Collecting watches isn’t just about trying to find that Holy Grail Swiss watch in a dusty drawer, or car boot sale, and then showcasing it on Antiques Roadshow claiming you had `no idea’ it was woth big money. Like Google was never invented.
No, sometimes collecting watches is a lasting joy, like an old Swiss movement Accurist, that just keeps ticking away after 50 years.
MODERN ACCURIST WATCHES: MIYOTA AUTOMATICS ARE OK
The modern range of Accurist watches are decent spec fashion timepieces. Made in the Far East they’re imported by a UK distributor, who also handles Limit and Sekonda by the way. The automatics use the Miyota movements, like the standard Cal. 8215 series with 21 jewels. Great reliable movement.
If you can pick up a modern steel bracelet Accurist auto for about £40-£80 then you have a nice watch, which might not ever be worth more than £100 even if you box it up and forget it for a decade.
Some of the modern Accurist quartz models like the Chronograph with Yamaha R1-like eyes on the dial can fetch about £40-£50 on eBay in mint condition. The Skymasters do OK as well, but most of the other quartz models are worth around £20-£35.
CLASSIC ACCURISTS – A ROUGH GUIDE
Let’s start with the post-war Clerkenwell gents watches, which in typical austerity Britain style were often plain looking, small 30-33mm case diameters and featured nice 15 jewel movements. But Accurist also supplied gold watches, generally for long service awards and some of these had engines like the ETA 1100 day/date movement, so you get a Movado triple date vibe for less money.
Essentially Accurist reflected the rigid British class system of the 50s and 60s, so you need to hunt down the Divermatic models, or the Valjoux 22 powered chronographs aimed at wealthier chaps. You will have to pay anywhere from £500-£1500 for an Accurist chronograph, depending on condition and whether the stop/start and flyback mechanism has been refurbished properly – and recently.
In the mid-60s Accurist let Richard Loftus launch a sub-brand called Old England, which is very Swinging London/Carnaby Street. Watches shaped like steering wheels, big plastic straps for the Twiggy-esque ladies range, the full Austin Powers works.
I own a spaceman Old England, which has a nice ETA mechanical movement and a see-thru back. Still on the original leather strap. That cost me about £70 a few years ago, possibly worth £100 now.
It’s worth picking up a 9ct gold Shockmaster, with its slimline case and 33mm diameter. Makes a nice retro dress watch and the 6g or so of gold in the caseback will always have a separate value. Aim to pay about £250, maybe £50-£75 more if it hasn’t got an inscription on the caseback.
No you won’t get rich collecting Accurist watches, but you will get good value.
The thing about Kickstarter is that it lets watch enthusiasts chase their dreams and that is a truly great thing. There is very little real democracy in politics right now, but online there is a level playing field when it comes to designing and building watches. Just do it. If people like the idea, then it will win support and you can get your first batch made at the factory.
So it’s great to see Hoglund offering a chrono with the ever popular Seagull chronograph movement inside, plus a pulseometer on the dial track, so you can measure your pulse after a jog to the Capitol whilst sporting the latest in buffalo horns headgear.
Only joking Joe, have an ice cream and relax man…
So the Hoglund & Sons watch Co founder has a medical background, which is why the Hoglund has that pulse tracking feature. Nice touch. There are blue, black or white dials, twin sub-dials and the watch has a 40mm case.
It’s a strong rival to the Sugess chronos on Ali Express at $249 on the early bird deal, plus you get a bamboo box with this model, which is a sustainable wood we believe. See-thru caseback crystal is sapphire as well by the way.
Nice job all round and worth a look we reckon. More here.
Timex watch designer head honcho Giorgio Galli has inspired this high quality model from Timex. It’s quite a smooth number to be fair.
Now you might have a problem paying £425 for a Timex watch, indeed friends may say, `WTF, you could have bought a Tissot for that, or a nice used Zelos dive watch?’
This is true, but let’s look at the Galli auto and see if it’s worth collecting. First, there’s that single jewel in the dial, bold as you like, like a ruby in a sea of silver. Then there’s the classic 1960s dial; clean, nice hands & hour markers, with a 41mm case size being the perfect compromise for many a wrist. Got a bit of Madmen vibe in there.
You get a K1 mineral glass crystal, heat treated for a bit of extra scratch resistance. The see-thru caseback reveals a Miyota movement with a skeletonised rotor and a little bit of polishing and brass gear cogs – well, I assume they are brass. Could be gold tone.
Then there’s the fancy cut-outs on the sides of the steel case. Something different for sure and the case is made from four separate pieces. Kinda trick and that flish fit strap is another essential little detail that shows how complete the design is, how it flows. Look at the thread grooves on the case too.
This is stylish work and NWC mag reckons more luxury Timex models will be in the pipeline for 2022.
Verdict; We still aren’t convinced it’s worth over 400 quid. But wait for the January Sale, you might be tempted with 20 % off. Maybe this Galli model is a Timex that actually deserves a different brand name, in the same way that a Lexus isn’t just like a Toyota Avensis.
You know Timex once bought Polaroid from Edwin Land, who originally sold that famous readers wives snapshot device as a Land camera. Perhaps its time to launch a sub-brand called Edwin Land, or even a digital brand called Polaroid – a watch that’s a camera?
Just ideas…we don’t copyright `em because we’re poor.
We all know that flipping a Rolex is a no-brainer. If you can get a new Rolex Sub, Daytona or Sea-Dweller then you can sell it a few months later and probably make between 5K and 20K profit.
That’s why some Rolex dealers have three year waiting lists, they are the world’s safest investment this side of a detached property in Surrey. Not the Milgauss or the Air-King obviously, nobody really likes those.
But some watch brands not only fail to rise in value, they can lose you a fortune too, sometimes over 50% of the retail price in under two years. Depends on the model naturally, but here are some tips on which supposed `prestige’ brands are often a poor investment.
Titan/Tata the car maker thought they would revive an old Swiss brand and yes, they produced some nice watches. The Favre-Leuba Raider for example is a nice Valjoux 7753 powered chronograph. But is it worth over two grand? Not really.
Titan are scaling down Favre-Leuba watch production this year and cutting their losses. The sorry episode shows you need more than an 18th century heritage to sell watches. If you’re tempted to buy an Favre-Leuba in the closing down sale our advice is don’t, you’ll never live long enough to see a return on that investment.
Once the byword for Swiss movement quality, the old Eterna name morphed into ETA, which still powers many watches today – made in Singapore, Swizerland or the UK.
Now Eterna produces Sellita powered automatics which are OK, albeit slightly dated in terms of style. That wouldn’t matter if they were charging Rotary or Seiko Tuna money RRP, but at £1700 or more an Eterna is a really huge waste of money. Look hard enough online and you can find some of them at £400.
Don’t buy the Eterna Kon-Tiki at £1600 thinking you will make money. With just 200m of depth resistance and a Sellita SW200 inside it Eterna are really taking the pi** frankly. There are better watches in the Christopher Ward range for £700.
Ask 100 random watch browsers in a shop where they think Hamilton watches are made and I guarantee that at least 10 of them will say the USA. Still, after decades of being part of the Swatch Group, people still believe Hamilton is a US watch brand.
Try selling a Hamilton Jazzmaster (WTH is that name all about?), Khaki or even a Ventura at a watch shop or pawnbrokers and you will be shocked at the low offer. Typically under £200 with box n papers. The problem is that many collectors have twigged that Hamilton use the same Powermatic 80 movement as the entry level Tissot models, which is a perfectly OK movement, but still.
The Intra-Matic looks nice but inside you’ll find the ancient Valjoux 7753 engine, adapted and tweaked. For £1600 that’s not a great deal.
You can buy lots of vintage Valjoux 7753 powered watches online for £600-£900 and you might actually make some cash. Need we go on? Buy a vintage Hamilton instead.
I once had a Montblanc foutain pen, lovely thing. That’s the trouble, many collectors still think this is a pen and accessory brand, not a watch brand.
Owned by Richemont, the Montblanc factory produces some amazing limited editions but their bread n butter range is seen gathering dust in many High Street jewellers shops. Unloved and viewed with some suspicion.
Controversial eh? Much as I like to support watchmaking in the UK, after working 18 months in a pawnbrokers shop I had ONE, yes one, enquiry to see and try on a Bremont watch which languished in the window. The pre-owned Breitlings, TAGs, Rolex, Omega and other fast-moving models all had collectors asking to view on a daily basis.
These are beautifully made watches, very heavy too, so you feel like you’re getting lots of watch for the money. But four grand retail for the MBII or ALT P2? You will need an ejector seat when your wife finds out you spent 4K on a watch she’s never heard of. Fact.
Bamford London, famous for their customised variants of Rolex, TAG and Zenith models, have launched the B347, which features a Sellita SW510 chrono movement.
There are two version in blue and black, both with monopusher chrono functions. Quick change date, 41.5mm case width, sapphire crystal and carbon case, featuring steel back. The case has that meteorite look about it.
Various strap options and we love the Panda black/white model best, the sub-dials really kick out. Price is £2500.
Hamilton has a problem within watch retail. It’s seen as a budget brand, with nice models, but a lack of true collector appeal and you could say, a lack of defining, unique models within the brand line-up.
The quirky Ventura IS different, but it needs a modern brand ambassador – you can’t sell watches using Elvis now, he’s been dead for four decades.
The Khaki struggles to win cult admirers in the same way a Seiko Alpinist does. The Intra-Matic is very cool chronograph but it shares its movement with budget Hamilton models and retails at nearly two grand. Really, the Intra-Matic should have something like a micro-rotor movement with a see-thru caseback to set it apart in terms of tech.
Just ideas, we all have them. But Hamilton have decided to capitalise on the craze for online gaming with a Far Cry model.
Here”s the video trailer;
So what’s the deal here? Well the Khaki watch will feature gameplay benefits and functions. Hamilton say that the Khaki Field Titanium Automatic is gifted to game players following the completion of a dangerous mission.
That is you win a virtual watch, not a real one. You have to buy that.
But will gamers decide that the Khaki is cool enough to wear, or just collect, in the real world? It’s a difficult question and Hamilton faces tricky decisions in the future if it is to save itself from oblivion. Fact is, Swiss watches under £1000 struggle to sell because buyers see them as low status, not impressive enough to command bragging rights down at the gym, classic car meet etc.
We are seeing the collapse of the middle market in watches, cars, clothing and so much more. People want an impressive brand name, or something cheap n cheerful that ticks the right boxes at Aldi or Lidl. That’s why Debenhams is dead. That’s why M&S is heading the same 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.
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.
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 TMTCeramic 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.”