Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday on 47th street...

Not much doing. Boring. There are many of the same pieces coming to the booth via different runners, all priced too high. I do think some are beginning to see the correction and making feeble attempts to "reduce" online, but if you check Ebay you will see how low things really are:

Item number: 330287790271 Red Sub with starting bid of $7k, no bidders. But, a Red Sub w/full boat, Item number: 190267224264, sold for over $12k. What does this mean? Let's explore a bit more. A red dial alone, Item number: 250327051787, sold for $1800.00+. Not the best condition but for $1800 it is not too bad. So, what is a red sub really worth? Well, to hear some people say they will pay $20k for a perfect example screams insanity. I think a PERFECT example is still in the $14-16k range. Now I mean unpolished, no issues whatsoever. For now.
My thing about red Subbies is that there are just so many out there. They are really a "commercial" collectible, like a Mickey Mantle autograph. Nice to have but not rare at all. Remember people, not long ago you could buy one for $2-3k. How unrealistic is it that we see those days again?
On another note, I received my monthly "Specht Sheet" and Ken states: "The entire high end watch market is very soft. Early Rolex Daytona Cosmographs have lost, in many cases, $10k in value the past month. Most, if not all, of the collectible vintage Rolex market has been hurt. I can't say if this is temporary, or if we are in for a long decline." Has a nasty ring to it, no? Ken Specht has been in the business longer than many of us. There are just too many sellers, and no buyers. That is the killer. NO BUYERS at any price so those who MUST sell to eat WILL sell at considerable loss. OK, OK, I hear some of you salivating but who really wants to buy a commercial watch which is on the decline? "Oh, it is my grail", so I will buy a red subbie for $7k and watch it go down to 4k in a few months??? I don't know about anyone else but if I buy something I like to maintain it's value. If I bought (and I do have a couple in my new found collection) and the bottom drops I would never be able to LOOK at that crummy worthless watch, let alone wear it!! lol! I already have a damn $24k (my cost) Tudor MC, that some stinking undercoat hawking, air freshener selling pal o' mine told me would hold it's value. Yeah, right.
So don't feel too bad if you bought too high. We all did. Now is the time to get even. I am predicting prices will come all the way down by September 2009. I mean "roll back" to 2002/3 pricing. Big auctions will be where the masses will go to sell their mediocre stuff, and guess what will happen? The market will become even more diluted with crap, separating the real cream but dragging some of the better stuff down, nonetheless. Look at Newmans. There are many "old time newcomers" to the forum markets searching for end users. Big names in the dealer world but here they stand, on the forums trying to find some poor soul to bail out of their overpriced, recently bought "grails". Oh, it will be a corker in Miami in January, if they don't cancel the show for poor turnout. The reality is a pusher newman is really a pretty common watch and will fall like other "commercial" grails. again, it was not long ago these watches were between $20-30k. The Newmans that will hold are the rare references 6240, 6262, and the like. No, they will not be $80k when all the rest are $30k, but I am sure collectors will covet them as they are harder to find...even if they look identical on the wrist. Hmmmmmmmmm...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to take this time to thank all those who participated in our poll.
My next post will be Saturday and I will examine how the current economic climate affects 47th Street on "Black Friday". Our booths will be open and I will be walking the street monitoring the action. I am curious to see whether or not buyers will have the same "to hell with it" attitude as they did in December, 2001 after 9/11. That was one of the busiest Decembers we can remember, at least at # 64-65!!!
We shall see...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Auctions Have Spoken, But What The Hell Did They Say????

Well, the big auctions went off over the last few days, to alot of "rah-rah" on the forums. I keep hearing "quality rules", "Europeans need someplace to stash money", and the like. Overall, numbers were down, but certainly not out. In fact, lots of really questionable crap was sold for heavy money, IMO. What does mean to the "real buyer" you know, like the one reading this piece?? A gold plastic daytona sold for well over $50k, yet I turned down one at $35k. Steel plastics are fetching $30-40k in "the room", but what dealer will pay $20k, hand to hand?
There is a phenomenon here. A while back I dubbed the term "two tier market". The folks at these auctions are not your average buyer. They are collectors, brokers, speculators, and for the most part not concerned about the economics involved. These auctions are a place for dealers/collectors to "prove" the market still has legs. Now, I am not saying there was not money in the room, but whose money was it? The average collector and dealer these days cannot sell anything at just about any price. Look at the forum markets, which I believe to be a much more accurate picture of what is happening. There are just plain unrealistic prices for average stuff, with phrases like "reduced" all over, and still no action. Granted, the "reductions" are a joke. The prices are so jacked up to begin with that no one in their right mind would pay them. There is a liquid price, but not many are willing to accept it. I am sure, many who are selling paid way more and cannot take a loss. I have posted some "test cases", and not much interest. Does this mean the market is done? Not at all. It just means no one is spending at this time. But hold on here, when will spending re-occur? Remember, the big boom in these watches over the last 4-5 years was "fad like" in some regard for certain buyers. The steel watch became the "new bling" for the hip young urban professional. With many now looking for work that demo is slowing, creating a vaccum where lots of these watches are out there, with no real buyers, except dealers. Dealers like to buy cheap, at least this one does! So what happens?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quantum of Lower Prices, or "look how cheap you can buy a 5508"

ORIGINAL Rolex James Bond? Submariner 5508 - 1957/58 Ebay item 300270488394

This "collection of parts" sold for just under $7k USD. Hey, I bid $4k or close to it!
Let's break it down for a profit:
movement $1000.00
dial/hands $3000.00
bezel w/insert $1500.00
case w/caseback $2000.00

Hmmmmmm, either someone bought a nice parts lot for under $7k or the whole thing is going in the crapper.

I will say this: The more I look at this "lot" the more I like $4k for it all, and not a penny more.
Wow, I love the smell of Ebay in the morning...smells like victory!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Acceptance of the times...

Well, after much continual bashing by the "non believers", the major forums (VRF, BJSOnline) have finally accepted there is a market slowdown.
The very frightening reality has yet to hit, but is on the horizon. One of the deals I did not post publicly is a gorgeous 6241 3 color black which traded for under $50k at IWJG. Many will not admit that even the Newmans and other exotics are falling but it is a fact, as I witnessed it. Dealer to dealer, perfect piece for
$48k. Now I am sure there were many in the room and maybe even reading this who will offer $55k-60k now. Or will they?
What is happening is opportunity for collectors and opportunity for creative dealers. As a parts person, I always size up a watch according to the sum of it's parts. The dial and case being the prime indicators. Many watches such as ther 1655 or 1665 DRSD will now bring better money in parts. Think about it. What is the liquid price of a 1655? $10-12k? The case alone is a hard thing to find on the open market and will always fetch pretty close to $10k. DRSD is another one. When a friend called and asked my advise on wether to buy a round case back MK IV, no inside serial I quoted $14 on the buy. He did not listen and wound up breaking even at $16. The prices of yesterday are not the prices of today.
On another note, I currently have a piece on memo with a known dealer for WAY over current book. Nice condition 1655 normal dial which I posted $14 + profit.
There are many buyers out there looking to pick up nice examples, but NOT ENOUGH TO SUPPORT THE FORMER PRICE STRUCTURE.
Remember the golden rule:
Rare and desirable will always sell.
With so many of these watches out there rare is a tough one to conquer. Over the last 5 years the vintage buzz has gotten worldwide attention, thus bringing many "safe deposit box" pieces to market. As the demand dries up because of overstock, or just plain lack of interest what happens to these watches that were so sought after? They sit in the showcase of some dealer/professional collector/speculator until he is ready to take a loss.
This is what we will see in the coming months. Dealers will MIGHT have to sell at some point, but the guys who bought in as a fad WILL sell, and at lower prices.

The time to buy is coming. Opportunity is a few months away. Bigger pieces, you know the ones they say will NEVER fall, will come to market soon. The hobby cannot withstand such a multi dimensional freefall.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More cheap plastic Daytonas...

Ebay item 280282638352

At last week's IWJG Show $18k would have bought this fine timepiece, or collection of parts (whichever you choose to describe it as). Now it is $16k.I offered $10k and would still pay $10k, even though the lugs are a little thin!! lol! My crystal ball is telling me to wait before buying ANYTHING. Collectors will have a field day come April, tax time.Pricing has settled in around 2005/6 levels...this week. With every piece like that $13k red subbie w/full boat and the $20k daytonas buyers are pulling back (wisely) and looking for a bottom. We are nowhere near it at this time. Holidays are coming, and with it will come the worst retail season on decades. Not a good time to sell. What I am seeing is alot of sub par stuff bought by speculators and neophytes who now think they can push this stuff off on collectors. The real problem is even the really nice stuff is taking a hit, as there is also alot of it on the open market.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's a Tuscanyrose halloween!!!

Halloween is always fun at "Planet Tuscanyrose".
This is a shot from James' annual school parade. My wife ditched the Bride of Frankenstein for the "Rock of Love Witch". Speed Racer was played by James, and quite well, I must say. I stayed with my trusty cell phone costume.
Lotta fun, lotta fun.