How rare is rare?

One of Nicholas Hayek Sr's taits of genie was the creation of the limited edition watch in the 80s with the Swatch watch designed by famous artists and created in a limited amount and sold as such.

Today all brands from the smallest to the most prestegious make limited edition watches. But then again we have limited edition and Limited Edition and sometimes its a great way of changing a dial and adding a premium.

For you what does it take for a limited edition to be truly considered as rare and what do you consider the maximum number of pieces a limited edition should be made in? 

Interesting question. For me a limited edition should have more to
03/26/2008 - 13:30

it than just a dial color change but a real difference may it be in type of metal used for the case, the functions or dial type (ie enamel, platinum etc...). 

Furthermore if the limited edition watch has just a small aesthetic modification vs the regular production model than I don't want to be charged a premium.

Finally, anything over 500 pieces isn't really limited in my book.

Just my 2c... 

Re: How rare is rare?
03/26/2008 - 14:08

To me a limited edition should not exceed a number of 250 pieces (i.e. Jubilee models in each metal color). Then it is truly a collector's piece by today's standards. Doc would fiercely argue this point, but what the heck (he's got them unique pieces from the 30's )

I believe that modifications made in limited edition watches should go further than just design gimmicks. I am talking about different metal usage (like in Platinum Excellence Collection), further design development, new strap and clasp designs (US Overseas and Royal Eagle). We could actually count forever as far as what we would like to see in limited edition VCs. The point is if a watch (and I mean any watch) grabs a hold of your heart then you should make it your own and play it for keeps. That's limited edition then... 

PS. No ROO nor Hublot (no offense, I like the design) limited editions that count in thousands appeal to me since, to me, they are as rare (or as popular) as the regular models.

The 1755 Jubilee models were in fact made in 500 pieces in each gold
03/26/2008 - 17:51

color and 250 in platinum.

Limitied Editions
03/26/2008 - 18:09

that are made in larger numbers than the regular production series..LOL... I seen a WTB ad for a watch like it was so rare (sorry Doc) 1 out of a 1000 in SS wow. He didn't mention 250 in each color of gold plus 50 in platinum.  With numbers like that in limited editions every watch can be called and LE.

Well Alex,
03/26/2008 - 14:28

this is a question I have ponder on many times.  A limited edition should be a number not more than 250 depending on the piece so the collectors of your watch have a chenge to maybe get one.  This is the reason I think they should have sold the  Mask individually instead of sets of 4.  Now "rare" that a whole different thing I think rare is no more than 50 total in all combinations like the “Cornes de Vache” chronographes where 36 were produces 26 yellow gold 8 pink gold 2 platinum with variety of dials.

photo from Antiquorum

I love that watch! Just a reminder, HTML doesn't work so to upload a
03/26/2008 - 15:27

photo you can insert the link from your hoster by clicking on the + icon.

Thanks for the info...nt
03/26/2008 - 15:56


The question is extremely hard to answer,
03/26/2008 - 16:50

because it's an enormously wide question!

It would have been easier if you had asked limited.

Rare could have been produced in several thousands,

as this poster I have, but which there are left still very few left of,

and which I can't show you, because the site isn't rarely(!) not working, get it ?

This site's posting of pics have been working 1.000.000 times, at least,

but to show how rare it is, it has to show that it does not work now !

So rare should not be confused with how many that was produced from the beginning.

Rare is how difficult it is to achieve an object now.

Of course most vintage VC's are rare,

because they were produced in very small series from the beginning,

and therefore few are at the market.

It could also be, certain objects that are so beloved by their owner, that they don't sell them.

Rare could be one of the most produced cars ever, an old VW,

because, as all that once owned one, knows they disappear in rust!

Of course I know some few watches, that were rare from the beginning,

since it only was produced one unique example of them 

Rare is also the utmost friendliness, comradship and egagement,

combined with humor at this site, Hour Lounge


you crack me up :-) Good points so let's not talk about rare but
03/26/2008 - 17:50


rare for me.............
03/26/2008 - 18:05

For me rare watch is not made rare intentionally, but it makes rare itself. Such watches are either too difficult to make it general (i mean its movement or appearance) . watchmakers must want neither afford nor want to manufacture again .

Limited Editions
03/26/2008 - 19:06

I think a rare watch s/b a watch with a unique function or feature, as an example a split second chronograph and have them made in qty's of 25-50 per year for a limited amount of years. Perhaps Vacheron can use the past by marketing their "Collector: watches as rare and built in qty's of 36 watches tying in the past to the present. This would also give so exposure to the vintage market. 

Limited Editions are totally different. They should NOT be somthing made for a particular market ie; american OS chrono, with nothing more than a different dial color or texture. After saying this I still bought one...go figure.

A good example of limited editions is the Chronometere Royal. It was a new and unique watch which they made 100 pieces in the 1st year available world wide with the red at 12:00, then the following years change the dial and have it integrated into the product line.

The 250th anniversary editions were in my eyes very unique and are quite rare with the possible exception of the Jubile models. Perhaps the Jubile models are not rare when you look at the qty's produced but because they are so popular very few hit the market...could this also be catagorized as rare or a limited edition? I don't know the answer but I would like to hear your opinion on that one Alex. 

If you have to many LE's to me it becomes common place and seems like its more marketing hype than coming up with something special, thus diminishing the meaning behind LE's. The example being the ROO. I hope Vacheron doesn't go down that road.

I view limited editions in two ways
03/26/2008 - 19:19

for me a limited edition should have somethiing other than just a dial change from the regular production model to make it interesting, this difference could be functional (ie: the Malte Power Reserve with moon made for the Taiwan market), in the metal used (ie palladium) or the type of dial (ie: enamel, platinum).

Furthermore its fine with me if there are special models made for specific markets with a little change (John's example of the US Overseas) as long as I don't get charged a heavy premium for it. What I do hate is having a flagship model having a dial makeover and being sold each year in large quantities as a limited edition with a rather steep premium over the regular production piece (Hublot and ROO come to mind).

Rare for me would be anything under a production number of 500, of course when you consider the market today even 2000 pieces worldwide is a small drop compared to demand but its just not exclusive/rare enough n my book. That's why the 1755 Jubilé models are not rare in my opinion: they were made in 1755 pieces (500 in YG, WG, RG and 250 in plat). They are beautiful and hard to find but not really rare.

Limited Edition!
03/26/2008 - 19:54

I know this question has been discussed before, several times,

and in different forums and on different objects.

Considering art as lithographies, the "true" limited sum must not be over 100,

so those series of 300 or more, are of course limited to a certain number, but not regarded as limited.

This are figures I have found in my litterture, where the lithographer says a serie of 90 prints for sale,

and 10 as HC = Hors Commerse, which are the arist's prints.

This is the number I have seen at several different places in the litterature.

But, I also, at least at two times, read that concerning watches the figure is 30 pieces,

don't ask me why.

These are the references I can give and have found, 

but one thing is absolute, the word limited, is today utterly abused,

and has lost it's real meaning 


Less than 50 (nt)
03/26/2008 - 22:56


Limited & rare
03/27/2008 - 00:16

I totally agree with Mario and doc.

Limited series of watches should be thought as a piece of Art: for me it should be no more than 30 x pieces including 5 x very special ones (hors du commerce like a very nice book or a "sérigraphie" (sorry i forgot the english word !).

all the best to you VC fans !

A rare watch must be
03/27/2008 - 10:11

a watch that has a different variation than those from regular production. For example, if VC has no world time, then a LE can be one with that complication. Changing dial and color, strap, etc. may be done but IMHO it's more for a marketing purpose, for ex. ROO. And charging a high premium on that kind of marketing watches is something I don't fact it's too ridiculous. 

Special mov't (maybe some rare nos mov't of 50 pcs from the past) cased in special LE watch can also qualify as a true LE., that's ok even if the premium is least you pay for something different and unusual.

Re: How rare is rare?
03/27/2008 - 12:32

I think the maximum of pieces for a limited edition does not exceed 250 (including platinum, gold,...)

But the first thing that make a watch is rare is not only the number but, first, the characteristics of is movement (special complication) or is dial (Enamelled or hand engraved for example).

Hard question...
03/27/2008 - 13:22

...too many LE are just a change of colors, materials, dial, etc.

It could be very interesting, and totally change the look and the perception of the the  Bi Retro for Cortina

For me, a limited edition should be a very "unique" piece which distance the other watches with a more complicated caliber or a real original thing. I think that there is nothing more annoying for an owner of a LE to see its LE republished in series with another sauce.

My two cents.

hmmmm.... interesting question...
03/27/2008 - 13:55

In terms of numbers, I would agree with most and say that 250 pieces seems to be a good number.

Having said that, it also depends on what is the demand for the model - if the production number is amde to respond to the demand, than in my view it should not be called a limited edition. For example, if they had made 250 pieces of the Tour de l'Ile, I'm sure some of them would still be available in shops, and in the end VC would have sold as many as if it would have been done under normal production...

I'm sure we all feel the same, but I do not like the marketing strategy of ROO and Hublot, where each year they brand their "normal" production as "limited edition", making minor tweaks each time... I think Hublot is the biggest culprit in that sense - I'm sure there are more LEs out there than there are normal pieces...

I obviously like it when the limited editions are completely different from the normal production (i.e., the 250 anniversary pieces), but I also do not mind if the LE has only a small change to it compared to the normal edition. The Black nickel dial malte tourbillon is a good example - only the dial was changed, but that completely changes the whole look of the watch. I see the LEs as fun and I do like the fact that it gives more diversity to the buyers (even when it is just changing a white dial to a black one), but I do not like to have to pay a bigger premium because of its limited status. I am Ok to pay a premium if it reflects the extra material costs, but not if the color of the dial is blue instead of red...

If you want rare = limited Vacheron&Constantin's,easy coice!
03/27/2008 - 18:03

Go for vintage VC's at least up until 50's.

I have shown you this before,

but now it's extremely informative!

It's a letter from the "Old Firm" to their AD's 1950.

Please read all, but if short of time, the lines at the bottom at least

As I understand this letter, I believe that it is for each year, but I have no such information,

on the other hand some of the models, a total of over 60 References,

in the enclosed catalogue, I have seen to often, to believe that it only were 24 pieces made of them.


Doc, I thaught that in 1950, some model were produced for more than
03/27/2008 - 19:34

24 pièces. Am I wrong?

Yes you are wrong :-)
03/27/2008 - 22:39

I think they had about 64 models!

64 x 24 = 1.536 watches !

In 1937 they only made 437 watches in a whole year.

I got two...


This is a very informative news!
03/27/2008 - 23:57

Where are you getting such secrets, Doc?

Now, we can talk about rare watches, because to find some left in very good condition, is relevant!

Rare doesn't = collectable
03/28/2008 - 05:47

Many thing are rare because nobody wanted it so production ended early.  And their are watch that when the came on the market was considered not sucessful that are sought after today