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lack of high quality pocket watches at the Regionals.

Kenny S.

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I split this Regionals discussion from the "Ebay loser thread"



My sad story is the lack of high quality pocket watches at the Regionals. It is zip at the 3 i have attended. I have heard that the better watches are quietly traded among acquaintances
I hope this isn't true. I plan to attend my first regionals next month and am really looking forward to seeing what everyone has to offer. I am planning to bring some nice watches to the event rather than post them on the bay or elsewhere. I would hope others are doing the same.
 
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George Frick

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I hope this isn't true. I plan to attend my first regionals next month and am really looking forward to seeing what everyone has to offer. I am planning to bring some nice watches to the event rather than post them on the bay or elsewhere. I would hope others are doing the same.
Which Regional will you attend?
 

musicguy

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I am planning to bring some nice watches to the event rather than post them on the bay or elsewhere.
Are you going to get a table at the regional?


Rob
 

Jim Haney

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George,
To be fair about your complaint, You are looking for a Pennsylvania Special which is a fairly rare watch.

Your chances of finding one at Marts or regional's is somewhat hampered by the fact that there are no regional because of the Corona virus.

I offer high grade watches and a lot of people also offer very hi-grade watches at regional's, but because of supply and demand maybe a Pennsylvania Special is not on a table ?

Some of the older guys who sell watches have the same inventory on the table for 5-10 years never offering a new selection and sticking with their unrealistic prices of 10 years ago.

That is something that will never change. Your best bet on that particular watch is put the word out and follow the BIG auction houses for it.
 
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PatH

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Rhett Lucke

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In general, I would have to disagree with the premise that "high quality watches" can not be found at regionals. Whether a specific collector finds something to buy at a regional likely depends on at least a couple of factors. First, what is the focus of the individuals collecting interests and needs. Someone looking for only one or two specifically rare watches will obviously have less opportunities at any venue than someone who has a wider focus. Second, what event or events one choses to attend. Some regionals are small and feature a limited number of local table holders, while others are larger and draw a larger and more diverse mix of table holders.

I consider myself a moderate to advanced collector in my areas of interest. In a normal (non Covid impacted) year, Depending on my schedule, I typically attend 1-2 regionals annually as well as the national convention. The regionals I choose are based somewhat on the size of the event as well as the location of the event. As with most, my luck can vary from event to event and year to year, but I rarely come home empty handed.

In regards to the comment that the "better watches are quietly traded among acquaintances", I cannot argue this does occur. Watches are traded among individuals daily. Dealers will also cater to their best customers and friends will many times trade amongst themselves. In many instances, these opportunities have come about due to the networking and friendships that these regionals cultivate. Having said that, some of my best purchases over the last few years have been on items I found sitting on a dealers table.

In the end, there are a number of venues for buying watches and clocks. Each has its pros and cons and most serious collectors will take advantage of them all. The pros of NAWCC regionals are that one can examine and judge the item personally, before purchase. These regionals also provide an excellent opportunity to network, socialize and learn from other collectors, many of who are recognized experts in their areas of focus.
 

George Frick

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George,
To be fair about your complaint, You are looking for a Pennsylvania Special which is a fairly rare watch.

Your chances of finding one at Marts or regional's is somewhat hampered by the fact that there are no regional because of the Corona virus.

I offer high grade watches and a lot of people also offer very hi-grade watches at regional's, but because of supply and demand maybe a Pennsylvania Special is not on a table ?

Some of the older guys who sell watches have the same inventory on the table for 5-10 years never offering a new selection and sticking with their unrealistic prices of 10 years ago.

That is something that will never change. Your best bet on that particular watch is put the word out and follow the BIG auction houses for it.
Jim, thank you for the response. Yes, that Pennsylvania is on my hit list. But there were others. South Bend 329, Rockford 900 Hamilton 946. I have these from the bay, i have not seen them at a Regional. I was reading an old thread. It was mentioned that years ago robbery after a Regional was not unheard of. Members on the way home were followed if it was known they had high grade expensive merchandise. For that reason most high grade transactions were done privately and quietly at the marts. I don't know if that is still the case, I am not one of the click.
Back to the Pennsylvania, I know it will not be a quick find. I am tracking the on line auction house back east. I know they do the best they can for descriptions and I feel safe spending that kind of $$$ with them. They had a table at the AZ Regional, nice folks.
Thanks Jim!
 

musicguy

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My sad story is the lack of high quality pocket watches at the Regionals
I think George was saying something a little different than what came through above. I believe that
George was saying that when a collector is looking for a specific HQ watch or watches
it does not mean you will find that specific one at a Regional(even if there are many other HQ
watches for sale there). At the National two years ago
I was looking for a 3 specific watches. I went to every single watch table and asked if they had one.
I did find one of the three I was looking for. It's not always easy, but if you let the
sellers know what you are looking for they may have one that they can sell you.
Sometimes you need to look for years to find the example that fits all your needs.

As Rhett said above:
The pros of NAWCC regionals are that one can examine and judge the item personally, before purchase.
These regionals also provide an excellent opportunity to network, socialize and learn from other collectors, many of
who are recognized experts in their areas of focus.


Rob
 

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I consider myself a moderate to advanced collector in my areas of interest....
Ha Ha...what does that make the rest of us schmucks?

What Rhett and Jim have said pretty much sums it up. I will just add one piece of advice. Always ask/tell dealers at NAWCC regionals about what you are looking for. I do and a lot of times stuff comes out that was not on the table.

I consider myself a moderate to advanced collector in my areas of interest too. I am not usually looking for a particular watch to fill a hole in my collection like a missing penny in the blue book. I rarely buy at auction. I buy at NAWCC regional marts and from jewelers and collectors. Always talk to the dealer/collectors at marts. Establish relationships. It will pay off.
 

PatH

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I will just add one piece of advice. Always ask/tell dealers at NAWCC regionals about what you are looking for. I do and a lot of times stuff comes out that was not on the table.
Always talk to the dealer/collectors at marts. Establish relationships. It will pay off.
Definitely some good advice here from John, as well as from Rhett earlier. My primary watch interest is the early dollar watches (generally in the pre-1910 era), as well as commemorative, souvenir and advertising/private label versions. Even if none are on display, when I stop to talk, I will often hear about one or two that they have at home. If they are interested in parting with the item, I leave a card with my contact info, and have received follow up emails/pictures from some, while others will bring them to the next Regional that we both attend. The same has been true of advertising items, watch keys, watch holders/stands, etc. For discussions and questions about items, I try to wait until they aren't busy with someone else. It is amazing what I have learned from these conversations. Even if you don't find anything that fits your needs at a particular show, regionals are great opportunities to get to know some wonderful, knowledgeable and generous people. And every show is different!
 

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Good advice from Rhett, Jim, and John. They are LONG time collectors and researchers, talk to and get to know people and everything will expand. This pandemic has shut most events down, but this will not last forever. Patience when looking for a scarce to rare item is helpful. I have found the hunt to be some of the most fun.
 

George Frick

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Well, I got some good advice from this thread. I am guilty of very little interaction with sellers at Regionals. I just "cruse through". I will work on my people skills!
 
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Fred Hansen

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Well, I got some good advice from this thread. I am guilty of very little interaction with sellers at Regionals. I just "cruse through". I will work on my people skills!
I like to move quick through my first couple passes through the room because great items often don’t last long - but after that it’s time to slow down, look closer and talk more.
 

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I like to move quick through my first couple passes through the room because great items often don’t last long - but after that it’s time to slow down, look closer and talk more.
Fred, good advice because many of my favorite acquisitions I've bought over the years has also been at marts by talking to table holders and members walking around. Not to mention that all things for sale are not always on the table for lots of good reasons. I suppose the message I would send is to get to know as many members as possible at every show.
 

musicguy

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I like to move quick through my first couple passes through the room because great items often don’t last long
In our local marts(three that I attend) all the real activity happens
before the mart opens between sellers and people who come early.
There is a mad initial rush around the room. It is actually unsettling.


Rob
 

John Cote

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I like to move quick through my first couple passes through the room because great items often don’t last long - but after that it’s time to slow down, look closer and talk more.
Fred...little Fred, is probably the model for all to follow these days. I met him when I was just a little older than he is now (hell, maybe the same age). I met him when my legs were longer than his and younger than they are now...back when I was covering the ground. Fred can cover more ground than I can in a given amount of time right now. But, I will go back to the people person thing. From the time his eyes were much closer to the ground and he didn't have to bend over to look at the watches on mart tables, Fred's real gift was the ability to talk to people and gain their trust quickly (well justified trust IMHO). I don't even want to say that Fred is the ultimate extrovert. He isn't loud or pushy. He is a natural. I don't know why I am being so nice to him. He beats me to an awful lot of the good stuff these days.

I guess the point is that some people might think that how Freddy buys is the old boy, under the table thing that some were and have complained about. If you want to complain about a guy who just works it better and harder, you are certainly free to do so. As the old guy who used to be more fleet of foot, I just admire how he does it and from time to time I still get a charge out of showing him something I picked out from under his nose so that I can see the 5 or 6 gems he picked out from under mine.

It takes all kinds to make the NAWCC the great organization that it is. Fred and his dad and his mom help make it great...at least for me.
 

PatH

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In our local marts(three that I attend) all the real activity happens
before the mart opens between sellers and people who come early.
There is a mad initial rush around the room. It is actually unsettling.
Sorry to digress with a general memory of early events - When we first started going to Regionals and National Conventions (we're newbies - it was 2006!), we weren't table-holders, and the doors to the mart room were kept closed for set up until the official opening time. People would start lining up quite early in order to be first in the door. Excitement really built, and there was usually a count-down before the brave souls in charge of security opened the doors. Definitely a mad rush ensued, but there was also a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. There wasn't much greeting and chatting for the first few hours - more quick hellos or waves to table-holders and other attendees while quickly touring the room in search of bargains. Once the initial rush was over, things settled into more chatting, catching up and greeting newcomers - the people part of the event.
 

Clint Geller

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Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend Marts for some while on account of the fact that I am at high risk for serious illness were I to catch the COVID virus. My mobility is also limited these days. However, I would like to amplify what several others have said, that the personal relationships one builds with other members at Marts often makes or breaks one's long-term success as a collector. Most of my own purchases take place off of Mart floors through the registered mail, but with people whom I had originally met and gotten to know at regional and national meetings. It takes trust to put a valuable watch in a box and send it off to someone in a different state in the mail, or to mail someone a check without having a watch in your hands. For that matter, it takes trust to hand someone a watch at a regional meeting in return for his check. In my experience, that kind of trust has not always, but has most often been built by in-person interactions, chatting and shmoozing at Marts and other collector get-togethers.
 
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Kenny S.

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It takes trust to put a valuable watch in a box and send it off to someone in a different state in the mail, or to mail someone a check without having a watch in your hands.
Amen. I had to do this recently and even though I waited until his check had cleared, I was still nervous. It was more than one watch and into 4 digits. I paid the postage but he wasn't concerned with insurance. Wow. Everything worked out, but yeah, it took some trust.
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Kenny,

I'm not adding anything new but FWIW I own a significant collection of 15 Ruby Jewel Aurora watches. All variants of these are scarce if not rare. To the best of my recollection none of them were purchased at NAWCC marts. However, a number of them did come from members that I met at marts. So networking is essential when trying to find some of the scarce/rare items. Nobody lives forever and many collectors are happy to have their prized watches end up in a good home.

Greg
 

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You guys should consider yourselves lucky that you even have regionals and marts in your area to attend.

Richard
 

ben_hutcherson

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I'm a novice collector compared to many of the folks in this thread, but I also can't emphasize how important it is to network and just echo what John, Rhett, Fred and others are saying.

Many folks know what I collect, and to be honest I can often have a great day without much more than one or two laps around the room. The past several(but not 2020 if it happens) I've been glued to the registration desk at my home regional(Lexington) so do well to make a couple of trips around the room. Still, stuff finds its way to me.

Shows like Southern Ohio give me a lot more freedom to move around the room. There again, that show's been good to me, although I miss the small downstairs room at Drawbridge. Auburn was always good to me too, although I haven't been to the new venue. I miss the old Valparaiso show.

I think anyone who has had a table can tell you the majority of their sales happen in the first hour.

All of that aside, as others have said, talk to people. Look at tables. Let people know what you're interested in and that might spark the "I didn't put these out, but I have this" or even a "I don't want to sell, but here's a nice tray of them." In the latter case, make a friend and enjoy your shared interests. One of my best memories of a regional was walking through the door at Lexington, Fred Sr. introducing himself, and then about an hour later him stopping me and saying "Do you want to look at some watches?" He pulled out amazing tray of Getty models, which I didn't even really appreciate at the time. It planted a bug, though, and a few years later when he showed me the same tray I had a much better conversation with him.
 

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So, I'm just trying to get a picture of what a "Regional" is like... Is it something like a car boot sale, except for being indoors in a big hall somewhere, obviously without the cars, and with pocket watches for sale instead of random household clutter & unwanted clothing?
 

179

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Having been to about 150 regionals, most are about 60 to 80% clocks and 20 to 40% watches.
 
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Rodney Leon

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Thanks Pat. I missed the last Chapter meeting and hadn't had a chance to catch up on the minutes yet. Bummer.:(
I first joined Nawcc in 1988 and kept my membership until 2002, I got downsize from my job of 28 years, Had to make a lot of life changes. Joined again this year and am glad to be back. But I always enjoyed going to the Marts in Colorado and even Nebraska. During those years and picked up many nice watches and meet a lot of super sellers. Never got a bad one in all those years. I was hoping to go again to the Denver one but after reading this above found it was cancelled. Maybe next year. I do buy on ebay and sell but have been very selective you have to look at their photos. If I do not see a clear shot of the movement and case I pass on it, some people just show a case with dial as their only photo and no description. These are good to stay away from even if the price is right. I also do the buy it nows as the auction part is nuts last few seconds and the price skyrockets with me never winning.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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I haven't been to many NAWCC events, but I did regularly go to the big regional event that used to be held in Pasadena. It gave me the opportunity to meet some noted collectors, but that was the only thing I liked about it. Apart from that, it was just a horological flea market. The room was laid out in rows of 4x8 tables, perhaps 10 rows, each about 100 feet long. The tables were covered with an enormous amount of stuff, very little of it labeled, much of it junk, 99.9% of no interest to me. It is so much easier for me to find items of interest and to understand what I am seeing at major watch auctions or eBay.
 

PatH

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So, I'm just trying to get a picture of what a "Regional" is like... Is it something like a car boot sale, except for being indoors in a big hall somewhere, obviously without the cars, and with pocket watches for sale instead of random household clutter & unwanted clothing?
A regional is an event that is generally sponsored by several NAWCC Chapters. Registration takes place well in advance of the event in order to plan for table layout and assignment, etc. There is an admission fee to cover the costs of facility, tables, etc. They are generally 2 or 3 day events, and include a mart (which is what is being discussed here), as well as a themed exhibit (I have seen themes such as carriage/traveling clocks, advertising clocks, torsion clocks, Seth Thomas Clocks, steeple clocks, horological ephemera or tools, specific brands or types of watches, etc.), and educational presentations. Some also include live demos of repair or restoration techniques. There is a separate mart room where members can rent tables on which to display horological items that are for sale. Tables range from very nicely displayed items with prices clearly marked, to those that are set out in boxes/bins with no pricing. Some regionals include a parking lot/tailgate component, silent auctions, live auctions, etc.

Others may have broader insight and experiences that they can add to this.
 

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I agree with 179 very well written.


Rob
 

ben_hutcherson

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One thing I feel obligated to mention as a member of the convention committee:

Many folks(I'm guilty of this myself) tend to box in and think Regional=Mart and that basically the two are interchangeable.

I think it's safe to say that the mart room is the single biggest draw for most folks, and if weren't present I don't know if it would even be financially viable for a chapter to host a regional. These days too, the chapters aren't exactly making a pile of money on hosting the marts-depending on the weather at Lexington(January can scare a lot of folks) we usually roughly break even(single biggest cost is venue rental, and we've been a long enough customer at a slow time of year that we can work a good deal on that, and a few other miscellaneous expenses like food for the hospitality room and the really expensive mart ad that a lot of folks still count on while money in comes from admission+table sales).

Still, though, Regionals are SUPPOSED to include an education component. At Lexington, often our co-hosts, Chapter 35 out of Louisville, will put together a phenomenal display, although there have been a few others. We do our best to have both a watch in a clock talk. Since I've been involved, I've tried to recruit some good watch talks-among others we've had John Cote give his "Collecting without Going Broke" talk, Clint has given a talk on Civil War Watches, and a few others I'm forgetting. I've done a few presentations, although I will freely admit to most of mine being rough since it's always been my first go-round for a particular one. The past two years John Cote and I have done an organized roundtable show-and-tell session where many of the participants bring a watch related to a different topic(last year it was a generic "favorite watch" one) and we spend time looking at them and talking about them. I think everyone comes away learning something, and often times even the owner of the watch will!

It's important to emphasize, though, that while historically admission to the mart room required has required one to be an NAWCC member(spouses and children under 18 also permitted, and also the not widely known escorted visitor policy where an interested non-member could be walked around the room but not buy/sell), educational programs are always both free and open to the public.

I know folks who attend a lot of regionals and have never been to an educational program. To me, that's a shame, as they're an important component of the event and of course always an opportunity to both look and learn.

One other thing worth pointing out is that typically a member of the board of directors attends every regional meeting. We always give them a table up at the front of the room, and they're open for you to talk to them and hear what's on your mind. There is also generally a meeting where they report on the state of the association and open the floor more formally for questions.
 
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Maximus Man

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I just wanted to add that networking often reduces the need to try and keep up with Freddy. When people start to recognize specific collectors and what they collect, they will often do the walking for you and let you know if they have found something they know you collect in exchange for the same favor. You get to know the needs of others. That helps both buyers and sellers. Then you have time to sit and network some more before taking that second lap.
 

PatH

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When people start to recognize specific collectors and what they collect, they will often do the walking for you and let you know if they have found something they know you collect in exchange for the same favor.
Like Ben, I am generally helping with registration and/or we have several tables. It's helpful when people tell me who has items I might be interested in, and some even bring them to me so I don't need to leave a table unattended. (Cell phones are a great help, too, as someone can send a picture and call when they find something.) The flip side is, it's easier on the pocketbook when I stay in my assigned area and don't go making the rounds of the mart. Either way, I have the opportunity to meet and visit with other attendees, so being there is a win/win.
 
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