A question for Alex

Dear Alex, I often see the results of watch auctions at Christie's and antiquorum and notice that if, say, there were 10 VC's for auction, there will be perhaps 50 PP.s. I also know that VC struggled quite a bit, perhaps after the quartz travesty just to stay alive....But I also notice this dispropotion in numbers with the vintage pieces, ie., 1950's and 1960's Do you or any other member know if PP was in the 1950's a much larger company than VC or about the same size. Naturally, these companies  made for a limited clientel (as is today the case) and both would have made many less watches than say an Omega, a Rolex, or a Longines. But what explains that there are many more vintage PP's at auctions than vintage VC's. My understanding was that in the 1950's both VC and PP produced only about 3,000 pieces each. So, I'm confused by this phenomena. Best wishes!
07/03/2013 - 22:07
07/04/2013 - 11:56
07/04/2013 - 18:04
07/04/2013 - 21:41
KL
07/06/2013 - 02:49
"Do you or any other member know"
07/04/2013 - 06:17
Your post was addressed to Alex but there was this opening and the poor man has to go home sometime, so please tolerate my attempt to answer your question.   Of course, when PP began V&C was already over 80 years old so they were ahead in the numbers game.  I believe you are correct to suggest they were essentially tied during the 1950s and 60s (perhaps closer to 5,000 pieces annually), while today PP produces about 30,000 mechanical watches annually to VCs 20,000.  But, as you've noted, this ratio is not represented in the vintage marketplace.  God, the big online dealers have pages and pages of vintage PP watches in generally great condition and at stable prices, while only a smattering of V&C and often dodgy ones at that frown.   I don't think there is any secret to this; PP was considered an investment brand, only carefully and occasionally worn, while V&C were not.  The shift probably (OK, likely) occurred with the JLC merger which included the loss of the Verger collaboration and wide-scale use of outside ebauches.  While they still had a great history and cache, those with an eye to long-term value tended to pass on all but the high complications.  Even at similar prices, a V&C was worn often and often worn out.  If you consider, AP of that vintage had even smaller production numbers yet are generally priced less than either PP or V&C.  IMHO, VC was only holding it's ground until Richemont's aquisition in 1996.   I welcome hearing the opinions of others on this "touchy" subject.
1989
07/04/2013 - 11:56
1989 and The Art of Patek Philippe Antiquorum auction is the milestone date having created the modern Patek Philippe myth. At the same time Patek started buying its own pieces for its museum which made prices go up while a great marketing/communication campaign was set up jointly with Antiquorum. When prices go up there are obviously mnore sellers which explains whx there are so many Patek Philippes at auction Furthermore if you read aurel Bacs' of Christie's interview his explanation is that VC production was extremely low. I do not have production figures for PP but up til the 1990s Vc production was less than 3000 and I would imagine much less in the 50s
Re: 1989
07/04/2013 - 18:04
Clever marketing can't explain the vast differences between PP and V&C in the vintage marketplace.  Even before The Art of Patek Phillipe, at  Antiquorum's 1988 Geneva auction there were 154 Pateks offered and only 36 Vacheron Constantins.  In 1990, also at Geneva, Antiquorum offered 175 PPs and a mere 39 VCs.  Looking over a few years, it seems a ratio of 4:1 has been consistent while PP's production post-Depression was roughly the same as VC.
Re: Re: 1989
07/04/2013 - 21:41
I've though a lot about this and let's remember that PP had the great connection with Tiffany's so that PP may have had a better recognition in America. My grandmother had a PP and my aunt blew $4000 on an all diamond PP in the early 1950's but when my parents honemooned in Europe, the consierge at his Geneva hotel informed him that Vacheron was the best of all watchmakers and, thus, my mom bought my dad a VC which I've passed down to my son. I owned two other VC's that I sold to my regret,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,If your dad left you a VC, you are probably going to be VC for ever even with all the slings and arrows VC has endured during part of its recent history, ie., the 1970's through the 1990's. Thanks, guys for giving me insight.
Easy question ;-)
07/06/2013 - 02:49
VC owners don't want to sell : D