Vintage Watches vs Price of Gold

With gold prices expected to top $1200 an ounce over the next year, I wonder if the ultimate fate of many vintage watches will be the melting pot?  This idea came to me during discussions at another forum...that the collector's market may very well improve if tired old watches, including Vacherons, were removed from the gene pool once and for all!

After all, many are beyond the point of restoration, with corroded dials and heavily scratched cases, yet they still appear with nauseating regularity on auction sites, trying to tempt the unaware or naive.  What say you?
09/04/2009 - 06:23
09/04/2009 - 08:37
09/05/2009 - 02:21
09/07/2009 - 23:27
Doc
09/08/2009 - 20:26
Re: Vintage Watches vs Price of Gold
09/04/2009 - 04:49
Good Morning Dean, Interesting idea.  I imagine that it would help the collector's market if the quantity of dubious watches were out there being offered.  Unfortunately I don't see it happening in any practical or significant manner. The only person able to decide whether an old watch should be scrapped is the owner.  Even if every watch out there in the market receives free, accurate and fair market appraisals of its current value, repair cost estimation, and gold content value - there would still be a percentage that would try to sell the a watch for a value higher than any appraisal value.  I also think there would be a few that might scrap watches that are in relatively good shape because its easier/faster for them to do so.  Such are the whims of a free, imperfect, and extremely illiquid market.  How long has the concept of "Caveat Emptor" been in existence?  I doubt we will ever see a clearinghouse that will take in every VC that owners would like to sell, evaluate and decide whether it's "worthy" of being placed on the market or scrapped.  How would you see such a mechanism or process taking place?  BR, Dan
Scrappage Plan
09/04/2009 - 06:23
Well Dan, if it's good enough for the government to give cash to scrap old cars, then why not old watches .   But a more realistic concept would be for the manufacturers themselves could offer a "buy-back" incentive to move people into new models.  The salvagable pieces could be refurbished by the factory and sold to appreciative vintage collectors.  This extra work would also ensure that skilled craftsmen stayed fully employed in the face of a declining luxury watch market.
Re: Scrappage Plan
09/04/2009 - 08:37
I'm a stickler for details, that's where the is. 1. Would the "buy-back" incentive be enough to bring pieces in?  Would owners think they are getting a reasonable price, or do they think they can do better with less sophisticated buyers on the mass-market auction sites? 2. I wonder what percentage of owners of these old watches would be interested in moving up to a new model as it seems the dealers and individuals aren't always collectors or watch aficianados. 3. If offered a fair price for every watch, would that include all the frankens out there?  I don't know if VC has the interest or capital to pull off such an endeavor.  If this could be done to pick up the salvageable pieces, I imagine VC would charge a significant premium above their costs in order to bring those vintage VCs to the market.  As you may recall, I purchased a vintage watch for my wife earlier this year.  We got it from a reputable dealer in the U.S., but it still needs some TLC from VC in order to bring it back to the level we want.  The combined cost of the purchase, service, and CofA is still significantly (40%) less than that of an identical ref. # vintage VC that was being sold at the Shanghai VC Maison.  Maybe if the supply of vintage VCs available available for sale through the Manufacture were larger, prices might come down?  But would there be any cannibalization effect that would negatively affect sales of current production pieces? I'm just asking some questions that I don't have the answers to myself.  I would love to see a more reliable markets for vintage VCs as well, but I don't see it happening.  I'm not familiar with Patek's vintage markets as I've never really looked into them.  Is it really more efficient and less-filled with "scrapable" and "franken" pieces?  If so, is this really attributable to the ease of obtaining an Abstract from the Archives?  Are there more fake watches that look authentic because the Abstract can be obtained without physical inspection? Interesting topic Dean, thanks for being provocative! BR, Dan
Counterproductive, I fear.
09/05/2009 - 02:21
Let's say I take my old watch to Vacheron and they offer me $X in trade against a new Vacheron. The new Vacheron costs Y. I predict the following things will happen: 1. Y will be so much greater than X that I will be turned off. Any idea I might have about watches being a "store of value," "for the next generation," etc. will be obliterated. I will probably go and spend my money on fine wine or designer shoes instead of a watch. 2. If I still want the new Vacheron, I will realize that I can get a $2X discount on it by simply going to an AD. (Vacheron itself, of course, will be offering it at full retail price.) I can probably keep my old watch and still pay less than I would if I traded it in. In short, the process would rub the customers' noses in the economics of the watch business, and it's never a good idea to do that. The above is based on my two actual experiences attempting to trade in a watch.
Dean I'm going to melt this one !!!
09/07/2009 - 03:08
Th. Mowbray made 1906 in London. It's an original Doctors watch. You start and then stop the whole movement. And it's BIG !!  I have never hold a watch that's so heavy !! 3/4 plate movement. Frosted , firegilt, signed and hallmarks. Diameter 63 (!) mm and it weights 240 grams. I have never held any such watch, so only the gold value....  After I melt it and cashed the money, I keep the box in ebenholtz and mother-ogf-pearl I can put the money in it Shall we have a nice dinner, just tell me were! I'll I can afford it Doc
NNNOOOOOOOOOOO !!!! (nt)
09/07/2009 - 23:27
nt
LOL ! nt
09/08/2009 - 20:26
vc