Has anyone else noticed the drop at the auction site?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by DeweyC, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    2,267
    871
    113
    Watchmaker
    Baltimore
    Country Flag:
    I routinely check the auction site for both interesting pieces and to track trends. This includes a/c clocks and tools as well as pocket watches.

    Across the board, the offerings seem to have dropped a lot.

    This is especially true for hunting cases and 16 s Hamilton hunters. And things that do show up seem to go for 2X what they did last year. Whether it is a Hamilton 18s or a 19th cent. 16 s Hampden.

    OTOH, I have been able to buy a 993 movt for a case I had and my Billings. But I also had to pay what I consider a lot of money for 18s box hinge GF cases. And GF hunting cases are well over $100.

    While my specific interest is the technical analysis of movements, I do case the movt's appropriately.

    So the question is: without NAWCC shows, (which I thought would increase the auction site), where is everything going? Jones and Horan?

    Is the market turning because of income concerns? I would have thought if this was the case there would be an increase in selling.

    It is a puzzle.

    Stay healthy.
     
  2. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 14, 2001
    5,941
    580
    113
    Aerospace Engineer
    New Hampshire
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I suspect the high price of gold is driving prices and it also include filled ones.

    I have also noticed that most watch items are priced very high as a buy it now or a starting bid, They are asking much more than recent sales.
     
  3. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
    Gibbs Literary Award NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Member

    Oct 23, 2002
    2,580
    75
    48
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Dewey -

    Jones & Horan seems to be holding online auctions about 2 weeks apart and have roughly 250 items in each auction, so they are selling a lot of items.

    How much middle to high end items really changed hands at NAWCC Regionals? I would see so many pocket watches sitting is cases probably completely overpriced for the market place.

    It will be interesting what occurs in 2021 as effective vaccine in sufficient quantities is probably close to 1 year away and not 6 months as many optimists.

    Andy
     
  4. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    2,267
    871
    113
    Watchmaker
    Baltimore
    Country Flag:
    Andy,

    while I am talking middle ground stuff (950 being $500, and below), virtually all important watches at shows are private sales where the market never even knows.

    The reasons include but are not limited to security. In the heyday, there were Columbian gangs scoping out sellers and then following on the interstate and robbing them. No, this is not racist, it is simply a statement of what was happening.

    Think about all the private art sales.

    Still, my observation about the bay includes aircraft clocks, tooling, material, chronometers, railroad axes, and such. Across the full spectrum, it seems to be weak.

    I did stop selling about 10 years ago because it reached the point where the changes made did not make a rational business model for me. And I had started in 1998! PEZ dispensers!
     
  5. 179

    179 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 16, 2008
    641
    172
    43
    Some were robbed when they stopped to eat , and one was followed home and robbed in his own driveway.
     
  6. darrahg

    darrahg Moderator
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    1,467
    472
    83
    retired from computing, networking
    Houston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    DeweyC, I think you are correct in stating that the better watches are being sold privately. I do believe the absence of Regionals and Nationals has prevented some private transactions. And, most of what I now see on-line are break-a-ways (movements stripped of their cases), damaged and common pieces, and sellers who are dreaming about retiring on the sale of one item. Of course, we cannot forget the added incentive for a bidder to bid lower due to the increased cost of shipping and also, ta da......., tax. Jones & Horan seems to float to the top on these last two items.
     
    Diana Kelly and Erik_H like this.
  7. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

    Oct 14, 2009
    1,684
    65
    48
    Male
    Country Flag:
    There is no vaccine for the flu to my knowledge. So I would plan on their being no effective vaccine that provides long term effects.

    Clocks seem to be experiencing the same effects as the watches you are speaking about.
     
  8. kevinstang

    kevinstang Registered User

    Jan 5, 2013
    31
    7
    8
    Upstate NY- way up north
    Country Flag:
    I think the lack of estate sales,auctions,garage sales and flea markets has kept the new discoveries and listings down- many times the only watches I would flip came from such sources. Yesterday was first time I found a couple of older watches at a local flee market this year- an old cheap key wind I bought to have a spare silverode case and a 6s ladies hunter in gold filled case missing one cover-a lowly 7 jewel Elgin, nothing great. Haven't seen anything other than old dollar watches at the few garage sales being held. No local auctions allowed as of yet.
     
  9. Bryan Eyring

    Bryan Eyring Registered User

    Dec 11, 2007
    1,766
    154
    63
    Male
    Director of Manufacturing, Aerospace
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    FYI, nearly any 20 yr or higher GF 16s and 18s scraps for more than $100 right now.

    So good luck with trying to get any of them for under $100 :eek:
     
    Erik_H likes this.
  10. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Aug 25, 2000
    4,603
    1,119
    113
    I just did.
     
  11. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
    Staff Member NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Ruby Member Sponsor

    Aug 24, 2000
    82,985
    1,708
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I will be getting my 2020 flu vaccine in about two months. I have been getting it every year for the past 60 years.

    The absence of permanent immunity does not negate the value of vaccinations for recurring illnesses. If you have no exposure you may be OK but my wife taught elementary school for 25 years.
     
  12. mikeh

    mikeh Registered User

    Mar 5, 2001
    1,272
    9
    38
    Greg,

    Just think, if you paid say $75, you could scrap it, profit $25, and destroy some watch history in the process!
     
  13. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Aug 25, 2000
    4,603
    1,119
    113
    Why would I do that? A decent GF case is better to have than an extra $25.
     
  14. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    1,612
    639
    113
    Male
    Scientist
    San Francisco Peninsula
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Ummmm......
     
  15. grtnev

    grtnev Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    645
    381
    63
    Male
    Retired = Consulting Engineer
    Minden, Nevada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #15 grtnev, Jul 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020

    I agree in general with Dewey's observations.

    However, I am often amazed by what is passed up as being "undesirable" or "noncollectable"; which is on us as collectors and not on marketplace supply or demand.

    As an example I just recently acquired a 16s Hamilton grade 977, s/n 53204 (16j, hunter, ca 1897) in very good condition in a Crescent Watch Case Co 20 yr gold filled case which is also in very good condition. The seller's pictures adequately showed the condition of the watch and it was in running condition. There were only two bids in the week long auction, the first bidder and mine. Selling price was under $200. You don't see grade 977 all that often, at least I don't, and it was a watch that fits nicely into the overall theme of my collection. Win-win all the way around.

    Not sure why this watch didn't draw anymore attention than it did. It is adjusted to temperature (and probably isochnosim as well). Everything that I've read so far indicates that it was not adjusted to positions.

    I have created a separate thread showing this watch at the following link .... Hamilton Grade 977, 16 j, 16s, s/n 53204, ca 1897 .....but for all of us on the lookout for nice 16s Hamilton hunters, I am confused as to the lack of interest in this watch during the recent auction. Price was right, rather obscure grade, yet no real interest....although that lack of interest was a good thing for me.

    Richard
     
    DeweyC and musicguy like this.
  16. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
    NAWCC Brass Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    7,024
    393
    83
    Male
    Central North Carolina
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    IMHO you dunn good.....
     
  17. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    2,267
    871
    113
    Watchmaker
    Baltimore
    Country Flag:
    Excellent! These (and the 976) were Hamilton's only foray into "cheaper" watches (16s) and in my opinion are important. They quickly decided not to compete on price.
     
  18. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
    Gibbs Literary Award NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    1,874
    1,091
    113
    Male
    Semi-retired materials physicist
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #18 Clint Geller, Aug 1, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
    Of course there are flu vaccines, but new ones must be developed every year as the viruses mutate, and none are 100% effective. I get a flu shot every year, because I am high risk for complications. My daughter is near to completing her PhD in immunology and she has studied immune cells from COVID-19 patients for clues for improving treatments. (She has a couple of papers on that subject in queue for publication, though the work directly related to her PhD thesis is in pancreatic cancer research.) My daughter advises me that corona viruses are significantly different from flu viruses, and there is actually an excellent chance of eventually developing vaccines against COVID-19 with long-term utility. But again, few vaccines are anywhere near 100% effective, so improved therapeutics likely will remain critical.
     
  19. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
    NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Jan 12, 2017
    6,218
    3,122
    113
    New York State
    Country Flag:
    Getting back to the OP's topic :)

    During this pandemic I have seen many watches/items sell with very few bids. I have
    seen watches with 25 people watching that do not sell. It is a strange market
    now. For my own observations in buying and selling on eBay
    I sold some stuff early during the pandemic that I did not get what I expected, and I
    purchased some watches for better prices than I expected during this time too.
    Fortunately the watches I buy are not as much effected by gold prices
    as the solid pieces are.

    Rob
     
  20. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
    Staff Member NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Ruby Member Sponsor

    Aug 24, 2000
    82,985
    1,708
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    If one is in a buy and sell mode, the actual prices are not as important as the relative value you put on the items. i.e. if you sell a watch at 60% or so of the price you expected originally but are able to spend that money to purchase a similar or better bargain, nothing has changed in your value equation or you may be ahead.

    The last two watches I bought that were very expensive had no value equation for me. They were both "must have" items. The McIntyre Watch Co. double signed hunting case movement was very expensive, but still $9,000 under my max offer on eBay. The second was the Rolex Precision Jumbo that I bought at J&H for about $4,000 more than I expected to pay for it. The price was not really relevant to my purchase since the watch represented so many memories for me that I would have bought it whatever the price. I had been given it many years ago and then sold it during a period of frustration for $250.
     
    179 and Clint Geller like this.
  21. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
    Gibbs Literary Award NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    1,874
    1,091
    113
    Male
    Semi-retired materials physicist
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I seldom buy a watch with the intention of reselling it in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, price still enters into my thinking because my resources are finite, as are most people's. So the more I spend for one watch, the less I may have available for the next one. When I am deciding how much to bid on a watch in an auction, I try to imagine how I would feel if someone else bought the watch for one bid increment beyond my max bid. If I feel only slightly more disappointment than relief, then I know I am probably in the right place.
     
  22. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
    NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Jan 12, 2017
    6,218
    3,122
    113
    New York State
    Country Flag:
    Same as above for me.


    Rob
     
  23. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    2,267
    871
    113
    Watchmaker
    Baltimore
    Country Flag:
    The only watches I have sold are watches I purchased back in 2008. I do not sell on ebay and nor do I offer watches on my website. But for the last couple years I have been very specific about what I buy. The research is truly a hobby and the watches are some of the needed material. But I do make sure they are service, adjusted, cased and dialed on with contemporary accouterments. The adjusting actually helps keep my skills fresh. So collecting serves several purposes for me.
     
  24. George Frick

    George Frick Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 8, 2016
    205
    54
    28
    Male
    Retired
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    It seems like I am not seeing the high grade watches I collect on the auction site anymore.
    AND there is a thread in the members only section where some posted about how at the Marts most high grade watches are sold privately and not displayed. This is why I have been so disappointed with the two Marts I have attended. If you don't know people, you have no idea what is for sale. It is very hard to be part of the "club". So, collecting has been non existent for me lately.
     
  25. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
    Staff Member NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Ruby Member Sponsor

    Aug 24, 2000
    82,985
    1,708
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    When I first joined the NAWCC and eventually got interested in watches, I noticed that there was no way to find out what they were worth unless you tried to sell them.

    Back in the 1980's I usually had a table with some things I had bought to sell and a case with my "top 20" watches that were there to show to those who may not have seen some of the higher grades I had been able to find. Eventually, I got to know most of the people who were buying and selling the better watches.

    It was fun and it took me nearly 20 years to learn I had no real skill at selling things. :) That education cost me about the same as a semester at an Ivy League school would have at that time.
     
    Clint Geller likes this.
  26. Bryan Eyring

    Bryan Eyring Registered User

    Dec 11, 2007
    1,766
    154
    63
    Male
    Director of Manufacturing, Aerospace
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Consider yourself lucky
     
  27. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    2,267
    871
    113
    Watchmaker
    Baltimore
    Country Flag:
    Tom,

    I do think fondly of King of Prussia in particular in the 1980s. I wound up serving as Mart Chair. There was a lot of STUFF, the Mart's where the only venue for buying/selling. But that period also covers a lot of ground. The "death of mechanical watches", the rise of the wrist watch, the guy Burlie who wanted to commercialize the whole thing, questions about how the museum and library were stewarded, the rise of eBay and finally the restrictions on air travel post 2001.

    I miss Manny Trauring a lot. His lists were written with a sense of humor, and he was a straight shooter. He once told me about a partner who was offering him M21s under the price of the partnership. Took care of THAT real quick (he forfeited his paid in capital and all interest in the inventory).

    Overall, I think the organization has settled into a sustainable organization. It has really focused on education and collecting and the new travel restrictions make that even more relevant.
     
  28. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    2,267
    871
    113
    Watchmaker
    Baltimore
    Country Flag:
    Thinking about this some more, it is going to have to reach a point where the price of orphaned movements fall.

    This is very similar to the M21s of the 80s/90s. Initially, original boxes were cheap ($400) and movements were expensive ($900). After the USN sent the movements to DRMO, the equation reversed.

    At some point the "market" will get bored trying to find cases for the movements. Gold at $2050 is not helping and I fear for the high grade movements themselves as a matter of fact. (Someone will figure the value of the settings and screws!).

    All of this suggests, assuming the world does not fall into total chaos, that cased watches will be increasingly desirable.
     

Share This Page