Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm back...

Well, I have never really been gone. Just FYI, for those who are not on FB part of the inner circle:
We moved from Manalapan to Marlboro, a few minutes north, so things were a bit hectic. Boxes, bubble, tape...nothing out of the ordinary for me, just on a larger scale. We have been in since mid june and getting acclimated. New home office, different house configuration/layout, all the same stuff from "the ponderosa", just tweaked.
Anyhow...back to the market. Well, tell me something I did not know, or say two years ago? OK, not everything i said came about but let's look at what is happening now.
Vintage? PUH-LEASE! What vintage? A funny thing happened when the internet became entrenched in all our lives, collectors/dealers alike: pricing became one dimensional. Let me explain: Why will a dealer go to a show and sell short when he can find an end user (I will address end users in a bit) online and get what he thinks is a premium? Well, I guess he will bring vintage to shows to let everyone look at it? Hmmm? Well, he certainly will not sell it as you will still hear the ever popular" I am buried in it", or "I cannot sell due to capitol preservation". Come on. I have to say there are many dealers we all know who are so deep into this stuff I cannot imagine how they survive. Well, I guess they survive by selling vintage at the new levels or just sell modern...I guess!
Vintage is not where it was two years ago for many reasons. First off, let me say for a fact that cheap American money drove prices up, as many "new" dealers jumped into vintage (watches/parts) to cash in on the high EU and thriving Asian market. Now those of us who have been doing this for over 10 years always had our foreign buyers, collectors and dealers alike, but when ALL the US dealers discovered the profit margins they all dove in head first. By the time of the AQ Revolution in '08, I was thinning out inventory, as I saw that the market could not sustain itself. Think about it, crap pieces, bad dials, pure JUNK would sell and there was no end in sight. As the US economy stuttered and people had to buy with CASH, not cheap credit money, buyers started looking a little more closely at what they were buying. mind you, US dealers were buying and buying but with no one to dump off on, there was an overstock of crap which no one will buy, at any price. I feel there are no more real end users as most everyone who got in over the last few years became 'dealers" as there was so much money in it, and now they are stuck...or gun shy!!!
Let's talk about gun shy. Well, who is really buying? Most real collectors bought what they wanted either before the market skyrocketed, or during the peak. They have pieces they stole, and others they paid too much for. so what? they are collectors.
The last thing they want to do is buy at the wrong time, as speculation. remember, the last two years really hurt many of those who collect. Guitars, pocket watches, even Patek are all down and collectors are hesitant unless they see a piece they "have to have".
I am seeing buyers again, not asking prices. I just finished the NYC Antique show. Granted, it is not a true 'watch/clock" show but retail was dead for watches. Diamonds, on the other hand were moving, as was jewelry. I feel people are scared after the "vintage watch watch crash" and are not so quick to speculate, unless they really know what they are doing.
I cannot understand how plastic steel daytona are still asking over $20k? I have been saying it for two years but there are just too many crap examples and also too many overpriced mint examples out there for them to continue at that level.
Gold plastic Daytonas, are still coveted, but it takes a special buyer as they are pretty fragile and not usually worn. Those are still in the $40-60k range, depending on condition and are scarce if MINT.
Plastic 1675, 1680, 5513 are not moving well over $4k. These are common pieces and the strange thing is you cannot buy them under $4k and cannot sell for much more. Sapphire daytona are in the same boat, but holding in the $8k range, which is where they should be. 1665 Sea dwellers have taken a big hit, as honestly they are not much more then a 1680 and cannot sustain a $10k price point. $7k should be where they land, and even that is too strong. 1655 Orange hands are also finally coming down to earth with under $10k being the norm, rather than the exception. remember, these were $12-14k only 6-10 months ago. Rare stuff is holding on for dear life, but again, who is buying? where are the real collectors? it used to be "rare and desirable" would be the key, but now you have to factor in low price and then find a buyer. COMEX sapphire are sitting, even with a good tale attached! Gone are the days of the $150k Milsubs.
Let's look at the no crown guard subs: 5508??? better have a gilt dial if over $10k and that dial case and insert better be clean or it will sit over $12k. 6542 GMT are another guessing game. gilt dial, non bakalite over $10k? I think not. Bakalite will still bring over $20k but it better be clean and with a nice dial, unless you have a nut.
Big crown 6538 have been trampled on also. 2 line gilt are under $40k whereas 4 liners are now anyones guess, and well under $100k.
Again, who is buying this stuff at overinflated prices? The only action I have seen is dealer to dealer. I am selling modern Rolex and it is moving well, as long as you buy it right and sell it to another dealer. The end users have gotten hip to pricing via Ebay and online forums and it seems everyone knows what to pay. Sure, you can take a chance on a piece, but be prepared to sit on it if a dealer does not scoop it up in seconds. Over the counter on 47th we are doing very little retail and those who come in know what to pay.
IWJG is tomorrow and I am not expecting any groundbreaking events, just the usual dealer to dealer dancing and prancing.
Hope everyones summer is going well...


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pre NYC IWJG Report

There has been much talk regarding the vintage market on VRF and other forums these days. Many dealers/collectors/professional collectors many have many opinions whether the market is up or down.
Here is what I see:
Many big time collectors with serious pieces get mighty nervous when the talk of a down market comes up. Remember, this is a small community of people with money so many times it really does not matter much in the pocket, but more so with EGO. The majority of these people are heavy into big pieces and quite frankly if they are down a few points to 10-12% it is no big deal, for example: 6241 Newman MINT, where do you find one for under $70-80k? I do not know but as a dealer, I am not going to get involved as the number of "real" buyers is not as it was two years ago thus you will sit on one even if you buy in at $60-65k.
The Newman market overall seems to be holding as again, there are not many really nice examples available right now and anything really exceptional and priced right is scooped up quickly. I will say however I see big money Mil Subs for crazy over $100k just sitting s that market is maybe just a tad sluggish. lol
Funny thing about Milsubs vs. cousin COMEX is the COMEX is really not anything more than a Sub with a cool dial and good story and collectors who love them love them and those who do not understand them stay away. I personally am not a big COMEX fan as it is really not my idea of a big money piece.
The pieces which are really "sketchy" are the mid level stuff and lower end stuff. Let's start at the bottom:
5513, 1675, 5512 are about and at various price points. I have seen heads under $3k and full set over $10k. Who in their right mind would pay $10k for a $3k watch w/a full boat? Well some maniac collectors will but I think those are really risky. It is a common watch with uncommon provenance, so why risk it? Same for all plastic subbies/GMT. way too much is put into paperwork and it is IN NO WAY worth double the price of the watch. It just is not.
Steel daytona are another mind fuck. Zeniths are still commanding over $8k without papers and $10k with papers. NOS examples are over $12k and strangely enough there have been a bunch which have passed through my hands in the last month or so.
6542 are only worth over $20k if they have a bakalite bezel and honestly not worth over $10k unless the dial is PERFECT OCC gilt.
Plastic screw down 6265/3 are holding on for dear life waiting for someone to get sick of looking at them over $20k so they can be priced to sell at $15-18k. Thats all they are worth! Lots out there people!!! Unless they are papered and exceptional be careful.
1655 Orange are another which has taken a hit as there are lots out there. I trade them in the high 9's to low 10's and let the dealers find an end user. Again, lots out there.
16800 are another dog. Matte or gloss I personally feel any matte should be transitioned to a gloss and sold as a newer watch. the parts are worth more outside the watch, LOL! Seriously, how much are they really worth? Just like 666 and cream non rail all this "transitional" shit is a bit soft. Not very sexy to have a sapphire crystal on a "vintage" watch.
1665 are also way overpriced if over $8k or so.
The reality is if you want to sell for "retail" you go to the auction houses, not online or in the forum markets. Just look at all the "REDUCED" listings or reverse auctions...REVERSE AUCTIONS?????? Come on.
The real dog in all this is the Tudor sub market. Look at the price drop. I mean these are really not "quality" pieces with ETA movements and high prices. BE CAREFUL!
The Tudor MC is another "scary" watch as aside from the home plate, I cannot see them over 410-12k all in and realistically in the $8k range.
The market is in correction and while prices have not bottomed out, there are many good deals to be had if you can not get emotional about these things.
IWJG will come and go. Prices will slip into the summer as they always do when "the money" is on holiday. The question is will prices return to where they are now in September? I personally could care less as I am putting my money on modern and bread and butter pieces.
Enjoy Spring, people...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bad World Economy = Strong Watch Market?????

Well, I am not going to say it that way, but even in this crazy world economy IWJG Orlando was strong for many dealers, including this one. Even with common vintage prices down, no mid level stability and not many big pieces, this market is still strong.
Leading the charge is used modern watches. I could have sold two of each model I brought. Current non Rolex are also strong but a little tricky if you are buying for inventory. Datejust ll in steel pre-owned are extremely hot and very hard to come by. Two tone DJ ll are also hot. Steel subs a few years old are selling in and around the $4k range with LV green between $4500-5k. Ladies models were strong for Valentines Day, as usual. All in all, good quality "bread & butter" modern are solid buys, with dealers always looking for stock.
Let's get to vintage. As usual, it is a "two tier" market. Some dealers sell to end users so they are more likely to have higher pricing. Wholesale dealers (like me) prefer to sell only to other dealers. This leads to many variants in pricing within the IWJG room. There are still many booths carrying $10k Zeniths, non papers, nothing special and expecting some "fish" to buy in. We call those dealers "curators". lol! They are hoping and praying the market will come back to 2007/8 levels and bail them out of their dead overpriced inventory. Capitol Preservation. Well, if you are holding perfect big newmans, DRSD, plastics, I can almost understand it, but to hold 5513, 1675, 1680 I think it is a bad move. These watches will NEVER (not within the next 5 years) come back to 07/08 levels and it is crazy, IMO, to sit on cash looking to lay an egg! I sold small pieces cheap on small margin and made a good show when other dealers were shaking their heads wondering why nothing they had is selling. The drop in the Euro did not help as many EU boys were not spending like they usually do. The Asian boys were buying, but were careful. Big pieces had to be special to sell and even then, the pricing was a little down, but in this kind of climate, sales are sales. there were two 6542bakalites, both very nice, that sold over $30k and 40k. newmans were about, but not flying as dealers were not giving an inch, which is understandable. Nicer Gilt pieces had to be REALLY special and I saw a few pieces move, but common everyday 5513 gilt, GMT gilt were all overpriced and went home with their owners.
Steel daytonas are strong in the $8k range for Zenith and Rolex movement, no papers. These just will not go below that point and Zeniths fetch over $10k w/papers with no problem. Good watches to buy, as always. 1655 are still sketchy, with many on the market at various price points. Unpapered 1655 are a good buy under $10-11k. papered models are good in the $13k-14k range. Yes, you must be lucky, but if you look around there are papered models not selling at $15-16k so be careful. 1680 are the strangest model, as you cannot buy one for $4k but have a tough time selling one at $4500! Again, lots around at dumb over $5k pricing. Not realistic. red Subbied, however are very strong commanding over $8k for a nice example and over $12k w/papers. The commercial collectable vintage benchmark is holding strong.
Parts were very strong. I sold alot of stuff and also bought dials and other items for inventory. Parts will always be strong with many projects and restorations going on. many dealers are putting watches together to cut costs and good dials, cases and exspecially hands are at a premium.

Aside from the IWJG show 47th is moving along with modern watches selling briskly. Vintage is around, but many sellers are not educated and are fishing with high buy in pricing, thus keeping them out of the game. My regulars are selling me good stuff at good prices, keeping me IN the game! Bottom line is if it is priced right, it will sell. Speculators are like handicappers, picking winners and losers. If you do not have a buyer, be prepared to hold until one comes into the arena, and when he does there is alot of competition.

Auction time is coming and this will be telling as usual. AQ many nice pieces, as does P & CO. I expect high numbers in both sales. We will be at the previews checking for "funny watches". From the looks of the catalogues, things are OK, with no obvious fakes...but I am still looking! lol


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vintage market vs. Bad Economy

As I write this passage, I am struck by how many will not take what I say to heart, or worse, just "poo-poo" it. We have a little problem in the "secondary watch market",. I have been seeing more and more fakes, renumbers, and straight up E-scams over the last few months. Since December I have been offered 2 18k Subs, one was not really such a pin out (no serial number is a give away", but another was extremely well done with real movement, dial, insert. All the gold was 18k and tested with proper Rolex hallmarks but it was ALL not Rolex. Very hard to catch if you do not know what to look for. These watches are floating around 47th as I write this. Sellers sometimes know, sometimes they do not...or do not care.
The other situation worth mention is the rash of E-scams. I see on Ebay some of the greatest deals, but honestly I know many are scams. Mind you, there are many real sellers who are bailing out of stuff, but I know a few guys reading this who bought $6k-7k daytonas who got boxes with fakes in them.
Let's talk Daytona, as it is a barometer for the market as a whole. Steel Zeniths are holding strong in the $8k price range. They are NOT available under $7500 unless you are lucky. Rolex movement steel daytonas are the same. this is good. red Subs are holding in the $8-9k range without papers in excellent condition. Plastic non quick presidents are also going well in the $3k range for head only and over scrap for the bracelet which puts a complete one at $5k...cheap, but not so cheap!
Plastic common 5512, 1675 and 1680 are the interesting ones lately. nice example 1680 cannot be bought for under $4k, but when you get one it is a tough sell at $4500! same for 1675, hard to buy with a good bracelet under $3k, hard sell over $3500.
Gilt is another interesting call. PERFECT PIECES will sell in and around $10k, but they have to be perfect.
Plactic daytona are out there, but no one is burping thus they are all over $20k, unless you get lucky.
Papered big pieces are strong, but sketchy. papered red subs better be PERFECT to hit $13k. DRSD are another story. papered prime examples are still in the $25-30k price range.
6542 are strange. if no bakalite, they are a $10k-15k watch. with a service bakalite, $25k, original bakalite, over that.
I hate those watches because I cannot wear one! i will beat it up too much after an hour or so!.

IWJG Orlando is going to be interesting. The EU is soft and many US dealers are holding on for dear life waiting for out EU brothers to bail them out. I do not see it happening, but who knows. Asian buyers are still in the mix, but not as aggressive since the EU boys slowed down. hey, they are smart. Without the EU boys prices will weaken as US dealers have "tax time" coming, right around the corner. Modern is hot with sport watches leading the way. green subbies, ceramic GMT are in the $5k range, up or down with or without papers.
All in all it is a good time to buy, and a good time to sell if your prices are right. If they are not right, you will not do business.
I will report when I return from Orlando next week. If anyone wants to attend the show please email me:

all the best...


Friday, January 15, 2010

New Year, New Beginning...another Miami show!

Happy New Year. As many readers know already it was not the greatest holiday season for the tuscanyrose family. Panda, the St. Bernard who was all of 18 months old had to be put down on December 26th. Though we were away for the weeks thereafter, it was a painful time for Jo and James, as well as myself. I am back and trying to get into a groove but it is difficult.
Here is some insight:
The market in December for modern watches was good. We moved lots of newer under
$10k mens and ladies watches, as is usually the case in December. Vintage was strong with bigger pieces selling if priced right but mid level appearing sluggish.
Smaller common pieces were ok, but again had to be priced right. 1680 were strange as you couldn't buy one for under $4500 but you also could not sell for over $4500! lol!
5513 with gloss dials were in the $3k range and only went above if they were on a tight heavy bracelet. Hmmmmm?
GMT 1675 heads were in the $3k range also, with only stellar examples selling over $4k. The 1665 and 1655 were also easy sellers in the $10-12k range without paperwork, but the fake market has reared it's ugly head to reveal a "super fake".
A dealer I know found another papered 1655 that would fool many who are not used to handling the real thing.
Miami is another story.
IWJG was interestering and parts sold well. watches that were priced right sold quickly but the over $10k pieces were a little sluggish. Big unique pieces were hot as was modern. Modern Rolex is very strong as is Cartier. Off price new and lightly used stuff was very hot.
Vintage common was usually overpriced by many dealers and they took the same stuff to the Miami Antique Show, where it is sitting in their showcases as I write.
The "munich" guys are betting they can bring this stuff overseas and dump it on the EU boys, but I think they are smarter than to pay too much for common stuff. A Big Crown that needed work w/gilt service dial sold for under $30k. Plastic Daytona are all over the place with many dealers taking the "protect my capitol investment" stance by not lowering their 2006/7 buy in prices.
Many deals were there to be had if you looked, but it was a little sluggish for this dealer. I bought a nice piece in the Explorer 2 black rail cream, but that was really it. I sold a bunch of smaller pieces for very small margin and as usual parts were what made my show. Lots of VRF'ers were in attendance and a grand time was had by all...I guess!
We as dealers/collectors know one thing. Vintage rolex has it's ups and downs but is always a viable commodity. While it is a little sluggish we must remember it is January and not a big spending month in the USA. Or\lando will be telling as will the big auctions in March. I am selecting some choice pieces to submit and those who want to get the best prices should consider the same.
Happy New Year to all...