Tag Archives: collecting

Vintage Quartz Watches, Yea or No Way?

There are some early quartz watches that fetch incredible prices. If you have an original Bulova Accurton, a Seiko Astron from the late 60s or a Casio calculator watch from the early 80s, then you’ll be happy to know that values are rising.

Of course these are ground-breaking watches of their time, and deserve respect from collectors. Seiko, more than any brand, revolutionised watch sales with their cheaper quartz watches. They were still expensive mond you, I recall buying a basic black Casio digital for £20 back in the early 80s – which was almost half a week’s wages – because the Seiko digital was too fancy at £29.99.

Naturally, that Casio went to the bin decades ago, just like all the digital watches I bought in the 1980s and the quartz watches I bought in the 1990s too. But recently I have bought a few old quartz models, generally the Lanco, Timex and Seiko SQ models, plus a brand new, big 43mm Pulsar I liked just because it had a groovy teal coloured chronograph.

Apart from Seiko SQ50/100 models, I always suggest people avoid the older quartz watches because they aren’t so reliable, or so easy to revive from their comatose state when people leave them in drawers and the batteries split open, then leak that green oxide shit all over the place.

I did buy a running Lanco from the early 70s, which has the Tissot 7067 movement in it, last year. This actually went OK after a little clean of the contacts and a new Renata 301 battery inside. But the time-setting malarkey on this watch is franly a bit silly.

You pull the crown out and it moves the hour hand, like many older Omega quartz watches by the way. But there is no second pull-out position to move the minute hand.

I googled the problem and found that you have to hold the crown down for 5 seconds, then release, then tap it again to make the minute hand twirl around.

Nope. No joy. The most likely cause is that the stepper  motor isn’t engaging with the gear wheel to make that magic happen, but considering the Lanco is probably worth under £75 at auction, I cannot be bothered taking it apart.

SPARES PROBLEMS

Another annoyance with this Lance is the usual Tissot/Omega/Lanco tension ring holding the crytal in, and it is a front-loader diassembly routine. So crystal off, hands off, crown n stem out etc and then release the movement. I will be blunt, I hate that obtuse thinking by the Tissot/Lanco group. Timex did the same thing for decades.

Basically it was a ploy to create work for their authorised repair network by making life difficult for the amateur watch fettler. The more you mess with old crystals held in by thin rings of metal, the more likely you are to scratch dials or break the tension rings or hands.

So yep, messing with old quartz watches is a good way to end up hunting for rare spare crystals, hands and tension rings too. All these delicate parts often rust into position after 50 years, or simply get brittle and begin to crumble away.

My solution to the hand-setting problem was to disconnect the battery and wait until exactly 2.41pm to re-fit and slide the connector tab across it, since that was where the minute hand had stopped at.

So I have a running Lanco quartz, kinda nice looking, new battery in place and a neat sort of Tiger’s Eye effect on the dial as well. Like many old watches, it isn’t perfect and it will probably never be worth more than £100 even if I live to be 90. By that time everyone will have a chip inserted in their arm that tells the time, reads your bad thoughts and automatically emails the Solyent Green factory when your fridge is out of vegan ping meals.

Enjoy your watches I say, it’s later than you think.

Blow Hot & Cold With The New Ball Roadmaster TMT

Ball have a new variant on their Roadmaster series, and this time it has a temperature gauge. OK, you may not follow in Bear Grylls footsteps across snowy mountains and into deepest jungles. But this is a very well designed watch that really stands out from the crowd, with a Swiss movement and that auto dashboard inspired temp gauge on the dial. We love it, especially the blue dial, blue bezel combo. Here’s the word from Ball;

It doesn’t run from adversity, darkness and fear. It’s built for them. The new Roadmaster TMT Ceramic handles extreme conditions and measures every climate with a patented mechanical thermometer – from the scorching heat to the frigid cold. Engineered for precision, the ingeniously modified movement utilizes a special oil that ensures flawless operation. Even in –45°C (–49°F) temperatures, micro gas tubes shine on the dial and hands. The watch that once ran America’s railroads now empowers world explorers to live freely and fearlessly.

Uncluttered black and blue dials. 40mm and 43mm stainless steel strength. Black and blue rotating bezels. Tone-on-tone stylish design. The Roadmaster TMT Ceramic inherits the sport elegance DNA that epitomizes BALL Watch with the streamlined case. The bezel extends beyond the case for a better grip and the sapphire crystal case back allows a glimpse of the mechanical caliber that powers this engineering marvel.

The upgrade to the new ceramic bezel insert represents our endless quest for excellence. And as the outer-most facing part of the watch, it’s built to withstand extreme weather, everyday abrasion and all the intense knocks that come with exploration. Ceramic is also impervious to ultra-violet rays, ensuring long-lasting color and readability.

Ball have deepened their understanding of the bi-metallic hairspring’s expansion rate. Why does this matter? Simple really, when the bi-metallic spring can be calibrated to produce a predictable deflection at a preset temperature, timekeeping stays accurate at extreme temperatures. Thus, allowing our TMT module to measure ambient temperature between -31°F and 113°F, or -35°C and 45°C, results in 99% accuracy – says Ball.

For the Roadmaster TMT Ceramic, the Celsius scale is available in the 40mm case while the 43mm case comes with the Fahrenheit scale.

Watch the video clip here;

Available online only, the new Roadmaster TMT Ceramic is limited to 1,000 pieces each. Now available for pre-order until 24 March 2021 at an exclusive price, which is just under £1500. Don’t forget you need to add on UK import duty and VAT to that price – nope, we still cannot find a government calculator to work that out either.

H. Moser’s Swiss Alp Is a Mechanical Smartwatch, Seriously

The H Moser homage to Apple’s iWatch is a technical delight, if you have the money. For a mere £22,000 you can convince passers-by that you are glancing at a run-of-the-mill iWatch, whereas it is in fact a classic Swiss watch, handcrafted in Switzerland. Here’s the press release;

Marking the end of an inspiring concept, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade will be the climax to the Swiss Alp Watch saga that has left enthusiasts spellbound since 2016. Launched in response to the emergence of connected watches and to express the need for a nearly two-hundred-year-old brand like H. Moser & Cie. to remain faithful to its values of tradition, the Swiss Alp Watch will take its final bow. A one-of-a-kind conceptual piece, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade pays tribute to the codes of connected watches. It incorporates refined Vantablack® technology with traditional, fine mechanical watchmaking.

See the video;

Now, more than ever, is the time to reconnect. To ourselves, to those close to us, to what matters. Current events serve as a daily reminder that the virtual world will never outshine reality, that electronic devices will never replace people, and that technology must remain a means and not an end. On the strength of its convictions, H. Moser & Cie. wanted to mark the end of the Swiss Alp Watch collection with an extra special model: Similar to previous models from this line, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade is inspired by the modern design of smartwatches, yet it is completely mechanical. With its 100% Swiss Manufacture movement and a minimum power reserve of 96 hours, it is developed to last. Instead of downloading information, the Schaffhausen manufacture thinks it’s time we recharged ourselves.

For this model, H. Moser & Cie. wanted to combine different elements that have contributed to its success over the past few years. An aesthetic inspired by smartwatches, it features a Vantablack® dial in its Concept version, with no logo or indices. Known to be the blackest material produced artificially, Vantablack® and the blackened hour and minute hands perfectly evoke the standby appearance of the watch. This notion is further reinforced by the offset small second at 6 o’clock, redesigned for the occasion as a shaded disc made up of openings. Evoking the constant passing of time, this symbol serves as a reminder that the here and now is all that matters.

“This idea was conceived by a customer and friend of the brand, a true enthusiast and fan of the Swiss Alp Watch collection. He came to visit us with an extremely precise design and we immediately wanted to create this model, perfectly in line with our philosophy, with a touch of humour and a hint of provocation”, explains Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie.

Acting as an ode to minimalism and understatement, in an ultra-contemporary, pared down and timeless manner, H. Moser & Cie. creates a striking contrast between aesthetic simplicity and the complexity of the materials chosen. Through its steel case with black DLC coating, the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade radiates all the power of its perfectly black appearance. The Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade is a concept watch, a symbol of the end of the Swiss Alp Watch collection, production of which will cease.

Verdict: computer fans will look all day long at that spinning wheel of death at the 6pm position. Stroke of genius.

 

Is The Rolex Waiting Game Driving Buyers To Rival Brands?

Everyone who loves Rolex knows that 2020 was a great year with new Oyster, GMT and Sub models proving to be immensely popular. So much so that flippers have managed to buy Subs and add another 7K to the list price to sell them on. Even Lord Sugar tweeted last year that he could not buy a GMT Batman for love or money. But has it sent buyers to other brands, and how has the demand for new Rolex models affected the prices of older pre-2020 Subs and GMTs?

We had this comment from WatchexchangeLondon, which makes interesting reading;

Rolex watches carry a value of between £2,000 to £1,000,000 and within this vast range of models, there are some timepieces that people often argue are overvalued because they trade on the secondary market for thousands over their retail price. A much less common view is that some Rolex watches are undervalued. Arfan Mohammed explains which Rolex model he feels is under appreciated:

“There are several Rolex watches that when examined in absolute terms, are incredibly good value. You can buy a fantastic condition vintage 36mm Datejust for £4,000, and a vintage 36mm Explorer ref. 14270 for less than £4,500. When compared to the retail prices of their modern counterparts, they are great value and relatively attainable. However, these price points are a result of the long production periods and relatively quenchable demand given their second-rate construction and smaller sizes, when compared to modern Rolex watches. So they’re great value but it’s hard to argue that they are undervalued.

To truly appreciate when a watch is actually undervalued, we must compare it to models at a similar price point to see what else you can get for the same money. A budget of up to £27,000 is enough to buy the vast majority of Rolex watches and so is a good sum to determine which Rolex is undervalued.

The stainless steel Rolex Daytona has always been the one Rolex to always carry a waiting list. Long before the Submariner, GMT-Master II and Sky-Dweller ever had waiting lists of their own, the Daytona was the one watch nobody could get, and everyone wanted. This timepiece has almost always traded on the secondary market for roughly double its retail value, so this is absolutely not an undervalued watch. The modern stainless steel Daytona is now trading from between £20,000 to £23,000, depending on whether you buy new or not. With decades-long pandemonium engulfing the stainless steel Daytona, one gem has slipped through the net undetected and has become, in my opinion, the most undervalued Rolex; the white gold Daytona. 

The retail price for the stainless steel Daytona was around £7,000 compared to £23,000 for the more precious metal. Trading for anywhere between £20,000 and £27,000, the white gold Rolex Daytona ref. 116509 is selling for around the same price as its stainless steel sibling, offering outstanding value for money. Given that the cal. 4130 movement still hasn’t changed since its introduction in 2000, there is nothing fundamentally different between this Daytona and a modern model. Therefore, for a relatively similar price to the modern stainless steel Rolex Daytona, you can get a white gold model with an up-to-date in-house movement, a more exclusive dial option offered only on the white gold variants and a watch made of a rarer metal with intrinsic value. To my mind, the white gold Daytona will always hold its value at the very least and it illustrates that there is such a thing as an undervalued Rolex.”

BUYERS FRUSTRATED, BUT FEW DEFECT TO RIVAL BRANDS

We took a rough n ready poll on Twitter and found that there was a general sense that Rolex were now milking the waiting game for all it was worth. Worse still, some Rolex fans who bought from authorised dealers in the past, were finding that they were still not getting a sniff of a 2020 Sub/GMT.

GrammarGuy tweeted that he was waiting for a Milgauss for a year.’ But he was looking for a pre-owned example instead. Meanwhile Shaw2Damian said that having bought Rolex watches before he was on a supposed waiting list for over a year at Goldsmiths. CryptoVinnie says he won’t buy a Rolex because the waiting list is ` a scam’ but Tuukka Pastrnak reckons that authorised dealers and flippers are using the Rolex shortages to inflate their profits. He also vowed to buy an Omega instead.

Oyster Perpetual 41

Northern Watch Co spoke to one independent Manchester watch dealer who has seen demand for GMTs and Subs rocket in the last few months;

Off the record he said;

“People are fed up waiting for the new models so they contact us – and other dealers and pawnbrokers – looking for particular models, references, even particular details like original hands because Rolex will often change the hands when they service the watch. You tend to find that Rolex GMT Hulk or Batman fans will not buy anything else but a pristine example of the watch they really want, with a full set of box n paperwork. Most of my regular customers are generally looking to own Swiss watches to make money long term, keep them in a safe at home or work, not wear them every day – it’s too dangerous now to go anywhere wearing a 10 grand watch.

Sometimes a buyer just wants a Rolex as a retirement present to themselves but it’s mainly an investment, with the idea being you sell the watch one day and make 2K profit or so. That demand won’t go away because people are getting f*** all interest in banks, so really clean used Rolexes are going to rise in value, except the knackered old 34 mil Oysters, they’ll never creep much above three grand or so because they look like a girl’s watch now.

Would they buy a different brand? Not often. The only alternatives for most Rolex buyers are AP or Patek, maybe a Breitling…they aren’t interested in anything else unless it’s a giveaway price. The lockdown has spoiled the game for me, because it’s gone brutal out there now. People can’t come in and chat, you can’t get to know them as collectors or investors. I miss the old buying signals that you used to get watching someone handle a Rolex, and of course that stuff never happens online. It’s all just low bid offers and “can you find me this?” emails. Annoying.”

 

Are The Timex Snoopy 70th Anniversary Watches Worth Collecting?

Timex has launched a range of watches to mark the 70th anniversary of the Snoopy character appearing in Peanuts. Timex has a long history in producing comic related character watches of course, but these are quite expensive and so definitely aimed at adults.

The cost is £179 for the Pepsi design blue and red model, with rotating bezel and 50m of depth resistance. It also has Snoopy character on the dial and a quick release battery compartment on the back of the stainless steel, 38mm case. However, it doesn’t have a sapphire crystal, just an acrylic and even though the bracelet is steel as well, we just don’t think this is a good value collectors watch. Sorry Timex.

There are other Snoopy watches in the range, starting at £95. Then, there’s the Marlin automatic at £249, with a see-thru caseback and unique Peanuts script on the back of the case as well. You could argue that the Marlin is likely to hold its RRP value best in the long run. You would be right, but probably still lose about £150 over 5 years.

Don’t forget to keep the Snoopy related box and paperwork too, if you want that £100 back in 2025.

Again, an acrylic crystal isn’t good on a watch costing around £250. Hiding the movement from view using a slogan isn’t that satisfying to look at either.

There are lots of Indie brands offering sapphire crystal dive watches, with 300m depth ratings at this price. There is certainly plenty of choice on Kickstarter. Many brands like Kraken, Zelos and others offer cheap ownership as you can get about 50-70% back in resale value, depending on how fashionable your dial colour, bronze case etc is at the time. Just saying.

More info here.

18K Rose Gold Cased Frederique Constant Worldtimer Mixes Old & New

The new Classic Worldtimer Manufacture is a limited edition from the Citizen owned brand and it offers serious bling with that classic Worldtimer dial display. An 18ct gold case is quite rare these days and it has a tactile appeal, as well as the long term value of owning a little piece of gold on your wrist. OK, probably only £300 at scrap value, but you get the drift – gold is gold, the only truly global currency, accepted everywhere, unlike Bitcoin.

One detail we love on this one is the pocket watch style winding crown. 

Frederique-Constant-Classic-Worldtimer-Manufacture rose gold crown

Here’s the word from FC;

FC say that no more than 88 limited edition timepieces on offer. Such preciousness is rare at Frederique Constant. Incidentally, this is the first time in the history of the Manufacture that such a case has been offered for this timepiece.

For this latest version, Frederique Constant has opted for an intense blue dial reminiscent of the ocean and in keeping with the distinguished rose gold case. The continents emerge from the dial in relief, their anthracite grey outlines carved with the greatest precision.

The date counter at 6 o’clock is decorated with a sunray guilloché pattern, a traditional finish in Fine Watchmaking. Hovering over it are four hands coordinating with the rose gold; the hour and minute hands and index hour markers are tinged with luminescent material to make them easier to read in low light.

Around this miniature world map unfolds the Worldtimer flange, indicating the 24 world time zones and their 24 principal cities. To ensure the dial can be easily read, the 12 daytime hours appear in red, while the 12 night-time hours appear in grey.

The ease of setting and using Frederique Constant timepieces is intrinsic to the Brand. All the features of the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture can be adjusted using the crown, (hours, minutes, date, Worldtimer) eliminating the need for push buttons that could detract from its sleek 42 mm case.

As for all Frederique Constant Manufacture collection timepieces, the FC-718 movement in the new Classic Worldtimer Manufacture has been decorated with fine perlage decoration visible through a sapphire crystal caseback that is guaranteed water-resistant to 3 ATM. The informed observer will admire the blued screws in the movement and the rose gold-plated hollowed-out oscillating weight adorned with vertical satin-finishing and “Frederique Constant Manufacture” engraving.

Worth Collecting?

The price of all this technology and exclusivity is suitably refreshing at just under 15K US dollars. But are there better ways to spend about £12,000 in the watch market?

Definitely, because the long term collector value of any FC is always going to be less than a Rolex GMT, Submariner, any Patek, AP Royal Oak, even some Jaeger le Coultre models. In fact we will go further and recommend you buy a vintage Heuer Autavia or Carrera for about six grand and spend the rest on a Tudor Black Bay for everyday use.

How to Spot a Fake Jaeger le Coultre Vintage Watch

You may be new to vintage watch collecting and totally baffled by the wide range of models and limited editions, different dial colours, hands, winding crowns, case designs, straps etc. There can sometimes be over 100 variations on a basic design like a Seiko 5, or an Omega De Ville can have an extended family of models, that evolve over 40 years.

But there are often fairly obvious clues to spot a fake from a genuine old Swiss watch and it’s worth carrying a loupe around, or enlarging photos online to see details.

Take this JLC automatic on ebay recently. Looks like the real JLC logo on the dial, nice script, although the scratched glass obscures it somewhat? But look again at the header image above – specifically at where the number 6 is located compared to 12 and 9 – bit wonky eh?

You think JLC would have let a watch with those dial errors out of the factory? No way.

Take a gander at this pic, which shows the back.

fake jlc 2

See thru casebacks are rare on older JLC watches, but the giveaway here is the crude oscillating weight, with JL stamped in it. It doesn’t even sit straight on the mounting screw, there’s a bigger gap on the left side. The finishing on the screws looks too cheap, too low rent for a JLC watch.

If you look at a real JLC see-thru watch, you will also notice how beautiful the finishing on the metal is, plus the engraved script on the rear of the watch.

It is often the same story with fake Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Cartier, TAG or other watches. The logo script, the dial lettering and the second had sweep are all perfect. Fakers know that people look at what’s right in front of them.

JLC genuine see thru
Genuine JLC – compare this to the heap of rubbish above.

But feel the metal, the fit and finish. Does the metal bracelet feel loose, easy twist? Not good, although older Rolex bracelets are poorly made in my view and so a genuine one can feel like a 20 year old Sekonda sometimes. But check the pins that secure the buckle, the strap to the case etc – are they all identical, or do some look messed with? Does the winding crown look a perfect flush fit on the case? Because it should be, even on a 50 year old watch, that’s how the Swiss made them.

Look inside at the movement and you should see well finished components, plenty of rubis there – unless it’s some budget built watch like a Josmar or basic Sicura. Screws and automatic rotors should look well polished and fitted to a mere micron or two of clearance.

In older Omegas the movements often have a beautiful burnished, coppery tone, so anything that’s a different shade, like a balance bridge, could indicate that a part or two has been replaced.

Study pictures online, read watch books. Knowledge is power baby.

 

Covid-19 Cancellations Hit Watch Shows & Fairs – What’s On in 2020?

OK, Baselworld and Watches & Wonders have both been scratched from the calendar, with all the losses to manufacturers, stand builders, hotels, caterers, media outlets, security staff etc. Quite a lot of jobs are going to be lost this year in the luxury watch industry if the media panic over CoronaVirus continues.

Yes it’s serious, people have died. But the truth is more people die of regular flu every winter, and that doesn’t stop us going about our everyday business. This is a huge blow to the Swiss industry, albeit that Swatch Group and some other brands gave up on Baselworld a few years ago.

sicura chrono valjoux 7734

Assuming the hype subsides in a month or so, will we see any watch shows later in 2020?

Well the London Watch Show is scheduled to go ahead on Friday 3rd April – Sat April 4th at the Intercontinental Hotel, near the 02 Arena. Even if the government passes temporary laws banning large gatherings of say 5000 plus people, this is unlikely to affect a smaller, ticket only show like this one.

The Midland Watch and Clock Fair is scheduled to go ahead this Sunday 8th March, at the National Motorcycle Museum, which is located just south of Birmingham, quite well signed from the M42/M6. Having attended this fair a few times to buy vintage watches, I can say it is good for picking up project watches, straps and tools, books etc. The really nice watches tend to be priced high, but you can always make an offer – traders can always harrumph and retire behind their Sunday Express.

phantom-caleuche watch specs prices

The Watch It fair on June 27th, held at Brownsover Hall Rugby looks like something very different indeed. There are lots of small scale manufactuers popping up all over USA and Europe, all sourcing Seiko/Citizen and Swiss movements, then finding cases, hands, straps etc from the thousands of parts suppliers worldwide. Hey presto – you’re a watchmaker!

OK, some of these new brands look very well assembled, such as Farer for example, others slightly less so. But if you’re in the market for a chunky divers style, or classic aviator, dress or field watch, with £200-£2000 to spend, then you’ll find something at this fair. There are also some beautiful vintage watches from traders such as Watches of Lancashire, plus things like framed prints of famous watch dials and movements to feed your passion.

The only downside is that this event is on for just five hours, so it probably will be a bit hectic around the stands. Great to see something unique in watch shows however, with a mix of new start-ups, accessories, vintage and modern Swiss all in the mix.

 

Yes, Russian Watches Are Worth Collecting. Chrono Values Rising

Russian watches? Cheap and cheerful, that’s what you’re thinking. Well, you are right, but they’re also very reliable and built to last like a T34 tank or an AK47. Many of these watches make perfect starter collection material, and fantastic value daily watches you can wear and enjoy. Yes, they aren’t Swiss level COSC certified chrono models that are going to fetch thousands at auction, but let me give you three good reasons to buy a used Sekonda, Poljot, Bostok/Vostok or Molnija.

  1. Good Examples Start at £25

Yep, you can get a very nice Vostok Komandirskie model on ebay or Gumtree, often including the original box and leaflet for £25 or so. This watch is still being manufactured brand new today by the way, costing about £60 or so online.

It has a few interesting features, such as the `wobbly’ crown, which is designed to bend like a tree, rather than break under pressure from cack-handed attempts at screwing down the crown. You’ll also notice the crystal is dome shaped, this is for water resistance – yep, you can dive down to attach a small IED to your enemies submarine or ship, whilst wearing this watch. Handy for all you Putin sponsored freelance asssasins.

The Komandirskie also has an automatic movement inside its sturdy case, which I’ve tested over 24 hours and is accurate to within 30 seconds. Not Rolex standard, but hey, what do you want for £25 quid Comrade Corbyn?

vostok flat 1

2. Ultra reliable

Here is another factoid for you. First watch I ever fixed was a dead Sekonda – TV dial model similar to the Raketa – which was clogged with dirt and fully wound up. All that was needed was a basic clean with the back off, no movement removal, a drop of oil on the end of the balance staff and off it went. Still running OK today five years later, which just shows how you can abuse these watches with no proper servicing and they still work. That non-runner cost a mere fiver at a watch fair by the way.

3. Good Original Chronographs Are Set to Rocket in Value

Sturmanskie and Poljot made some excellent chronograph models, many of which have movements inside that closely resemble Valjoux or Glashutte originals. Glashutte watch factory was captured by the Russians in the late stages of WWII, so just as the Russians took the second division scientists from the V2/V3 rocket programme, materials and expertise was taken back to Moscow.

poljot valjoux movement
Poljot chrono movement

Gagarin apparently wore a Sturmanskie in space, and the Poljot Strela is another model with astronaut connections. If you can find a good example of a 50s/60s chronograph that hasn’t been movement-swapped, bodged up with non-original parts etc then that could be a good investment.

I say could because considering you can buy a 1960s Valjoux 7733 powered Swiss watch, running nicely, for about £300-£500, paying well over £1000 for a Russian chrono with essentially the SAME movement inside doesn’t seem like a bargain to me. Having said that people pay £1000 for Sicura models based on the Breitling connection, which is of course complete nonsense.

The upside with a Poljot chrono watch is that any decent watchmaker will be able to service your watch for years to come, as there are still plenty of Valjoux 7733 movements available as spares and the stripdown and re-assembly will be bread n butter work for your local watch fettler.

 

 

 

Auction News: Omega Classics Dominate Gardiner Houlgate Sale

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.

omega constellation values

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.

omega speedmaster values

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.

rolex batman gmt 2 values

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.