The latest auction held by Gardiner Houlgate was definitely of interest to Omega collectors, with the majority of watches sold being from the famous Swiss brand. Omega remains a popular choice and it’s interesting to see how some models are rapidly appreciating in value, whilst more basic models like the Geneve watches from the 60s and 70s are basically treading water.
Fact is, you can still pick up a nice Geneve, working order, for about £250-£300, plus buyers premium on top and those prices haven’t really changed in the last five years. A De Ville only made £160, which shows how collectors and dealers are shunning the 70s Omegas to an extent. The older Omega models with sub-second dials are also stuck in the doldrums, with the black dial models fetching a bit extra, but nothing special.
Even a price of £400 for a 1969 Constellation in working order, which looked like it had been serviced recently, is nothing to write home about, assuming you paid £200-£300 to buy it a decade ago when prices were relatively cheap. After auction costs you’re perhaps looking at a profit of £50, depending on how much the service cost of course – you might have lost £200. This all goes to show that watch collecting isn’t a guranteed investment.
The stand out watches included a Speedmaster Ultraman which made £18,000, and another Speedmaster presented to the Shah of Iran in the early 70s, complete with moon landing paperwork, box, cert etc. Genuine piece of horological history and I bet the story of how that watch escaped the Shah’s family and found its way to an auction in the UK is a fascinating one.
An entry level Rolex Oyster, Cal 1570 with Jubilee bracelet (early 80s model?) made £2300, no box or paperwork on that one which has held the price down a bit – few dealers want to sell them on now without some extras – people expect it.
A very handsome GMT II Batman Rolex, complete with papers and box, made dead on £9000, which is pretty close to new UK retail. Just shows how a waiting list for a current model can drive up demand for decent quality used examples, with some jewellers now asking 15K for a nice used Batman. How long will the waiting list bubble last?
Who knows? But Rolex are annoying a great many of their loyal customers with this childish game of `wait in line please, but hand over your cash now.’ It’s a bit like BMW or Audi dealerships – you get to a point where people feel like cash machines for the dealerships’ ever expanding empires and that’s when you lose some of them.