How do the members feel about scrapping?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jon Hanson, Jun 18, 2009.

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

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Tens of thousands of gold watches for the case get scrapped depending in gold prices.

    Worn and common cases, ladies pocket and CHEAP $20. wrist watches usually get scrapped first; however, some rare and condition cases also hit the melting pot.:bang:

    How do the members feel about scrapping?
     
  2. brad

    brad Registered User

    Dec 11, 2007
    165
    0
    0
    good question jon. too bad i don't have a good answer other than it seems like a bad idea to me.

    but it leads to another question maybe you can answer- do you believe that every single piece of horological material ever produced should be saved regardless of condition?
     
  3. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    No, I do not believe that mashed, ruined, destroyed or worn thin gold or silver cases should be saved (for what?).

    Has everyone noticed the over abundance of movements for sale lately, after this the third GOLD RUSH?
     
  4. brad

    brad Registered User

    Dec 11, 2007
    165
    0
    0
    so what do you think should be done with this material?

    what of the watch movements that have lost their originality? what should we do with them?
     
  5. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    For busted up and damaged cases--most melt them

    For movements--collect them, after all with all of the pocket watch switching collectors really are movement collectors. Switched, recased, and FAKED UP cases are simply serve as movement holders.
     
  6. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    For busted up and damaged cases--most melt them.

    For movements--collect them, after all with all of the pocket watch switching collectors really are movement collectors. Switched, recased, and FAKED UP cases are simply serve as movement holders.
     
  7. Tom McIntyre

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

    Aug 24, 2000
    81,788
    1,292
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    A friend pointed out to me that all the gold that has ever been refined in the history of mankind still exists. Some of it may be hidden, but mostly it has been recycled perhaps hundreds of times into new articles.

    That implies that almost all the gold watch cases were made from gold that was scrapped. I have one watch that is an interesting example of this.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    A lovely watch, thanks so much for posting it!

    Now, now Tom, what about mined gold? I have some lovely Baldwin gold cases that I believe originated from gold fields.
     
  9. Tom McIntyre

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

    Aug 24, 2000
    81,788
    1,292
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Mined gold continually enters the supply chain, but scrap gold is much more economical for most purposes. In the last 4,000 years a lot of gold has been mined, but modern mining techniques keep increasing the rate of production.

    I suppose there are some gold historians who have a graph available of total troy ounces over the last 3 or 4 thousand years.
     
  10. Tom McIntyre

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

    Aug 24, 2000
    81,788
    1,292
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I may have been too optimistic about ancient gold. I found the following with a chart of production since 1900.
    It looks like computers may have used a LOT more gold than the jewelry industry.
     
  11. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    And, remember that in this relatively new country, many early American watch case companies used "new" gold!
     
  12. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    About 5 years ao there was an auction of apprximately 600 watches of which 90% were gold. Many of these watches weregummed up and remained uncleaned for decades.

    The auction was held in a major US city......few attended (less than 10) and most of the watches, US and foreign, were melted.

    Now, if any buyers at this auction could have held on, larger profits could have been realized in today's market.

    Just another boon for movement collecting or ultimate movement damage through handling!:mad:
     
  13. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    with the advent of so much scrapping and switching might the collecting fraternity one day SLAB ORIGINAL WATCH MOVEMENTS a la the slabbing of coins?

    :eek::rolleyes::p:cool::bang:
     
  14. A.F.W.

    A.F.W. Registered User

    May 11, 2005
    971
    2
    16
    Country Flag:
    Generally I am for scrapping of unwanted items. Recycling of any material is good for the environment.
    Gold mining is often an environmental disaster and creates many social problems in many countries.
    I realize that some pieces will be scrapped that should have been saved but it only will increase the value of those that remain.
    We should rather protect the animals that are killed for their skin or fur because we upset the natural balance in nature. Do you ever see people in watch community complaining about straps made of all kinds of exotic skins?
     
  15. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Yes, but that oenis for the wrist watch section.

    I don't know of an alligator watch chains!:rolleyes:
     
  16. StanJS

    StanJS Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    748
    70
    28
    Male
    North Andover, MA USA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I, with some regret, revive this subject to tell a tale...

    Last week I decided to cruise some of the local pawn shops to see if I could turn up any nice watches or discarded movements.

    Upon engaging the first shop owner in conversation, I immediately determined that he:

    1) was a watch collector,
    2) routinely scrapped cases and kept the movements,
    3) had been a NAWCC member for years (but was no longer),
    4) and used the meets to sell his goods.

    So to answer the question posed by Jon at the start of this thread: It depends on the member. An oath is only as good as the person that swore it.

    Cheers,
    Stan
     
  17. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    21,451
    173
    63
    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    As usual money talks.:confused::mad:
     
  18. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I watched in horror last week the melting of 125 American watch cases!:bang:
     
  19. Bryan Eyring

    Bryan Eyring Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    1,699
    135
    63
    Male
    Director of Manufacturing, Aerospace
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Any specific NAME, Jon?

    :mad::mad::mad:

    Regards,
    Bryan
     
  20. Robert Smothers

    Robert Smothers Registered User

    Jul 11, 2003
    339
    2
    0
    #20 Robert Smothers, Jul 8, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
    Gold is around $930 an ounce. Everytime gold goes up scrapping activities increase by a like amount. Gold is likely to continue upward in price, so I would expect scrapping of gold to increase. When watches with gold cases bring less than gold price, it is an invitation for noncollectors to buy them up and scrap them. With the watch market some what depressed and gold setting new highs gold watch cases are sure to disappear. Can we do anything about the scrapping of gold cases? I think not......Robert
     
  21. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Bryan,

    Elgins, Walthams, etc. by the watch butcher!:bang:
     
  22. Sterling

    Sterling Registered User

    Jun 10, 2009
    101
    0
    16
    jeweler, carburetor builder
    NY
    I have a close friend who is an antique dealer with a fondness for clocks & watches. He also scraps gold & GF items, as well as silver.
    While it's true that as the prices of precious metals rise so to does the propensity for people to scrap anything they can their paws on, one has to divide those who scrap into two catagories with regards to antiquity; the ignorant and the wise.
    Chances are high that the ignorant seldom find themselves in the posession of something spectacular that should be preserved from the pliers at any cost. Generally, those that do "the deed" are the wiser ones who have purchased from the ignorant.
    So we need to have some faith that preservation of antiquity will (mostly) prevail within the wiser group.
    Also, the refining industry plays the market like everyone else, and to their benefit (and by odd coincidence also to those who seek to preserve better pieces), refiners have begun to increase the minimum amounts that can be locked in at a fixed price. So scrapping is becoming a game where there are many lower level "gatherers" who each make their percentage selling to bigger fish, but ultimately it is likely someone who knows what he sees who has to box it all up for final destination to the refiner. He/she also has a luxury most gatherers don't; If he pulls out one fine piece in 500, it's not of significant loss (percentage wise) to him not to scrap it.
    Back to those bottom feeders who usually lack the ability to spot a special piece, well I suspect most of them are collecting all the broken 1980s 14k department store jewelry. There's a LOT of it.

    As a traditionally trained silversmith, I lament my friend's scraping of later Reed & Barton pieces even though they're worthless. I hate seeing anything scrapped, but I understand why and appreciate the cycle. I also abhor what strip mining does to our world.

    My 2 sense.
     
  23. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,935
    251
    83
    UK
    Country Flag:
    It's strange that the reason I started collecting pocket watches six months ago was that I had decided to invest in gold :) A gold dealer sold me a few gold items at a little above scrap value, and one of them happened to be a pocket watch. I researched the watch, and I was hooked.

    I now have over 40 watches, mostly bought around the gold scrap value, and I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to convince myself to scrap two which are damaged, irrepairable and unexceptional.

    For me, the value of the gold cases simply provides a hedge on my investment. If (as I believe) the price of gold goes up over the coming years, that just adds to the value of my watches .... even if, through my lack of knowledge, I make some bad buys in terms of the watch itself.

    I can't see myself ever scrapping a sound watch.
     
  24. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Moderator
    Sponsor Gold Business Member

    Sep 3, 2000
    6,748
    121
    63
    Male
    watches
    Florida
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I bought at the National a terrific 1820's early American case with English movement (signed with American name) for melt.

    Also bought a howard 18k gold watch today for less than melt.

    The early one is a keeper, but the Howard rather plain and the movement is washed out...gilding is gone...and it scraps for about 1800...so... I can see why folks are tempted.

    Jeff

    I guess when they scrap so many, the stuff we hold just gets rarer.
    6 size dented watches, I admit, go "bye bye" in our store. They get recycled quickly.
     
  25. StanJS

    StanJS Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
    748
    70
    28
    Male
    North Andover, MA USA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #25 StanJS, Jul 8, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
    Well, if everyone here bought one gold watch this year, that would help. What we can't do alone, we can do as an organization. Typically, I don't buy gold watches, but I'll try to save one this year.

    Cheers,
    Stan
     
  26. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    A very interesting aspect to this gold watch thing.....................

    There are millions of gold bugs who save and invest in gold. Owning a nice, all original gold watch, is actually better than owning a gold bar or bulk, common gold.............the difference is that a gold watch is 2 fold--an antique item as well as a hunk of gold. The gold buyers do not believe (or cannot hold) in holding gold and the big scrapers they must turn over their gold buys because of the working capital issue and gold price fluctuations.

    It is too bad that gold buyers and investors don't buy antique pocket watches in addition to common bulk gold buying/investing/hoarding. The only downside is that common gold might be easier to fiqure and dispose of in a rush to sell.

    It is too bad that gold sellers don't tout gold watches to gold buyers................:(
     
  27. Sterling

    Sterling Registered User

    Jun 10, 2009
    101
    0
    16
    jeweler, carburetor builder
    NY
    True. After all, there is the huge sub-industry for numismatists. Coins are traded in bulk on the exchange, and they are relatively useless, and only stamped copies of the original art & craftsmanship.
    Doesn't make sense to me as a craftsman.
     
  28. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Moderator
    Sponsor Gold Business Member

    Sep 3, 2000
    6,748
    121
    63
    Male
    watches
    Florida
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Jon, Sterling,

    Whenever (for years) that anyone has asked my advice about which kind of gold bar to invest in, I always suggest a solid gold watch of a common variety.

    yes, it may cost you a few percent over the actual gold weight, but so does a Krand or a $50 Eagle. (the markup, depending on which coin dealer you buy them from is from2 to 8 percent over GOLD).

    It usually falls on deaf ears.

    My reasoning, like Jon is that ifyou investt in the gold in the watch, you have a lot of avenues of investment. An investment in gold, one in an artifact, and antique and an investment in history. And if worse comes to worst, you have at timepiece.

    Best way in the world to "invest" in gold.

    Jeff
     
  29. sandcastcb750

    sandcastcb750 Registered User

    Jan 15, 2009
    197
    1
    18
    Male
    Country Flag:
    The same could be said about antique cars; should we save all of them, even those beyond repair?

    I understand sentimental heirlooms. I also think functionality matters. Every clock I have runs or could possibily run.

    I think a one-of, super rare clock should be saved, though.
     
  30. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Cars have gold?

    Smashed gold watches OR cars..........................who cares?
     
  31. GD1

    GD1 Registered User

    Apr 22, 2004
    451
    3
    18
    I don't know how the members feel about scrapping watches but they sure seem to scrap amongst each other on these message boards. :)
     
  32. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I'm not melting! :D
     
  33. jdjohn17

    jdjohn17 Registered User

    Oct 22, 2007
    15
    0
    0
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    One thing I think we should also add to this discussion is that many rare gentleman's 12 size watches came in factory original cases. These cases were 18k, platinum, and 14k, they were all put into custom cases that only their movement would fit so you will often see these movements loose looking for a home. A good example would be the Illinois 13 size Grade 539 Extra Thin Model. There are less than 400 known examples, and my guess would be there are less than 100 original cases to go with those 400 movements.

    The question I have is, why doesn't the collectors within the hobby realize this fact, and thus attach the 2x or 3x premium to all original examples?? If they did, you would see the scrapping of scarce examples decline greatly.

    I saw a Hamilton 12 size grade 916 in a 14k case with original paper work, inside box, and outside box sell on Ebay for $500 last week. That is about + or - $100 more than the scrap value at $930 an ounce. Until people who collect watches realize the premiums that should be attached to these items they will continue to be melted.

    The good news is those original 12 size gold and platinum cases are just going to get scarcer and scarcer and most can still be picked up for a real bargain.
     
  34. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Scrapping, like SWITCHING, the watches shall never be again in their original form.:sour:

    :mad: :bang:
     
  35. Tom McIntyre

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

    Aug 24, 2000
    81,788
    1,292
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #35 Tom McIntyre, Jul 13, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
    Since there were only 300 numbers assigned for the 539 I am pretty sure less than 400 remain. However, their survival seems to me to be pretty good. It is possibly as high as 50% in original cases. Since they cannot be realistically switched, that makes a nice combination to collect. Unfortunately with only about 20 of us collecting them the competition is pretty low and the price remains likewise.
     
  36. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    And, everyone remember: scrapping slows down to a snail's pace when gold declines.

    If gold holds over the 1000 mark and continues uward, gold scraping will speed up again! (folks are waiting)
     
  37. Larry S

    Larry S Registered User

    Oct 16, 2001
    650
    0
    0
    Region Flag:
    This 18k white gold Illinois thin model case won't be scrapped by me. I cannot imagine anyone else wanting to do it either.

    http://www.soochx.org/images/illini2.jpg

    Larry
     
  38. Larry S

    Larry S Registered User

    Oct 16, 2001
    650
    0
    0
    Region Flag:
    My mistake, it's only 14k. Might as well melt it then since it's not worth poop.;)

    Larry
     
  39. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    would you melt it if gold were 4-5 thousand?:D
     
  40. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,935
    251
    83
    UK
    Country Flag:
    There's no logic in this discussion. If gold doubles in price, the value of a gold watch doubles in price and you can sell the whole watch either to a gold investor or to a collector at the new gold price. The only reason anyone has to melt the case is if he (A) needs cash and (B) can get more selling to a melter than he can get from anyone else.

    In the last six months, I've been to about 20 auctions in the UK, and seen probably 500 gold pocket watches sold. 90% sold for the melt value of the gold or more, and the other 10% went at a small margin below melt value.

    My limited experience therefore says that the cases aren't being melted, because that would mean the buyer at auction would make a loss on the transaction.
     
  41. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    No so here in the US--gold watches are being scrapped by the thousands.

    I observed 100 10s Wal and Elg cases, from ave to near new being burned 2+ months ago!:mad:
     
  42. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,935
    251
    83
    UK
    Country Flag:
    I need to get over there FAST !!!!!!

    Because that can only mean that gold watches are being sold below melt value, and I'm buying whatever is available in that category. And I am a fan of Waltham :)
     
  43. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    5,277
    125
    63
    Country Flag:
    No need to travel, just keep a better eye on eBay.

    The scrap buyers have taken a huge quantity of watches from there over the last couple years. They usually have to bid on a relatively tight margin to scrap prices but they can run through their buying/scrapping cycles quickly to stay very liquid.

    If you're serious you should have plenty of opportunity to save some watches there.

    Fred
     
  44. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,935
    251
    83
    UK
    Country Flag:
    I'm entirely serious, Fred.

    My evidence says you're wrong about eBay. Until March this year I was bidding actively on eBay - I guess at least three watches a day !!!! I managed to buy six watches out of maybe a hundred that I bid on, and in every case my bid was for what I estimated as the melt value of the watch. Then I gave up because I wasn't making a single successful bid.

    Given the suspicion that surrounds bidding on eBay, the best way to assess eBay prices is to look at the "Buy it now" prices. Just to pick the first example I found, there is a Waltham available (expiry date August 12) from a regular watch dealer. It looks to me a very nice but very run-of-the-mill Waltham. This is a 9K 44mm open face weighing 65.3g. Based on the make and style and size of the watch, I estimate a gold content of between 26.5 and 32.4g, which gives a melt value of between £176 and £215.

    The price of the watch is £385 !!!!!!!!

    And that's entirely typical of what I see on eBay. So if you think they're selling watches below melt value, find me one that qualifies and post the details here. I'm very ready to change my mind.
     
  45. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
    NAWCC Member Golden Circle

    Aug 24, 2000
    17,647
    109
    63
    Male
    Boston, Ma.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Fred is quite correct; in fact, I know 2 BIG nawcc dealers who buy regularly on fleabay.............they buy the watch, scrap the case, and resell the movement!
     
  46. mdavis00

    mdavis00 Registered User

    Feb 17, 2009
    50
    0
    0
    Web Design and Development
    Asheville, North Carolina
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have not found this to be the case at all (albeit on the US eBay site). The 'Buy It Now' sellers are listing items for from a month to years at a time holding out for the best possible price.

    I'll try an example of what I thought was a low price and see how it flies... A Hamilton 921 with 14kt case sold the other day for $412USD. With 14kt scrap worth $17.57USD/gr, how much would that case have to weigh to come out at a profit once you consider the resale value of the 921 movement as well? The watch itself weighs about 65gr, so if the case gold is approaching half the weight, then the scrapper will profit even before reselling the movement.

    You have to consider that these scrappers are reselling the movements--there's a lot of homeless movements on eBay...

    (By the way, the only 'Buy It Now' Hamilton 921 I see at the moment is available for $750--a far cry from the ~$400 that they're going for at auction.)
     
  47. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    5,277
    125
    63
    Country Flag:

    I know an individual that makes no secret of his scrapping activities and that is one of the most active gold buyers in the pocketwatch category on eBay. His purchase history of gold pocketwatches from the last 30 days totals at around $40,000. This is pretty much typical for what he's bought every month for the last few years, and I'm certain a good percentage of this volume ends up as melt.


    Very simply, he is not spending $ 1/2 million per year buying gold in the eBay pocketwatch category because he is losing money with it.


    I absolutely disagree with your interpretation of "Buy-It-Now" items as a good indicator of eBay prices. For a real look at the relevant end of the market to this discussion, I would say focus on completed gold watches coming from unsophisticated sellers and started at minimal opening bid sold through unreserved auction format.


    It is late now, but tomorrow I will see if I can find and post 25 good examples for you of completed eBay gold pocketwatch sales that are favorable to melt value. I don't think this will be difficult.

    Fred

    p.s. Two nice eBay auction buys I've made in the last year were a superb 21 jewel Grade 156 Elgin in 14K case at about $40 under its metal value, and a nice 21 jewel Columbus Ruby in 14K case at only about $75 over its metal value.
     
  48. Robert Smothers

    Robert Smothers Registered User

    Jul 11, 2003
    339
    2
    0
    Fred...You are right on target on this scrapping issue. A scrapper can bid 100% of gold value on a complete watch, and at the very least will profit the movement, dial, and hands, if successful. Often the success bid will come up short of gold value with even larger gains. The collector that is competing for the same goods buys and holds tieing up his or her money, while the scrapper has reloaded with the proceeds of scrapping plus money from the movements sold. The scrapper now has more money to buy gold watches and the collector has less. Guess who wins the next round?....Robert
     
  49. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,935
    251
    83
    UK
    Country Flag:
    But I think that "approaching half the weight" is hugely optimistic. I have 41 gold pocket watches, and exactly 5 of them have a gold content of 50% or more. The average is just under 40%, and that is based on accurate weighing of a third of them, fairly accurate weighing but then estimating the weight of crystal and stem and metal springs/slides for a further third, and inaccurate weighing of the remainder (which are swing-out movements which I haven't disassembled).

    It's hugely difficult to estimate gold content based on photographs; you need to hold the watch, feel the gauge of metal, check whether the crystal is glass or plastic and how thick it is (I have two 50mm diameter watches, one with a plastic crystal at 1.4g and the other a glass at 4.9g!), look at the metal inserts in the case, and study the construction of the case.

    All of the above is one reason why I prefer live auctions to eBay, of course :)

    The bottom line is that I start from an assumption of 40% gold content, and move up or down depending on all the elements mentioned above.

    The other point you make is very pertinent, that a dealer can also sell the movement. I've never done that, so I have no idea what a movement alone is worth, but I guess that would be how a dealer can buy above melt value and still make a profit. I had always understood that most movements fetch very little money, but it sounds as though I have that wrong.
     
  50. mdavis00

    mdavis00 Registered User

    Feb 17, 2009
    50
    0
    0
    Web Design and Development
    Asheville, North Carolina
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    You're right about the 50% being hugely optimistic. The 921 does have an acrylic crystal, but it is also open-faced. I have never messed with one with the intention of determining the case/movement weight relationship. I chose the 921 as an example because it is a popular movement for high-end wristwatch makers to re-case. An eBay search for 'Hamilton 921' turns up about as many re-cased movements as it does originals--it seemed a good candidate for a scrapper to pounce on.

    I'm looking at a couple homeless movements myself at the moment... hopefully not supporting someone tearing up original watches :(
     

Share This Page