Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Changing Watch World...

Ok, I am still alive. Good, right? No, we have not been shut down by disgruntled auction houses or "fishermen". We are here, still on the east coast, watching and wondering what the hell is happening. The last year was difficult to say the least.
the move went well and new place is coming along nicely. Business is business, with this year topping last year in sales. Go figure. The holiday season was particularly tough because my closest and oldest friend died unexpectedly in his apartment in our building. That said, the months following have been filled with great saddness. PTSD is a motherfucker.
That said, I will get on to what most are waiting to hear, which is the state of thwe watch market. So, someone tell me what the hell is going on. prices are even more unpredictible than 2009. I have noticed many of what we call "bread and butter" vintage has been hard to move. The EU is strong, HK is buying up everything in site is all we hear, but I see vintage Rolex slowing down as the world markets adjust to the craziness and ripple effect of the US down economy.
Please do not email me and tell me that old line about top condion is selling for big money. It is not always the case. I see many big UK dealers trying to sell milsubs, plastics, etc. for crazy money ($35k for a plastic pump) with no bites.
Oh, they will malign me for "not telling it like it is" but they are all full of shit. The HK show was not the big blow out many thought it would be. We always hear the dealers who go overseas clinging to merch like it was grim death, waiting for the Germans, Italians or Chinese to bail them out. This past year is no exception. My people told me HK was not so great. I do know dealers who sell big PP, AP, etc saying they sold out so who do we believe...or what?
I had an Italian dealer come by on monday who told me vintage Rolex was very slow in EU, especially Italy. It is a slippery slope indeed.
I am noticing steel sapphire Rolex mvt. Daytonas slowing down, with unpapered black or white selling in the $8-9k range. Lots out there. I am also seeing Zeniths unpapered in the same price range.
Plastic Subbies are moving, but have to be nice. 1680 over $5k on bracelets are not selling, as many dealers at IWJG NYC were loaded with them. Gilt 5512/13 are dead unless pristine dial and case. any problems with either will greatly diminish the value, or not sell at all. GMT 1675 heads are in the $3k range, over up to $3500 with matte tritium dials, lower if messed up or luminova.
Big watches are the same. 6538 with service dials are $20-30k, if they are nice. If the gilt dial is perfcect, they will go over $60k. 4 liners are very hard to fiond and over $100k if available. 6542 are the same story, if the OCC dial is perfect, watch without bezel is over $10-12k (provided case is thick), bakalite inserts are also in demand, but @ $15k must be perfect, or at least mint.
The internet is still wreaking havoc as eBay sellers post high prices and privates believe their junk is worth big money. I have bought some nice stuff but it is sold immediately to local dealers who retail it online for profit. the end user is a big pain in the ass and I HATE getting involved with those deals. Modern stuff is selling well at Renaissance, as usual. Very easy to move, no hassles, low maintenance. Tudor MC is another strange seller. Gone are the days of the $12k non home plate. most are under 9k, with some not fetching $8k online for various reasons. Can you hear all the "believers" out there screaming QUALITY, QUALITY!!!???
Go look at the various online marketplaces and you will see plenty of overpriced minty watches not selling.
The usual players are doing the usual things. big west coast dealers are moving specialty stuff for their price to waiting buyers, but it is real specialty stuff.
We are doing our usual moving smaller stuff and parts. NYC is buying all nicer stuff and moving it on. Auctions are doing the usual business witunpredictible pricing and no real consitancy.

Back to fun. I will be updating more regularly as the softball season is upon us and the Rosers look to make another playoff run in October.