I Read an interview of Philippe Stern of Patek Philippe

This whole Watch Auction Concept I read all started in 1989 with the 150th Anniversary of Patek Philippe.  It sounds like companies buy back watches and it sounds like alot of high prices are paid.  Sometimes on the internet I will see the same Patek Philippe Watch double in price in six months.

Philippe Stern talked about how truely horrible that Patek Philippe is selling for so high, but gets so angry if Patek Philippe Wristwatches sell for a dollar less than retail.

He seems to have created a Frankenstein and then denies any involvement, and talks about how much integrety there is and how angry he gets at people who sell Patek Philippes at a huge profit, yet denies that he created that whole profiteering climate to begin with.  It is like the Mortgage Meltdown and preditory lending and the banks deny any wrong doing.  I am not accusing Philippe Stern of breaking any laws, and his product is a great product, but lets be honest, Philippe Stern has done a great job at Marketing his watches, and creating Patek Mania.  These Watch Auctions I really wonder about.

what you are pointing a finger at is also something which attracts
02/08/2008 - 09:39

many people.

In 1989 Antiquorum lainched its 1st Thematic auction with a sale dedicated solely to Patek Philippe, in 1994 it folllowed up with its 1st Vacheron Constantin thematic auction but 10 years later the prces of VCs have not hit the same sky high prices as Patek.

One thing is that Stern decided to start buying back important watches for its museum as to make available to a large public the exceptional and rare watches not made only by Patek Philippe but by other historically important brands such as Breguet, Perthoud, Oiguet Meylan etc... (almost half of the watches displayed in the PP museum are not Pateks).

Of course this raised the publics awareness to PP which in return fueled the high prices at auction or secondary markets. However what people tend to forget is that its not your every day Calatrava or Annual Calendar which will make you rich after selling your watch at auction but the rare and complicated watches.

Today maybe things are getting out of hand for PP on secondary markets, the brand seems to be attracting flipers and speculators rather than those truly attracted to the watches themselves (there have been inumerable discussions on this here on HL).

As for buying back your own watches I think its a great thing and sometimes I wish that VC would have bought back some of the important watches of its history so that instead of being locked away in a private safe they would be available to be seen by the brand's aficionados.  

Auction is used by all trademarks (Louis Vuitton, Hermes...)
02/08/2008 - 17:10

- not only in watch area - in order to constitue the private museum of the trademark.

The problem here is different :

How we can be sure that the seller is not linked with the trademark buyer (ie : last problem with the Omega auction)

Re: Auction is used by all trademarks (Louis Vuitton, Hermes...)
02/08/2008 - 20:37


well I think it is just plain irresponsible of Patek Philippe to allow it's current contemporary consumer products to sell at rediculous prices.  Patek is playing a game of musical chairs and I wonder if Mr. Stern will buy back all the high priced Patek Philippe watches when the market crashes.  I like Vacheron Constantin (I think all their watches should have the Geneva Seal like Patek) and like the sensible prices, I like the fact that you can buy them at a discount, I like the fact that Vacheron Constantin is a well made consumer product and not some legendary work of art that was done by Vincent Van Gogh.  Mr. Stern has a hissie fit if anybody pays less than retail price for his watches and could care less if they sell for double the suggested retail price and of course take no responsibility for and and is secretive about his company.

how can a brand stop its watches selling at a premium? Regarding list
02/08/2008 - 21:05

VC's aint cheap eaither and basically ALL brands look very unfavorably at discounts.

Once agin its a game of offer and deman if there are more buyers than sellers and the buyers are ready to put in big bucks then tehre is nothing anyone can do about it?

Re: how can a brand stop its watches selling at a premium? Regarding list
02/10/2008 - 01:03

Hi Alex,

sure Vacheron Constantin has some expensive models.  I don't think many sell for full retail.  I certainly think Patek Philippe should discontinue their retailers and simply trade them on the French and British and Japanese and American Stock Exchanges since the watches they produce cannot be worn or else the value will drop 100 grand, and thats too big a loss for a watch to wear on your wrist.  Would you leave your Vincent Van Gogh Painting out in the rain?

For the most part Vacheron Constantin watches are bought at lower prices and sold at lower prices and it is a product that you can safely wear and enjoy unlike a Patek Philippe which is something you put in your safe and sell in 10-20 years for a big profit.  Patek Philippe may be a family owned company, but the Stern Family where not the orriginal founders of Patek Philippe, they are merely the current owners of Patek Philippe.

Re: what you are pointing a finger at is also something which attracts
02/08/2008 - 20:26

Mr. Stern has done an incredible job creating his museum and I take my hat off to him for that.  I do think Vacheron is also correct to leave alot of past Vacheron Constantin Watches to collectors to enjoy.  If collectors want to donate their Vacherons to the Vacheron Constantin museum than that would be noble to do.  Patek must be earning alot of money to be able to afford such a state of the art museum, they must be a very profitable company.

My major concern is that Patek Philippe seems to have become some sortof Legend when all it really is is a well made watch.

Can employees of Patek Philippe be hired by private citizens to make a Patek Philippe minute repeater?  Will Patek Philippe sell the watch parts to the general public?  Can you buy a Patek Philippe watch kit of say a 5004 or a 3970 or a 5020 or a 5101P or 5002 or 3939H or 5016 or 5102  and just hire a few Patek Philippe employees on their days off and weekends and pay them a few hundred grand to make a Patek Philippe model of your choice?

Alex, Vacheron Constantin is a luxury, consumer goods, well made wristwatch, it is not some legendary God or a Priceless work of art.

Patek Philippe I believe has gone over the line.  Why are they sooooooooooo secretive?  What makes Patek so special to get half a million dollars or more for a plain modern contemporary time only minute repeater?     I bet the labor and parts only cost 80K and the rest is all the fluff.  Why not sell it for 200K and be done with it, and produce enough for the consumer.

Thomas Agee

2 things need to be considered: the prmium that one pays for
02/08/2008 - 21:09

the brand on the dial and that a luxury item no matter what it is and no mettre how expensive is totally delinked to the price it costs to manufacture.

Why should Patek or any brand sell its parts to the public? They have R&D people, watchmakers, people in sales, administration etc... and they need to be paid and people who are ready to pay big bucks halp these people to keep their jobs.

BTW the skeleton minute repeater pictures on top of the page also costs half a million dollars, does that make VC unworthy (considering that it takes almost 2 years to make one)?

You're absolutely right about luxury goods pricing
02/08/2008 - 22:09

The "value" added to the "lifestyle", "image", "pride", etc associations with a "brand" is ultra amplified for luxury brands.

A luxury brand has to be exclusive by definition. That usually means: expensive and only available in select locations. That is true of every luxury good.

In the watch industry, costs are at least 3 times manufacturing cost, and going to well over 5-10 times for the more "exclusive" models. In the clothing/garment industry I cannot even imagine what the premiums are for some of them. Jewelry is the same.

Some watch companies position themselves in certain price ranges irrespective of the manufacturing cost: you can either sell less watches more expensively (VC, PP, Lange, Breguet, ...) or more watches cheaper (JLC, Rolex, IWC, ...).

You pay premiums for everything you buy (not necessarily luxury goods only) that has been successfully branded with a lifestyle: Levi's, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger (who I repeat don't even make their own clothing line), Nike, Body Shop, Starbucks, etc...

Marketing & collecting,
02/08/2008 - 22:13

walks hand in hand.

The morethat is heard about a brand, the greater the interest.

When people have started collecting a Brand,

many get hooked, no matter what's inside or outside.

Tiffany is an example of a company that made very exspensive watches,

and for it's longest period, as I remeber,

used mainly VC or PP movements !

Now Tiffany is once again pushed for,

and I believe they are creating their own movements/watches again.

They, for a rather short period, made their own movements earlier in a factory in Switzerland?

Ebauches, I would guess, but as I rember, before that PP or VC made the whole watch,

and Tiffany just put their name on the dial.

Please correct me if I'm wrong,

but what I will point out is what Alex says, marketing,

both of new and vintage watches of the own name is then ABC!

Vacheron&Constantin hasn't been concerned about marketing before,

at any time, I would dare to say,

so it's not so stunning that PP has taken the lead