Vacheron Constantin Pocket Watch Mixup

SCinBZ

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Mar 14, 2019
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After working with the local VC AD, we sent my VC pocket watch to Switzerland to request the available documentation. Of course, this somehow morphed into a repair request. The upside, is that I know that they want $6200 to repair the (working) watch, plus $350 to make a new minute hand.

The page from their archives is $150. The most baffling is the "Certificate of Authenticity" that they are offering me for the minor sum of ONLY $900.

Ouch,
MarvinM
 

LloydB

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Feb 24, 2006
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After working with the local VC AD, we sent my VC pocket watch to Switzerland to request the available documentation. Of course, this somehow morphed into a repair request. The upside, is that I know that they want $6200 to repair the (working) watch, plus $350 to make a new minute hand.

The page from their archives is $150. The most baffling is the "Certificate of Authenticity" that they are offering me for the minor sum of ONLY $900.

Ouch,
MarvinM
Your "ouch" is deeply reflected.
How much for the return shipping?
 

Dr. Jon

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Dec 14, 2001
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FWIW an extract is not the same as a certificate of authenticity, but I don’t believe you need either.

My experience with V&C also suggests they do not do well by vintage watch owners and in my experience their records are not reliable.
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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Jan 8, 2006
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SCinBZ, no one has yet said this, but your watch is a ladies watch, about 30mm in diameter, cased. The movement is a good one, but it is at the lower end of the V&C quality range. I bring these two points up because they mean that your watch is at the low-end of V&C values. Leaving sentimentality, e.g., for a family heirloom, aside, one normally should take a watch's value into account in determining how much to spend on servicing or restoration. Please note that I am not estimating the value of your watch (which is verboten in this forum under this message board's well-intended, but sometimes creaky rules), when I tell you that I bought a very nice ladies 18k ladies V&C with an identical movement and the same hands as your watch for $1,187,50 at a major auction house's auction in 2015. My then-watchmaker charged me $170 to service the watch.

V&C is entitled to charge whatever it wants for servicing, but it surely must know that charging 500% of a watch's likely value is not economic.

Most pocket watch collectors are trapped in a time warp that ended many decades ago. Still existent high-end firms from the pocket watch era, like V&C and Patek Philippe, honor the past (if you doubt that, visit the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva), but make their money on what they currently sell. They presently are doing reasonably well selling extremely expensive wristwatches and servicing them for very high amounts that are, nevertheless, a fraction of what the watches sell for. 30 years ago, I had Patek Philippe service my Patek Philippe wristwatch. I remember the charge was $1800, which was a lot in the early 1980s, when a new 18k PP Calatrava cost about $6000. I have never since sent a watch back to its Swiss maker for servicing.
 

rstl99

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Oct 31, 2015
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:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
Sort of shameful how some of these Swiss firms treat unsuspecting customers, isn't it? And their policy of not selling parts to independent repair shops makes all the business come home to Mothership... Then again, if someone is willing/able to part with that kind of money for that kind of service, well, that's capitalism isn't it? Makes me thankful that I'm rather cheap/thrifty when it comes to buying things. I like to acquire and learn from vintage timepieces, but only if they're affordable.
 

MartyR

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Dec 16, 2008
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FWIW an extract is not the same as a certificate of authenticity, but I don’t believe you need either.
I'd like to echo Dr.Jon's message. The watch will always speak for itself, and I believe that most buyers will ignore these documents - indeed I remember overhearing a conversation between an expert collector and an auction house representative about a watch with COA at a viewing. The auction house guy pointed out that the watch being considered had a COA, and the collector replied "Where is the document certifying that the COA is authentic?"

If anything, an extract document is better if it shows when and to whom the watch was sold ... especially if thay buyer was famous!
 

D.th.munroe

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Feb 15, 2018
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It's kind of funny about once a year I get told I'm ripping people off for charging a couple hundred to overhaul an antique swiss pocket watch in non working condition or a mid to higher end wrist watch and that they can send it to Switzerland and have it repaired for much much less, even had one guy with an Elgin.
Dan.
 

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