Got the scrapping blues ...

Discussion in 'Horological Misc' started by Jerry Treiman, Feb 8, 2018.

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  1. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    I was really excited to find (and win) a very interesting and better grade private label (PL) Waltham on eBay recently. The movement arrived and its pristine condition prompted me to ask the seller if he knew anything about the case, which must have only recently been melted. His response to me was really depressing:
    “Yes it had a gold hinged case and I scrapped it. Simply the only correct economic decision. People simply will not pay 100 percent of the gold value. I do it about 200 times a year.”
    This scrapper has been a member of NAWCC for almost 30 years.

    These PL Waltham’s are lovely triple-signed watches - movement, dial and case. The heavy gold cases were probably made by Jeannot & Schiebler and I think most of us would gladly pay more than scrap for a complete and original watch like this. These cases are irreplaceable and, unless we want to just collect movements, we need to convince the collectors as well as educating the scrappers that good cases, even if a little worn, are worth more than the metal value.
     
  2. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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  3. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    No, but I don't think I want complain about an individual ... just the practice.
    Cases need more respect.
     
  4. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User
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    I can only imagine that from the scrapper's perspective, it truly must be more cost-effective to sell them as melt.
    Sounds like they need to be introduced to more folks like you who show an interest in paying more for working cases.
     
  5. darrahg

    darrahg Registered User
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    I wonder why that seller even belongs to the NAWCC. Obviously it is not to sell watches at Marts, Regionals or Nationals but to buy from them and scrap. Perhaps he has forgotten that many watch collectors purchase watches for reasons other than their gold content.
     
  6. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    It is sad to see.


    Rob
     
  7. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    The most sickening words on EBay are "just taken from a solid gold case". The last few marts I attended at one chapter were full of scrappers and they were the big buyers but if you went down to their tables, there was nothing but junk. I got the BS that they were trained in Russia to be watchmakers and that ilk but they play the bundle game, pile a bunch of watches up and make a ridiculous offer. I didn't go to the last mart the one chapter had because A-no one was buying except the scrappers or wanted everything, including movements, for next to nothing and then try to resell them right in front of you and B-the scrappers wanted everything for 1/3 what they were worth. I am worried about this hobby running out of cases and just have movements to sell. Maybe they belong to the NAWCC to have access to the good stuff.
     
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  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Sadly, this has been going on for a long time. The market for many clocks and watches these days is so soft they are worth more as parts and or metal than they are as finished products. And with gold prices being what they are, many watches will go for a percentage of melt value... doesn't make it right, but it is going to continue. Same with clocks being parted out on big auction sites. When the whole clock won't sell for $20 but it can be parted out and bring $80-100 as parts, they get parted. It is wrong in my opinion but I don't have to depend on this weeks sales to feed the family. I can afford to be critical and demand preservation over scrapping and parting out, and melting and the like.
     
  9. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Thank you for mentioning that clocks also fall into this category
    tom
     
  10. hggraham

    hggraham Registered User
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    I know this is a simplistic answer, but are we the Nat. Assoc. of Watch and Clock Collectors, OR the Nat. Assoc of Watch and clock Speculators? Seems to me falling values reveal the true collectors. Please, I'm not trying to start a rant here, just throwing this out there.
     
  11. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I think the participants in this discussion are mostly those lamenting the loss of these artifacts and they would fall into the collector rather than speculator category.

    Of course speculators do provide a means to ensure that items are valued by establishing alternate valuation models. :eek:
     
  12. MartyR

    MartyR Super Moderator
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    Surely the problem is that collectors have no choice but to follow the financial consequences of speculation.

    I collect almost only gold-cased watches, not because I treasure gold but because the watches I collect (19th century high quality English watches) were alomsot all originally made and sold with gold cases. Indeed, when I started collecting the gold case was useful as a measure of quality.

    Now I didn't want to pay the high price of gold, but if I was to compete against speculators and scrappers (quite different people, incidentally) then I had no choice. I learned to value a watch at the extrinsic scrap value of the gold plus the intrinsic value of the originality of the case and the value of the movement.

    A drop in the value of gold matters not to me - it simply lessens the value of my estate. But an increase in the value of gold makes it increasingly expensive to buy new watches, and when gold hit its peak a couple of years ago I actually started to look for watches in original silver cases!!!!
     
  13. Tom Wilcox

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    I hate to see any artifacts of historic value or intrinsic beauty separated into pieces and sold off in portions, not as the whole. We lose a large part of who we are when we don't conserve and preserve. We are not necessarily the 501 c 3 NAWCC charity because we are looking for the most financial value to extract from those items we are in the public trust to safe guard, exhibit, and educate. The value we seek is in the information, knowledge, and preservation of our horological heritage.
     
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  14. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    So i will ask, maybe someone will know. Why cant the NAWCC take a stand and say no scrappers are allowed at all NAWCC meetings, Chapters and any other venue.
     
  15. Tom McIntyre

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    What would you expect to accomplish by that? You have no influence at all on them if they are out in your parking lot scrapping gold cases. If we need to have rules to police behavior we have already failed. The behavior of the group should be sufficient to demonstrate what is acceptable and what is not. That is how communities work.
     
  16. Jim DuBois

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    It seems to me that any attempt to ban "scrappers" from NAWCC events starts us down a very slippery slope. What constitutes a scrapper in a moral sense? What constitutes a scrapper in a legal and defensible sense? How would we define it? For example, I have scrapped 3 or 4 clocks in the last 6 months? Does that make me a scrapper? I bought at least 2 of them knowing I needed certain parts far more than I needed the clocks, which in todays market have little to no value as whole clocks. This does not seem to me to be any different than someone buying unwanted watches for their gold content.

    Before considering pressuring NAWCC people who are providing a service to some, a service that is pretty much abhorred by many of us, may I recommend a visit to a few pawn shops, a visit to a few of the shopping mall precious metal buyers, and a visit to some clock and watch hoarders to gain a bit of perspective. Some fair number of us can speak to seeing barns full of clocks and boxes of watches left for many years to rust, decay, and fall apart. What is the value of those items to society as they return to base elements?

    We might also look at scrapping in the auto industry followed by salvage yards, or ship building and ship breaking....when the value of an item is greater in its parts and materials than in its market value as a whole product, we can anticipate what happens....and that happens to watches, whether we like it or not. And my father once bought a Duesenberg for $20 at a scrapper. Sadly he didn't keep it. He said it was a gas hog....
     
  17. FDelGreco

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    In my opinion, NAWCC won't take a stand because it can't afford to lose any more members.

    Frank
     
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  18. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    ***deleted by author****
     
  19. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    How many of us would be prepared to pay scrap silver/gold value for the movement if it is in situ?
    A few years ago I bought a 1789 pair case verge that way in Lowestoft UK
    The antique dealer weighed the watch and decided the price
     
  20. rrstd

    rrstd Registered User
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