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 $, 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...