far.

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
    mpalmer likes this.

  10. #9
    Member Zhanming057's Avatar
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    Re: Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by wintershade View Post
    Thanks Z! When is the next Boston GTG? Please send me info. If travel schedule permits, I’m in!

    I’m going to take your advise here and just let the movers handle it, crating it with some other valuables. It’s also easiest for me!

    I sort of agree with you that the whole obsessions with boxes, etc is kind of nuts. It’s rather annoying to store and keep track of all the boxes but I’ve had experiences trying to sell watches without them and it really makes some pieces harder to move. I think people worry about the watch being stolen or something. Whatever it is, it does seem to thin the market sometimes and at the end of the day less demand impacts price, and even if a just a few percent on a $100K piece that’s $3K. And while some of my pieces I think I’ll own forever, some I know are merely passing through the collection and when I want to sell them I want it to be as easy as possible.
    That's fair. $100k is a different ballpark and collectors will see things differently, presumably, although if you wrote to Journe and asked for a replacement box for $2,000 they'd probably still make you one...

    This is the link to the Fall 2019 one: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/bos...a-5039589.html . No news on the next one yet though.
    Devon Tread 1E, Tread 2 BTO, Ressence Type 3, NORD Variocurve V4

  11. #10
    Member Vig2000's Avatar
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    Re: Moving cross-country, how to move watch boxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by wintershade View Post
    I am moving across the country in a couple weeks, from the SF Bay area to Boston. I have the great fortune to own several A Lange Sohne and FP Journe watches, along with a few dozen other lower value pieces.

    I plan to hand carry the watches and papers in my carry on luggage, but I'm not sure how to handle the watch boxes, especially the higher end ALS and FPJ boxes. They won't fit in a carry on and I certainly don't want to check them as we're flying commercial. Two options come to mind, and I'd appreciate input on how any others have handled this:

    Option 1) I could put them on the moving truck with our other goods, and the movers could crate the watch boxes along with some other high value items they'll be transporting (artwork, wife's handbags, etc.) but the movers kind of balked at the idea of assigning a high value to an empty watch box. My POV is if I ever trade the watch, it's worth significantly less without the original box and a hassle/expense to procure a period correct replacement. How much value do I assign to each watch box for insurance? I was thinking $5K/box?

    Option 2) I could ship the boxes Registered Mail. USPS will insure up to $25K per shipment, so I was thinking I could ship a couple boxes each (to diversify risk of loss). I've shipped other high value items this way and it's very safe in my experience. I was also planning to ship some of my lower value watches (in their boxes) this way, just so my entire carry isn't filled with watches.

    Any advice?
    I would say that Registered Mail is really the best option here. I would also argue that shipping a few boxes separately doesn't really diversify risk of loss, but increases it. If you ship three separate boxes via RM, then that's three times the risks you're taking as opposed to shipping them altogether in one box via RM to minimize risk. I know that the post office often gets a bad rap in terms of risk of loss, but Registered Mail is the exception to this rule. I actually prefer shipping high value items this way versus private courier like FedEx or UPS. Granted, the boxes themselves are just cardboard, but they do hold at least some value for sale purposes as you mentioned and it's better to be safe than sorry.

    The other thing is, I've heard many a movers horror story, especially with long distance moves. I would say that if you can avoid anything being handled by the movers, then take advantage of that. I would choose RM any day of the week over the movers.

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