VC policy on charging for an insurance valuation

Please note that the contents of this message is not aimed at any of the staff at VC, it is meant for the decision makers within the VC management team; I am also a member of the Collectors Club.
When I enquired at my local VC boutique in London for an insurance  valuation on my newly acquired watch I was told it would cost me £190.00 - ($310)
This is three days wages for some people in the UK
I was aghast!
When I took my Breguet Aeronavale Type XX to the London Breguet boutique I was given a FREE written valuation within 10 minutes.
When I took wife’s vintage Cartier Ceinture to the London Cartier boutique the details were noted and I received a FREE valuation in the post.
My question is simply this:-
Why do VC charge to valuate their own watches whilst other high end watch houses offer this service complimentary?
Please correct me if I am wrong but someone will take a note of the case & movement number, check the VC data base and then copy/paste the details onto paper.
This will be followed by the current replacement cost of a similar watch.
This whole procedure lasting all of 5 minutes?
Please do not insult my intelligence with the following:-
i) It needs to be sent to Switzerland.
(No it doesn’t, a photo and the case/movement number can be emailed to Switzerland)

ii) It is a vintage watch that requires a special tool to remove the back.
(No it doesn’t, I have personally removed the back with a simply small inflated ball. I would be more than happy to show the on-site watchmaker how I did this)?
I am sorry but rather than VC projecting a ‘Thank you for purchasing one of our fine watches, how can we help you further’, the image projected is of Scrooge saying  ‘How can we squeeze any more money from this client’?
I am not an unreasonable person and fully understand service charges that require the time of a highly skilled watchmaker with many years of training but to charge for a service that the company secretary can do leaves a very bad taste.
In addition I could understand charging if someone comes in regularly with many watches and is clearly a dealer but for the ‘man in the street’ who simply wishes to insure his treasured watch, to charge them…..really? sad
(If this is the case then just place a limit of 2 x free valuations per year)
If someone from VC can justify charging at all, let alone this extortionate fee, then please kindly let all us VC members know?

Thank you.
Very interesting and thought provink post. I wish I knew the
01/05/2014 - 16:04
answer to this. All I can say is that different brands have different policies with regards to these things.  I am sure your queston will get answered.  On a different tangent, I had a most gracious expreience with VC, when they undertook to to do a free first service of my timepiece even though the warranty had expired. The warranty had expired in February 2012, and while I was supposed to travel to the country (where I bought my watch) within that date, I had to delay my trip by a month due to a family member medical reason. VC understood my plight and did the service free of cost; essentially saving me approximately USD 750-800.
Bravo to the staff at your local VC
01/05/2014 - 17:57
I also found the staff at the London VC boutique to be extremely polite and helpful :) I understand that their hands are tied when it comes to the company policy of charging for an insurance valuation and have no issues with them whatsoever. I do feel however that the VC decision makers should review their Public Relations (PR) status.
Re: VC policy on charging for an insurance valuation
01/05/2014 - 19:37
Perhaps this is a surcharge by the local agent, as I've found with Richemont Canada.  The VC website is pretty clear on what they provide...
Insurance document or Historical document ?
01/05/2014 - 20:37
Thank you for this image Tick -Talk. So for £190.00 I will receive a document stating and I quote ''s price in Swiss francs on the occasion of the last sale by our Manufacture' My watch is 48 years old so I will receive an insurance valuation of it's purchase price 48 years ago? This is very misleading and should not be called a CERTIFICATE FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES. This is not an insurance valuation, it is simply an historical document about the origins of the watch. Why would I want to insure my watch for a fraction of it's current value, insurance is offered so you can replace an item as best you can in todays market. A Van Gogh may have cost 100 francs originally, is VC sugesting that in todays market that is what it is still worth? Perhaps I have read this wrong and someone from VC can clarfiy for me. Thank you
Re: Insurance document or Historical document ?
01/05/2014 - 21:39
Hi Steve, and welcome. The document that Dean showed does mention getting an appraisal from one of the auction house. I'm sure Christies, Antiquorum, Sothebys, Bonhams or Phillips will all be helpful and will likely charge you nothing, at least for a verbal quote; and perhaps even for a written quote. You can try calling them. Their quote(s) should give you some idea of the current value. You can contact your insurance company and see if they will accept the appraisal value from of these auction houses. My feeling is that they will since they have a close eye on the market. Good luck! Joseph
Re: Re: Insurance document or Historical document ?
01/05/2014 - 22:10
Thank you for your suggestions Joseph. I work in central London and Sotheby's in less than 15 minutes away. I guess VC believe that all their clients are so rich that they can charge what they like without any justification. I do sincerely hope I am wrong, VC is a wonderful brand and many pieces will be inherited by people who only wish to protect their precious heirloom. Cartier issued a free insurance certificate describing the watch and what it would cost to replace it with a new similar model. Why cannot VC do the same?
Re: Re: Re: Insurance document or Historical document ?
01/05/2014 - 23:38
It's interesting Steve that some companies will provide such info and some won't. I don't think it has anything to do with how VC regards their clientele. Perhaps they feel that to offer a valuation carries its own problems given the fluctuation in price of some vintage pieces. All you need is 2 bidders who really want a watch and they can drive the price sky-high. As you can imagine a litigious individual may be inclined to seek legal redress if they were quoted a low price and a similar watch sold for many times more than that estmate. It's a bit of a crap-shoot and I can tell you from personal experience that the price of a vintage piece is really dependent on how many people want it and how deep their pockets are. I have been disappointed and astounded by the price that my own watches have gone for at auction. There is even a fluctuation between countries (NYC vs Geneva vs HK vs Paris). What i have done in the past in setting up a data base is to go through at least 3 auction houses and look at their results over the years from various auctions in the different countries. You will find that some prices have increased and some decreased for the same watch. You will also find that the price someone is selling a watch for will be significantly lower (not in all cases) than a retailer since the latter will add a mark-up. VC also does that with the vintage pieces they sell. Given the complexity, you might find that the valuation by Cartier or whomever is only an approximation. Personally I would just take it as a single data point and find other ones on my own to get a realistic value. You can then take your information to your insurance company. For a watch still actively made or sold by a retailer (ie in production), you can just get a value by checking the current retail price at the London VC boutique or Harrods which has a VC Boutique in their store. I know it's complicated but ultimately you'll have a realistic value laugh Joseph
Re: Re: Re: Re: Insurance document or Historical document ?
01/06/2014 - 17:13
Thank you Joseph. You are right and I do appreciate it is difficult to value a vintage item due to the various factors that you have covered. I have again contacted VC London and they have very kindly offered to email me details of a similar watch that they have for sale that the insurance company will hopefully accept the details of.
Good olde' Sotheby's
01/14/2014 - 20:39
Thanks Joseph. I contacted Sotheby's in London by emali and they have sorted this issue out for me fine :)
cool, glad things worked out
01/16/2014 - 16:47


contrary info
01/06/2014 - 11:12
Hi Steve, The certificate for insurrance costs €120 (excluding local VAT) and can be obtained without sending the watch to CH so probably you and the salesperson were priobably not talking about the same thing. Furthermore as Joseph's response is pretty accurate on the reason why VC will not provide a current resale value for a vintage watch and AFAIK this is common practice with other high end watch brands.  
Re: contrary info
01/06/2014 - 18:18
Hi Alex, My final feeling regarding the issue of charging for a valuation, is that it is probably best left to the individual to decide if they feel this is right or not! VC watches, in my opinion epitomise one of the very best watch houses and I am proud to be lucky enough to own one..