Auction Notes – May 2021

May 2021

Been hospitalised recently, having endured an operation and trying to recuperate, though it’s slow going – as it always is when you are that much older.  Far better to have any necessary operation when you’re young – the recovery is so much faster.  Unfortunately at my age, other issues have been disturbed, so presently not getting around as I would like to, despite lifting of pandemic travel restrictions etc.

Been checking the odd auction, but nothing has really interested me – and certainly not at the right price – seems to my jaundiced eye that even average vintage watches are being overpriced and certainly over-valued.  I mean they are what they are and paying over the odds for what were often pretty mundane everyday watches of the period, is simply over-inflating the prices for House gain.  Coupled with the fact that many auctions are online and physical viewing is not possible, a good few items often look better, much better in some cases, than they actually are.  It’s also annoying that some Auction Houses aren’t too bothered about proper condition reports, which in these particular times, is nothing short of unprofessional. Then of course are the fees!  Mostly increasing for less service in my opinion.

But, Hey Ho! that’s the way of it today – not that I’m too involved, but I don’t have to like it.


December 2020

Well, Covid has stopped me visiting any auctions and I seem to have tired of online ones.  Too easy to purchase items that may not quite be as they look and delivery issues are often a problem, if you are unable to collect your successful bid personally.  Not that I haven’t bought the odd thing, because I have, but I’ve definitely lost a bit of the passion for it at the moment.

Perhaps like many others, a sort of malaise has set in, what with travel restrictions and mask wearing and anti-bacterial sprays and all of that – it’s just not the same. On the bright side of course, is the fact (and it certainly IS a fact) I’ve saved some money at the same time – so that can’t be bad!

So not much in the way of activity on this page for a while and I’m hoping to have an operation (health) soon, so I could be hors-de-combat for a bit anyway.


Addendum November 2018

Here we go again – If you use the Internet to bid on Auctions – yet another nasty INCREASE for the privilege of using the ‘net.

For years it has been a bone of contention with a figure of 3% being more or less standard across Auction Houses and now we’re seeing this increased to 5%.  This on top of the 24%+ we’re hit with as a Buyer.
This really annoys me as there’s no justification for it in the first place and in my view it is profiteering pure and simple!

The fact is that Internet sales are a huge benefit to the Auction House.  Often I’ve been to an auction where the number in the hall is outnumbered by staff.  There’s simply not enough bidders there to sell much at all – many items are then unsold.  With an Internet audience the chances of a sales are vastly increased, so to penalise the bidder is once again quite ridiculous..

As I say – profiteering and surely, this time, something has to be done about it. . . . . .


November 2018

Nothing to report form my point of view in the Auction scene as I simply have avoided them over the past few months.  The only changes I see are the seemingly inevitable rise of Buyers and Sellers fees, which in my opinion are really not justifiable – considering the profits Auction Houses are posting.

I’ve also noticed in the mainstream watch auctions of vintage models, more are being offered in poor condition, yet at good condition estimates.  Then to slap on further fees on top seems a bit of a rip off in my opinion.  Good condition watches are today, in genera,l over estimated, so personally I can’t be bothered looking any more.  High end models in good condition prices although high seem fairly steady, though really good condition watches are becoming more scarce generally.  So if in the market for those, be very aware the hammer price reflects item PLUS fees and the fees as a % of cost is rising.

Remember when buying at auction, always ask yourself – am I happy with my purchase?


May addendum – 2018

Well I spoke too soon.  On further inspection of the watches in question, there were too many “Oh oh! I don’t know about that” questions that arose – so I didn’t bid on either one. Whilst the estimates were OK, the actual condition was not quite as I hoped for the price.  In the event one did not sell and the other sold on estimate, but not for me – so other collectors maybe had the same thoughts as I.

However to Auction Houses.  And my new decision to avoid them owing to what is pretty obvious – the criminal cost of buying.

With new credit card controls, Auction Houses are tempted to raise again the so called “Buyer’s Fee” and unfortunately some have already done just that.  Some would you believe have also ignored the cash buyer and by increasing the Buyers Fee simply penalise all Buyers, whether paying by Credit Card or not, which is patently wrong.

But whichever way they do it – I can guarantee – it will cost you the Buyer more.

So what’s the justification for a Buyer’s Fee in the first place and why is it there at all?

Supposedly it’s there because the Auction House has to verify the item, ensure it is what it says it is, check it’s condition and perhaps provide a “condition report” and offer it up for sale in an auction environment.   To counter that policy I would say surely that’s part of their job!  Then add in the other little tweak that’s crept in after the item is sold.  The Sold price is magically transformed into the Hammer price – this now INCLUDES the Buyers Premium!

In other words the perceived value of the item is up to 30% higher than the true value or Hammer price.

So when considering an item to sell at auction, the seller checks what value he might expect for his item.  He obviously checks out previous Auction sales and discovers a similar item with a Sold Price of X.  BUT is of course untrue as it’s actually presented as an over-inflated price for that item (actual selling price + Premium).   So the Seller of a similar item is going to be well disappointed if he doesn’t actually get near that figure at auction.

To add to the misery the Auction House estimate is of course also pitched higher than it should be (based on that spurious final sold Price) and over-inflates the value yet again.  And every time that similar item sells it’s so called “value” increases – but it’s a wonderful and artificial over-value.

Now if I was a pessimistic old sod 🙂 I would suspect this at best to be shoddy business practice and at worst very close to criminal!

Wool is being pulled over the punters eyes – we are being sold a pup – taken to the cleaners perhaps – we are being done!  So I think enough is enough and it’s all gone on too long and too far and the Credit Card cost of doing business is just another scam in the making.

In my opinion there is no justification whatsoever for a Buyers Premium – none at all.

It is part of the Auction House job to prepare as best they can, an item for general sale.  In other words, check it out, manage a true description, condition and present it in the best possible light as an item for sale.

It is the cost of doing business – period!

Let’s face it – It is standard sales practice – it is NOT a difficult or complicated task – it is part of the job and surely a basic Auction House cost at that.

What it is certainly NOT – is the buyer’s responsibility.

So what do you do? Stop going to Auctions?

Well my own experience shows that some years ago I would go to Auctions sometimes 2 or 3 times a month and buy a considerable amount of items from Silver, Gold, Glass and China, and Watches of course – in fact all sorts of things.  Today I have to consider carefully if I go to Auction at all – maybe twice a year and this year not even that and for next year – with the latest unjustified increases and costs, fees and Premiums – I really doubt I’ll go at all.

So in my case the Auction Houses lose out on an income stream, which after 50 odd years must add up to a considerable amount.

The direction I’m heading in now and those that will benefit, will be the private sales outfits, the specialist Internet & private sellers with minimal costs and who now, today, can offer a true and secure market place for buyers and sellers alike.  Once again we can have TRUE value items without the insidious artificial, inventions of added fees and premiums – a practice that frankly for me has ruined the Auction business.

In fact I’m on-line now checking out a very good vintage watch with some 20 hi-res images, a detailed condition report and a guaranteed and safe payment system in place (I’ve used them before) and at an asking price that is fair.  A small and acceptable fee for using their scheme is my only extra cost which I willingly pay.

So maybe the Auction Houses have done me a favour after all – and made me realise I don’t need them!  Let them choke on their own inventions – it can’t come soon enough.

Back to reality – I’m enjoying this on-line sales viewing – it’s fun with no hidden fees and premiums and pretentious bullshit . .  .

Hey – I’m hooked and this could actually be a result!

July 2018 – addendumSuccess!  Got myself a great watch at a sensible true value price and in great condition. The seller is happy, the market provider is happy and most important of all – I’m Happy!


May 2018

Once again checking out a few watch auctions for something that will interest me.  Not so easy these days unfortunately.  And in the case of “those” Brands, or those perceived quality models, estimates are way too high for what they are and certainly in respect of condition.  And when coupled with excessive so called “buyer’s premiums” I simply have lost interest in contributing to Auction House profits at the expense of over-inflated prices for less than perfect watches.

Enough is enough.

However I still look for those watches that in some personal way still manage to excite me to some degree.  And I’m happy to say that almost most of the watches that I find interesting are not lumped in with the over-hyped Auction House perception of what’s Collectible.  Fortunately their idea of what’s attractive to the collector and mine are quite different.  The models I am interested in today don’t attract their silly estimates and until such time as they cotton on to this fact – I might, just might get some new stuff for my personal eclectic collection.


April 2018

Well unfortunately the watches I was looking at were not as good as I expected or managed prices I was not prepared to reach, so nothing new for me on that front.  Been abroad again and involved in a few watch events (private auctions) and have some successes.  Hope to Post some details as and when I have the time.

I’m still finding the general watch scene a little disappointing though.  OK lots of new and so called exciting watch designs appearing, but most not to my taste and often (in my opinion) with unjustifiable and sometimes silly price levels.  The pre-owned Rolex market seems buoyant but with the availability of best quality models rather more scarce and the less than perfect condition models are over-priced by some margin.  Not helped by the Auction House fees which seem to get higher every time I see them.  A fact I find to be a real disincentive and leading to the over-valuing of the items in question, which does the buyer no favors at all.

True vintage models are still an attractive market, but again really good condition models are becoming rarer by the day.  This in turn leads to a steady rise in prices asked and a somewhat lesser availability of those watches across the board.  Once bought, buyers are somewhat reluctant to trade or even part with them (owing to the scarcity of good condition models), thus reducing the available market situation.

And as always the vintage years are moving onwards, later eras now coming into the category. “Bargain” is a word not so often used today in regards watch purchases and “investment” is even rarer.  But that’s the watch business and as always “time” will tell as to what’s coming next. . . . .


February 2018

As I have out of the Country for a while, Auctions have taken a back seat and only now are starting to interest me again.  Though saying that, the ones I’ve seen so far, locally at any rate are not worth the effort, the watch quality v high price estimates in my opinion being quite unrealistic.  Once again any profit seem to disappear into the pocket of the Auction House, whether the item is sold or not as the cost of fees to Seller and Buyer often outweighs the so called bidding profit.

However I am looking at some Auctions with more realistic estimates, though perhaps are probably “come and buy me” incentives.  But the watch models are interesting enough to warrant a look, so you never know.
There is no doubt that true vintage watches are becoming more scarce, certainly ones in decent condition and too often silly prices are being asked for poor condition items, just because they are classed as vintage.  Seeing the state of some of them I often wonder where on earth they’ve been to get into such a state, so finding well kept models is the name of the game – but at sensible prices please.

Anyway as said, I’m looking at around a half dozen or so that have caught my attention, so as ever Watch (this) Space.


September 2017

AT LAST. . . . . .

Some action on the online fees that I have whinged on about every time I Post about Auctions (see even my last Auction Post).

Sothebys of all people have taken the lead and scrapped Buyer’s Premium for on-line sales.  They have stated that it’s their “best tool for attracting first time buyers”.  The new rates will start with their Contemporary Art online Sale on September 16th.

Now whether this approach will filter down to smaller Auction Houses (such as those watch sales!), remains to be seen?  I personally doubt it, but as most of you familiar with my views on this I would go further and would advocate a small discount to successful online bidders.  After all the percentage of new trade business garnered by the internet can be as much as 30% of total sales. Yet we (the online bidder) are often viewed with little regard and get scant recognition of that fact – a necessary evil I’ve heard it described.
Indeed it is a fact that I have been in some smaller Auctions where if it were not for the Internet connection they have in place, I would reckon the Auction would have flopped.

So interesting times indeed with the big boys and whether just a Marketing gimmick at this stage or a true shift in modern Auction practice, we’ll see – but interesting none the less and to my mind a step in the right direction – and not before time.


March 2017

Success in a couple of auctions recently is good news for me, as I have not had too much in the way of winning bids over the past few months.  Often the watch I have shown interest in has on closer inspection proved NOT to be as good as I hoped, so dropped out of the bidding.  Also the fact that the Buyer’s Premium is steadily but surely increasing with every auction I seem to see these days.  It’s no surprise to any of my readers that I think these so called “premiums” are far too high and simply inflate the price/value of items beyond their worth.  Obviously this is a trend the Auction House likes, but from the punters’s viewpoint, this is anything but good.  What was around 15% just a few years ago is now very often 25% plus Vat, plus the Credit Card charge, which may have some merit, but now we’re getting hit with an Internet charge on top of that.
In my opinion this is simply profiteering as Internet access is something that gives the Auction House a HUGE bidding market, compared to who turns up on the day or books a telephone bid place.

I personally think this is completely the wrong way round.  It should be the Auction House that pays what I would call an Internet Bidder Premium, in the form of a discount, to the successful bidder.  Not only would that even up what I think is a rather one sided Auction business, but it would also actually encourage more Internet business – surely the aim of both parties.

Anyway, suffice to say that’s another reason for stopping bidding earlier than perhaps I would have done in the past.  Because once you start adding on the so called Premiums, suddenly you realize the watch is simply not worth it.  And as bad as this inflated value is in the watch business, it is far worse in the real antique market auctions, where items are being inflated to ludicrous heights right across the board.

OK, OK, rant over.  After saying all that, I have been successful in a few watch buys recently, without over spending value wise, though I still baulk at the premiums (can’t leave it alone, can I?).
At the moment I’m doing some research on the 1940’s model I bought and once complete I’ll Post some stuff here about it hopefully.


April/May 2016 addendum

Well as luck would have it I never managed to get to any auction, either in person on phone/proxy or whatever and all due to health problems (isn’t getting old a bitch!).  And as things went maybe it was a blessing in disguise as the models that interested me sold for either just on estimate or well below, so I’ve probably saved myself a fortune!   But of course I missed out seriously on some really nice models and that’s a shame as after all I do collect watches – so a bad week all round!

The IWC watch featured below went for just about estimate and the more modern one for less than estimate, which was a pity as I rather liked the second one, especially that dial with the steel hands in contrast with the great condition white dial – but Hey Ho – that’s life.

Ah well maybe next time and I’m already looking around to see what’s on offer, though the ones I’m seeing on the horizon are perhaps too rich for me – and I mean EXPENSIVE!

So here I sit with arthritic knees and hips looking at a new set of golf clubs!  I know silly, but for whatever reason I decided after some 60 odd years of playing the game to get myself “fitted” clubs.  I mean even the kids in the junior section are going down this route – and I never have – instead persevering for years with a standard set of old clubs complete with swear words and odd shots here and there!
But notwithstanding I decided this was it – now or never, sh*t or bust and the last clubs I’d ever get or try – at least I’d go out with decent stuff.  But as I say, Lady Luck has really not been in my corner for a while and so – crap Internet broadband, no new auction watches to cheer me up and no darned golf either!

I’ll probably comfort eat now . . . . .   😦


April/May 2016

Here is another IWC on auction that I like the look of, 14ct Gold case with an interesting articulated lug design which whilst unusual is not the first one I’ve seen.

IWC 1939/1941 Calibre C61 Manual wind Centre seconds.

IWC 1939/1941 Calibre C61 Manual wind Centre seconds.

The serial and case numbers indicate a 1939 produced Calibre 61 (fully signed) though the case number suggests the watch retailed around 1941.  The C61 movement was the first center seconds hand model I believe from IWC and was produced from 1938 to around 1942 and this early version, which has no shock protection, is probably one of maybe 4000-5000 pieces made.  Shock protection was added to later models, first with a modified Cal 60 and then the Cal 89 being the most well known of these.

An interesting Calibre and whilst not regarded as special it seems by those in the know, I actually regard the C61 as quite an interesting transitional piece to the more popular Calibre 89s which came later.  In fact I personally prefer this Calibre by reason of it’s relative and comparative rarity.

The bracelet on this particular watch is not IWC but matches it rather well, but sadly is only 155 mm, which is a real shame.  So if any successful bidder wants to wear it, he’ll have to replace it, unless he has very small wrists.  I would comment it won’t be that easy to get a vintage or vintage style bracelet to match.

The quoted estimate is £600 to £800.  Add on the premium, VAT and a possible bracelet replacement – makes the final price critical.

The decision is yours. . . . . .

And if you like IWC here is a more modern one – the Stainless Steel cased Automatic 21 jewel Cal.37521, adjusted to 5 positions.

IWC Auto Date watch, circ 1990

IWC Auto Date watch, circ 1990

This is a rather neat model at just 34 mm diameter, though I like the black Roman numerals and black pointed baton hands with centre seconds.  Date aperture @3 within a brushed and polished round case.  According to the condition report the case back has a prominent scratch, everything else is normal expected wear and the original bracelet with signed double folding clasp is 185 mm in length.

The estimate on this one is £700 – £900 and the model is dated to around 1990.

Nice watch though perhaps a little modern for me it will be interesting to see how it fares.  In my experience modern pre-owned models rarely meet their actual value, unlike vintage which often exceed their original vales by some margin.


January/February 2016

Checking out some watch auctions over the next couple of weeks and whilst I tend usually to major on vintage models, there are some more modern watches that have certainly caught my eye.  Not least as the estimates are very reasonable and whilst possibly (probably) come and buy me prices, it is a fact that (and I said this before) the more modern pre-owned models tend not to sell too well.  So you would think a buyers market maybe – however as we all know auctions are a funny thing and you never know until the day.

However I’m hoping, because there are a few there that really do interest me as watches I want to wear.  It’s this “wearing my collection” bit that seems to have grown stronger over the years with not so much emphasis on those must have classics or well known or “names”, but more on watches I simply like and more importantly “like to wear”.

I also noticed a Ladies watch on offer and a rather unusual one at that, certainly here in the UK.

Vulcain Ladies Alarm in 18ct Rose Gold.

Vulcain Cricket Ladies Alarm in 18ct Rose Gold.

A Vulcain Cricket ladies Alarm watch in 18ct Rose Gold – has to be worth bidding on . . . . could even be tempted myself . . . .

But back to my own Posted watches here – ones I like to wear  – rather like the watch I posted on the 30th January 16 – the neat and refined Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent model.  It’s modern, has an everyday quartz movement (so nothing special) and is inexpensive – and yet it has that “something”, perhaps an elegance that makes me want to wear it.

Maybe I should entitle my collection as my “wearable” collection.  Actually I really don’t like the word plural “wearables” as it’s used to death by folks who wouldn’t know a decent watch if it bit them.  I used to think – how can anyone index a watch as a wearable?  They lump it in with a dress or a suit or a shirt or scarf – yuk!

But here I am actually contemplating a sleek, modern, elegant and refined watch model for my “Wearable” collection!  How bizarre is that!

Anyway IF I’m successful, I’ll no doubt Post the results here by the end of the month and you can see if you agree with me or not.

Note – Now I’ve never said no to wearing ladies watches IF they look right – some Ladies Rolex and Tags are very smart for example and for a small wrist are just the business – and that Vulcain Cricket Alarm above is a really neat watch – I would have to lose the pink strap though – then I’d wear it . . . . .   🙂


December 2015

Visiting various auctions again this month and whilst unsuccessful in one already I’m not downhearted.   These days I tend to regard the unsuccessful bid as a positive – I’ve saved money!  If you’re being forced into over bidding then it’s likely you would also not be happy with the purchase – so what will be – will be . . . . or that’s what I tell myself.

There is one coming up however I’m hoping will be for a Christmas gift idea, so it’s likely I might push the boat out a bit further than usual and try that little bit harder (to a point!).   It’s always a calculated decision when looking at pre-owned models and actual value is often influenced by many factors.

The watch that interests me is not even 20 years old, but it’s certainly no longer made.  It’s a top brand and quartz powered and condition wise is “good” technically and perhaps “fair” outer condition, but I’m happy with it.

However we shall see on the day.  The estimate is in my opinion a little low (perhaps a come and buy me) and bids, if buyers are there and know the model, could easily go higher by 40% over the top estimate.  If I choose to bid, then I’ll have to keep my wits about me, though as always I’m hoping there are few, if any, buyers out there, who are interested in this particular watch.

Will I be lucky?


November 2015

A nice honest 18k gold manual Longines pre-owned is a chance to own a classic watch at hopefully a reasonable price.

1940's 18k gold manual from Longines.

1940’s 18k gold manual from Longines.

This one on Auction and is dated around 1940 and has a Cal. 2687 manual wind movement within a neat 34 mm diameter case.  I particularly like and indeed prefer in most cases, the blued steel hands, as they give a decent contrast and good clarity against the aged patination of the champagne dial. Gold colored ones don’t have the same definition and tend to be more common for the period.  A subsidiary running seconds dial is @6 and the case has fluted lugs – always an attractive feature.
Condition is always important and this seems fair to good and in keeping with it’s general age.

The Estimate is between £500 – £700 which seems about right to me, though as always Auctions can be surprising affairs – it just needs 2 interested buyers – and always bear in mind the 25% Buyers Premium and 20% VAT.  Failing to take account of the add-ons can seriously turn a good deal into a not so good one – so as always – beware getting carried away by the occasion! 🙂

UPDATE: And sometimes you manage to get a bargain – this went for £400 INCLUSIVE of premium.  An interesting auction in that many of the middle to great watch models went for very reasonable sums.  It doesn’t always happen though!  And you never know till the day!


October 2015

Interesting watch item for sale at auction.  This is a Walker & Hall named 9ct Gold plated manual wind Gents dress model.  According to the Auction House the case Hallmarking indicates 1937?, possibly.

Walker & Hall Gents 9ct dress watch - 1937?

Walker & Hall Gents 9ct dress watch – 1937?

The back inscription shows a date of 1921 – 1951, so I would assume the movement fitted to an older case.  No data on the watch movement and the condition is commensurate with normal wear over a long period.  It is however a nice stylish watch and I particularly like the articulated strap mountings and a newish Hirsch leather strap does it no harm at all.

Walker & Hall are I understand Jewelers of the period and watch quality (movement) should be reasonable as they put their House name to it, but basically would have been a “generic” model.  ie. a model that the Jeweler would bring in from Switzerland for example, as an “Ebauche” and assemble/fit to a suitable and possibly, as in this case, an older quality case.  Indeed sometimes you can find exceptional movements which can surprise you, or more likely a workhorse A.S. Schild or similar of the period.  This is not indicated here however, so is a bit of an unknown.

Inscription to 1951 - makes date guess tricky.

Inscription dates 1921-1951 presumably to an older case?

It is however working well and that is in itself a plus and as I say, it is a neat looking watch and at 30 mm diameter is a good size for the period.

So what price estimate?  The Auction House indication is £90 to £120 which seems fair to me on visual looks alone, but remember 20% Buyers Premium pus VAT will apply.  If bidding via the Internet there is usually another 3% on top.

So you have to consider this when bidding on a virtual unknown, though it looks to be a rather nice and quite rare item for any collection.  Not rare as in expensive perhaps, but rather because it’s likely that few others have survived today.

A decent overhaul and clean and you’ve got yourself a rather smart period watch.

I will be interested to see what it sells for . . . .

UPDATE – Sold for hammer price of £65 – so bang on middle estimate plus 20% plus Vat of course and about right I would say and more or less as I anticipated.


July 2015

Owing to my injury I have been unable to go to any auctions over the last month, but did manage to check out a couple of watches I spotted online at Fellows.  The first was an OMEGA gent’s wrist watch with Stainless steel case.  With a signed manual wind calibre 267, nice two tone silvered dial, copper tone baton hour markers, subsidiary seconds dial @6.  Fitted to an unsigned brown leather strap with gold plated pin buckle. 36 mm diameter.

Omega two tone Auction find.

Omega two tone Auction find.

This was in pretty decent condition and a nice looking and elegant model in amongst the usual (and often too many) Omegas seen at auctions.  I liked it and interested to see how it fared against the auction estimate which was £400 to £600.
In the event the estimate on this occasion was spot on and the Hammer Price was right in the middle at £500.  A good day’s work  for the lucky buyer I’d say.

My second pick was this nice vintage MAPPIN – a gent’s wrist watch again with white metal case.  Numbered 16372.  An unsigned manual wind movement.  Silvered dial with Arabic numeral hour markers and fitted to an unsigned brown leather strap with white metal pin buckle.  26mm width.  In fair condition and though nothing special in model terms it was again a nice looking model from a good Retailer.  Sometimes just the “look” of a particular model can make a difference to the private collector, so this was one to watch carefully.

Mappin vintage - over bidded perhaps?

Mappin vintage – over bidded perhaps?

The Estimate here was £80 to £120 which was attractively low and for that I was interested myself.  Of course as these things go it was perhaps a “come and buy me” estimate and in the event the Hammer Price ended up too much for me personally at a whopping £420.  Add on the Buyer’s Premium and Vat and this was really just too high in my opinion.  A nice watch but . . . .

It’s always interesting to see how the estimates and the paid price relate.  Sometimes it is the rarity of the model, sometimes just the look of the watch (it looks right – an expression often used) or perhaps the Auction house have not spotted that the movement, perhaps unsigned, maybe indeed be a named maker after all, which can certainly bump the price up or not if the buyer is really lucky.


May 2015 – Update

In the event I did rather well in the Auctions and acquired a couple of good models at the end of the day.

Ulysse Nardin. stainless steel auto calendar. Model Michelangelo, 1990

Ulysse Nardin. stainless steel auto calendar.
Model Michelangelo, 1990

During the auction however I took note of this nice Ulysse Nardin Michelangelo model which went for a very reasonable price of just over £1000 including premium.

I personally think the buyer got themselves an absolute bargain . . . . .

Features the 19-jewel Cal.17-6 automatic (adjusted 5 positions) with cream dial, applied gilt baton hour markers and Arabic 12, black feuille hands, sub dials at 3, 6 and 9 for seconds, date plus a power reserve indication.  Neat brushed and polished rectangular case, exhibition back, reeded gilt onion crown, articulated pin lugs, brown alligator leather strap and signed gilt buckle.  All aspects signed and a lovely neat size at 30 mm.
As I say – a bargain . . . . . . and one of the nicest looking models I’ve seen for some time.


This month I’m already checking out a couple of Auctions and around a half dozen watch models which interest me.  Depending on how the bidding goes and how successful or otherwise I am on the first or second of these, will depend on what happens with the later lots.  I’m not stretching myself too far financially however and limiting my price range accordingly, so am looking for a decent result or I pass – it’s as simple as that.  On the first Auction there is a Buyers Premium of 25% which is a hell of a consideration if the Hammer price is perhaps at my high end limit, so you are looking at +30% plus including VAT on the Hammer price before you get your hands on the item.  Also if you think or believe that the final bid is nearing that fair market price, then you will quickly have to decide if it’s worth it, if pushed.  Often that decision has to be instant as I always want to avoid feeling that I’ve indeed paid too much (because if I do then I have paid too much) – unless of course the Watch model is one you must have even at a stretch.

At the first Auction both models I’m checking out are post war, so particular care has to be taken, and more so if you can see these being sold on in a couple of years for example.  Whereas the earlier models will probably keep their value, Post War is a different ball game and can quickly drop out of fashion or value to collectors, unless very specialist.  On the plus side this time, both models are “names” in the Watch Industry, so should have a good chance at holding value.

But will they sell at the price I’m willing to pay?

That’s the burning question and whilst I have my own ideas on these, you just never know!


March 2015

Here’s another Auction item, this time a Tissot Veloci T chronograph, which is pre-owned with some minor issues and is Estimated £90 – £140.

Tissot Veloci T chronograph T024417A Pre-owned

Tissot Veloci T chronograph T024417A Pre-owned

According to the Auction House condition wise it’s working perfectly (it’s quartz) but the case has scratches, marks and knocks and the bezel shows some medium to heavy marks especially near the 12 o’clock hour position.  The Crown is currently functioning OK but the surface has noticeable scratches and scuffs.  I can see even in the image that the right lower lug has steel surface damage.  But it IS pre-owned and it’s been obviously worn well.  However it is still a good looking piece.

But I have seen a pre-owned bracelet model T024.417.11.051.00 in A1 perfect condition at around £250 to the UK, and this one being on rubber, the £140 top estimate should not be too far off.   I would guesstimate myself that if a couple of competing bids were on the table, then £200 would maybe take it, bearing in mind the condition.  But it is a handsome watch and discontinued now, so can’t be got new.   It used to retail for £350 and sold for around £300 discounted and I confess I personally prefer it to the current model.

Dimensions are – 45.7 mm x 11.5 mm depth, so a typical Tissot Sports size and with a well proportioned layout, with scratch proof Sapphire crystal, 100m Water Resistance, Date and Chronograph, it’s a solid performer and if looking for a decent quality and Tissot is pretty good even second hand – it could be a decent buy – especially if the price is right.

And that’s the thing about auctions you never know . . . . .  and as ever – Watch this space . . . . . Update after the auction.

UPDATEWell after the auction the Hammer price = £150 or just over top estimate, so not far out, though had I been bidding I might have pushed it just a little further.  So a good result for the lucky buyer, though he will have to add the Buyers Premium and VAT (24%) so in total an outlay of £186.


February 2015

It’s auction time again and I’m checking on how a couple of watches fare – details to follow – added 1st February 2015 14:21hrs.
Sparse Auction House details on this model except Georg Jenson, the number on the reverse, says it’s a bracelet watch, but it is a leather strap and says it’s an unsigned Valjoux movement.

George Jenson Model 382 Chronograph with ETA 7751 automatic movement.

Georg Jenson Model 382 Chronograph with ETA 7751 automatic movement.

From what I can see this in fact is actually a Georg Jenson, Model 382, Chronograph & Moon Phase, gents model, designed by Bo Bonfils, which has the very excellent automatic ETA 7751, Valjoux 25 jewel movement visible via the exhibition glass back and in my opinion this particular model one of the best versions of the 382.

The auction estimate is between £580 – £780 and whilst maybe right for more standard versions, I personally think it could be higher.

The case is usually Stainless Steel and here the Auction House describe the bezel as yellow metal, which is interesting, as some I’ve seen can be 18ct Gold.
However without confirmation of course it may not in fact be Gold, so this can add yet another variable to price.

Also many of the Georg Jenson chronograph range are Quartz and can fetch relatively substantial prices anywhere up to £3000, so as with many Design House watches it can be difficult to estimate with any certainty.  In the past, often Designer led models were strong on design as expected but rather weak on watch quality, but over recent years this has changed dramatically and Designer models can be very good watches indeed in their own right and realize much more than you might initially think.

This particular model variation Bo Bonfils designed 382 Chronograph is probably my favorite model of their entire range and I’ll be very interested to see what the final hammer price is at auction.

My own feeling is this will likely make top estimate, maybe slightly more with this model, especially as condition seems pretty good and it’s a model that’s certainly not around today.

As alwaysDon’t forget (as if you could) added to the Hammer price will be the Buyers Premium plus a further addition of VAT.  And this is a serious consideration today.
So in this case assuming the watch sells for at least top estimate then the final cost to the Buyer is going to be in the region of
upwards of £960 (typically 24% inclusive VAT).

UPDATEWell I hit this one spot on as it sold for £1400 hammer price and with a couple of competing bidders, pushed the price to almost double the top estimate.  A fraction higher than I anticipated, so not quite an investment at this price, but a great watch for any collection.


The second model I’m checking is this 18ct Universal Geneve model.  Details entered 1st February at 14:50hrs.

Universal Geneve Golden Shadow, Cal.66 Micro-rotor

Universal Geneve Golden Shadow, Cal.66 Micro-rotor

No date mentioned by the Auction Hose, but as it has the Calibre 66 movement (hours and minutes only) I have to assume it is from 1966 – 1970 perhaps, though other variations of the the 66 appeared right up till 1990, but with alternative numbering (67, 68 etc).

Indeed it is a bit of a milestone movement as it featured an incredibly thin micro-rotor movement just 2.5mm thickness from a design by Gerald Genta (Polerouter) beating at 19,8000 vibrations/hour.  It also may feature Super shok Incabloc shock protection.  The model is known as the Golden Shadow and really popular in it’s day.

The model for auction has a few blemishes here and there, the plating has gone completely from the signed Crown and has some lifting of laminate here and there, so has been well worn, but certainly from the images, still looks pretty good and is working.

As expected from Universal Geneve, this is a high quality model and in reasonable condition, so could probably make it’s estimate of £400 – £600.  If in pristine condition of course it would easily make the top estimate and perhaps more, but perfect condition Universal models are today a bit of a rarity.

As alwaysDon’t forget (as if you could) added to the Hammer price will be the Buyers Premium plus a further addition of VAT.  And this is a serious consideration today.
So in this case assuming the watch sells for top estimate then the final cost to the Buyer is going to be in the region of
£744 (typically 24% inclusive VAT).

UPDATE – The estimate was absolutely right for this one, condition playing it’s part obviously and the Hammer price of £420 says it all really.  Had the condition been a little better without plating loss and more worryingly, the laminate lifting, I’m sure it would have made the top estimate easily.


December 2014

Been checking out an auction item recently – a Vacheron Constantin gents model.  Unfortunately as often the case in general auctions it was not possible to examine the item with the back removed, so a look at the movement and/or condition remains a mystery.  I did note however the back was scratched and had some damage as the result of previous interventions.  The case too in general did not inspire me with confidence as it appeared a little rough to me, or at least didn’t have the VC finish I expected.

It had a dated inscription on the back though the model I suspect is perhaps 20 years earlier circa 1960’s.  This in itself is not unusual but the dial did give me concern.  The Logo had no & ampersand, no accent in Genèva and a missing Swiss or Swiss Made reference at 6 o’clock, indicating to me the dial was refinished at some time and not very well as the printing is a little crude in my opinion.  The fact the dial had been treated so poorly and in a less than professional manner gave me some misgivings about what else had been messed around with.

So unable to see the inside I could only go on gut instinct as to the quality of this item.  Basically and after only a minute decided I wasn’t impressed and as was unable to view the movement and considering the Estimate price, I came to the only conclusion I felt happy with – and walked away.

And that’s the point about General Auctions when specialist items such as watches come up – it is imperative in the first instance to simply use your eyes and if you don’t like the look of it then forget it and walk away.  Now whilst a bit of knowledge about Brand and perhaps information about model changes and so on is very useful, unless you can delve into the interior of the watch and have some idea what you’re looking at, I advise you to use the old common sense approach.

If it doesn’t feel right – leave it well alone!  😉

There’s always another day and another watch . . . .

UPDATEWell in the event the watch was either not sold or it was withdrawn, as I don’t see it in the Auction results at all – perhaps my suspicions were correct after all!


November – December 2014

2 Watches this time for sale at two different Auctions coming soon.  Update – Late addition see No 3 below –

Number 1 –

It will be interesting to see what the Hammer price will be.

Chronoswiss Grand Lunar Chronograph Gents in Stainless Steel

Chronoswiss Grand Lunar Chronograph Gents in Stainless Steel

This is for a Chronoswiss Grand Lunar Chronograph Gents model CH7543L.  The description is relatively scant only stating the obvious, stainless steel cased and oddly gives the diameter of the dial as 30mm.  I’m assuming on this model the case diameter is around 41mm excluding the “onion” Crown.  The lug to lug should be around 52mm and the watch depth around 15mm.  As I recall the watch is an Automatic self winding movement, possibly the Caliber C.755 at 28,000 v/ph and a Power Reserve of 46hrs.  It also should have a 30m Water Resistance, a Sapphire Crystal over the dial and also a Sapphire crystal screwed back exhibition view.  The dimensions alone make this an attractive watch as it’s not too large

The Estimate is £1800 – £2500.

Note –

The estimate of £1800 – £2500, the upper end is perhaps higher than the usual estimate against retail, which being a pre-owned watch can often be as low as 1/7th retail.  Why it’s perhaps advisable to sell privately these days especially if the watch is in pristine condition and when considering Auction House Fees.
Don’t forget (as if you could) added to the Hammer price will be the Buyers Premium plus a further addition of VAT.
So in this case assuming the watch sells for top estimate then the final buyer cost is going to be in the region of £3000. 

The Seller of the watch will incur a Seller’s Fee on the Hammer price which in this case = £375 plus a further Loss and Warranty Fee = another £37 – so £412.   So he gets £2000 for the sale of his watch.
The Auction House will make a profit from both Seller and Buyer amounting in this case to around £800 – or 32% of the Hammer Price, which is pretty good going.
It certainly makes you realize that Auction Houses are doing pretty well these days!

I would assume here that the lower estimate is also the Reserve, below which the watch will not be sold (unless a discretionary % applies) though personally if I was the seller I wouldn’t accept a figure below £2000 and would set this as a fixed Reserve.
But maybe that’s the collector in me, as I see the true value of the piece, rather than those speculative bid values which are often made by resellers bidding to make additional profit down the line.

Anyway it will be interesting to see how this model pans out.  Will it meet either estimate considering the additional Fees charged by the Auction House?  You also have to consider that if you have £3000 or so to spend on a pre-owned watch, a new Chronoswiss Grand Lunar in stainless steel can be bought for possibly £4700.
Mind you I’d certainly hesitate these days at the idea of spending £3000 on a watch where it’s cost value is nearer £2000 – £2500 and which will decrease as time goes by.  I mean it’s and OK watch but hardly a collectible model and not a masterpiece by Monet – is it?

Please note that the opinions expressed here are purely personal and based only on my understanding of the Lot Auction information.  I have assumed certain data on the watch model from Chronoswiss and any comments I have are entirely my own.  So there!  Of course these days it’s not the item that’s actually of value at all – it’s the provenance.  But that’s another story for another soapbox and another time . . . . 😉

UPDATE – Well looks like folks thought as I did and the Hammer Price didn’t reach the lower estimate – Sold for £1700.


Number 2 –

This is for the FP Journe “Octa Calendrier model which I anticipate will generate quite an interest amongst collectors.  What will this manage at Auction?

This is the data given from the Auction web site –

“Octa Calendrier, Case No.120-Q, Circa 2006
Jewelled Cal.1300 automatic movement with 22ct gold rotor, straight line lever escapement, mono-metallic 4-arm balance with 4 timing weights adjusted to 5 positions, self-compensating free-sprung flat balance spring, precision chronometer, gilt finish dial, eccentric engine turned white dial with Arabic numerals and inner minute divisions, blued steel hands, aperture for day and month, subsidiary dial for running small seconds, retrograde date, retrograde sector for date, polished round case with exhibition back secured by 6 screws, fitted brown leather strap with rose gold F.P. Journe buckle, case, dial and movement signed

J P Journe auction item

F P Journe auction item

With an Estimate of £16000 – £18000 it will be interesting indeed to see how this fares.  This model is circa 2006 and the last price I saw for this retail in 2007 was around £16000.  So if it reaches top estimate or maybe higher as I suspect, remember the additional Buyer Fees and VAT etc. will increase the final figure considerably.

Will I be bidding?

Well I’ll certainly be looking at the auction, that’s for sure!

UPDATESold for £13,000 – so a fair result.  One of these independent makers that either pique the buyer’s interest or not depending perhaps on the complications.  I thought this might go for more as they rarely come up for auction and even buying new you can be too late, so this buyer got him or herself a good deal in my opinion.  Well done!


Number 3

Just had to add this Auction item which will be auctioned at a General Auction (with Watches section) soon.  I’ll leave you to make your own judgement on this one.
Listed as a Jaeger-leCoultre wristwatch with black dial and two sub-dials on a brown leather strap.  And that’s it.

Listed as Jaeger Le Coultre, black dial Gents.

Listed as Jaeger-leCoultre, black dial Gents.

I’ll only comment that it’s VERY different from what I was expecting.

My visual take on it’s features and certain aspects are  –

The logo is printed as “Jaeger-leCoultre WATCHES Co  which is very odd to say the least and printed at an angle.  The outer minute index has seconds divisions incorporated on the left half of the index and not the right.  The large central hand over-reaches the index limit.  The 2 x sub-dials of this “regulator” style model have odd hand styles, look clumsy and the arrow mark @30 on the lower dial points somewhere left of center and certainly not vertical nor indeed towards the dial center.  Perhaps there is acute glass distortion on this watch or my glasses need changing . . . I say no more . . .

It has an Estimate of £300 to £500.

UPDATE – Surprise, surprise – it was withdrawn.  I haven’t seen such an awful non-genuine effort for a long time – even the replica merchants would have disowned that one!


October 2014

Picked out a watch which is on auction soon that caught my eye.  This is a Piaget 18ct Gold Gents dress model and auction listed and dated to circa 1990.

Piaget 18ct Dress model with Cal.9P2 manual wind movement

Piaget 18ct Dress model with Cal.9P2 manual wind movement

However as it has the 18 jewel Cal. 9P2 manual wind movement adjusted for temperature and 5 positions, it could just predate 1990 as Piaget introduced their new movement Calibres 430P and 500P in 1990.  As I understand it these new movements replaced the legendary ultra-thin Cal. P9 series which first appeared in 1957.  It was only 2.1mm thick with a Power Reserve of around 36 hours, a frequency of 19,800 a/H beat and 2.8Hz.

Piaget 9P2 movement Ultra-Thin

Piaget 9P2 movement Ultra-Thin

The Company Piaget since 1874 has produced pocket watches of great quality and the Brand was fully registered in 1943.  In 1957 became synonymous with the ground breaking ultra thin movement, a revolution in watch making.  Renowned for the slim elegance and quality of high value watch models, this model is perhaps one of the last with the 9P2 movement and looks a really nice example in a style that’s just about gone today.

Note – I have assumed the movement to be similar to the stock shot (courtesy Piaget for PuristsPro) of the Cal. 9P2 shown here.

As often the case with the classic Swiss watchmakers dress styles, this one is a very neat 30mm diameter and can today be regarded ideal for both sexes.  White dial with black Roman numerals, polished baton hands and a polished round case with a snap on back.  It also has a cabochon crown, curl down lugs and fitted to a Piaget leather strap with 18ct signed buckle.  It also comes with a fitted Piaget box and spare Piaget strap.  The movement and the dial are signed and has an auction estimate of between £800 and £1000.

A watch condition report is available (and advisable) from the Auction site.

Also be aware of the Buyers Premium of 25% plus 20% VAT on any successful bid!

Should be interesting to see what the hammer price ends up at.


UPDATEThe hammer price for the Piaget was £1500, so above estimate as I expected, though in my opinion still a very good purchase indeed.  Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to bid.  Isn’t that always the case!!


April 24th Auction

Frederique Constant Automatic “Clear Vision” Gents watch is the model featured today at Auction.  Estimated at £80 to £120 this could be a great deal.

Frederique Constant Automatic "Clear Vision" Gents watch

Frederique Constant Automatic “Clear Vision” Gents watch

Rose gold plated case with exhibition case back, fitted to an authentic black leather strap with pin buckle. 42mm diameter, box and papers.

This model features Sapphire crystal glass, black background dial with gold markers and luminous dot markers on the hours.   Now what was NOT noted on the description by the Auction House was the fact that the hour and minute hands were using luminous Swiss H3 Tritium light source capsules for absolute night vision (if you look closely, the dial is marked at the foot T25 or 25 millicures of gas).

And this fact alone lifts this from an already high quality but conventional dress watch to another level – it’s very rare to see an Automatic (not quartz) dress watch with “light Source” luminosity used, so for me this was a rather desirable watch.

Center sweep seconds hand and date window @3, this dark faced model apparently has only slight marks and light scratches consistent with a pre-owned model showing low to average wear.  The automatic signed movement is working and looks in very good condition via the exhibition glass on the watch back.

Water Resistance is marked as 10ATM or 100m.

Strap and buckle is in good condition and this sale includes box, instruction booklet and blank certificate of authenticity.

So definitely a dress watch with a difference and for me this is a very attractive pre-owned high quality model.  The technical features coupled with the low estimate is certainly worth a bid or two in my opinion.

Result –

Well you might have guessed that others also thought this was a good buy and the bidding was very fast, increasing up to a hammer price of £300, over twice the top estimate and still worth it in my opinion for a very stylish quality watch.
Was it me that got it? – well no.   Whilst very tempted the bidding increased just enough to make me hesitate and finally say no.   The problem is that I am about to purchase an ABC watch and will probably have to sell a few of my existing models to finance it anyway – so common sense prevailed . . . . 😉


April 2014 –

Auction 9th April

Omega De Ville 9ct Gold Date Watch.

1970's 9ct Omega De Ville Cushion case with 9ct bracelet

1970’s 9ct Omega De Ville Cushion case with 9ct bracelet

Dated c 1970’s.  Cushion case with baton numerals and gold hands, date aperture @3 o’clock.  Condition not given but the Auction estimate is £1000-£1500 which seems overly high in my opinion.  (The above is all the information given by the Auction house web site).

Without a proper condition report it’s difficult to make an informed decision as to the value.   I note from the image that the dial is discolored at the edges, which may just be dirt or oxidization.  If the latter then the movement could be similarly compromised so an inspection is merited.   The crown too doesn’t look quite right to me, so further investigation is essential.  In fact on the basis of what I see here the estimate seems excessive in my opinion.

This is where bidding on the internet is always a risk affair – you really don’t know the actual condition of an item such as this without seeing it in your hand.   And simple basic facts are often not provided – Is it mechanical or quartz for example?   I’m definitely of the opinion when selling watches at auction, there should really be sufficient detail provided as to making it more transparent to the potential buyer.   A simple table for example with headings such as –

Gender Gents
Condition Pre-Owned
Brand Omega
Age 1970’s
Case 9ct Gold
Case Size
Dial White, Gold Batons
Items Included
Case Condition
Bracelet Condition
Dial Condition
Glass Condition
Movement Condition

Information such as the above would be ideal and most can be ascertained by looking at the watch and if completed as a matter of course would make it much easier for the buyer to make an informed decision.
This particular item is a perfect example of too little information.  I’ll be interested to see how it fares at auction.

UPDATE – It appears that this item was unsold – I think it reached £900 and below the estimate, so my gut feeling of being overvalued was perhaps justified.


GENTLEMAN’S NINE CARAT GOLD OMEGA DE VILLE AUTOMATIC WRIST WATCH c.1970s, in a cushion shaped case, the dial with baton numerals and a date counter, on a nine carat gold Omega bracelet strap – See more at:

Auction – 7th April.

This excellent Hamilton Military issue Chronograph.

Hamilton Military with British arrow marks.

Hamilton Military with British arrow marks.

Signed manual movement, black dial with Arabic numerals, subsidiary recorder dials at 3 and 9.  Stainless steel case fitted to a non-original green NATO strap.  38mm diameter case.

Condition? = Movement currently working as is the chronograph.   Movement has scratches and some marks and the dial has loss to the black at the edge between 12and 1 and at 9.   Discoloration on numerals and markers and the hands may have been repainted at some time.  Some luminous loss on hands, glass marked and scratched, and although the case may have been re polished at some time, there are light scratches and marks plus some dints.

My personal view –

In my opinion this is still a very handsome watch indeed and nice to see the British marks – It has the British broad arrow or Pheon mark denoting British Government property and numbered 0552/924-3306 1771/72.   This model I surmise is circa 1972 numbered as shown, was issued to the Royal Navy (0552) and not in unreasonable condition after some 40 odd years.
I also note that there is a T under the brand name indicating that Tritium lume was used for the hands and markers.  Specified I expect to DEF-STAN 66-4 (Part 2) second issue (April 1970) which allowed the watch to have 2 pushers to control the chronograph functions.  The top one controls start and stop and the lower to reset.

Note that the case is asymmetric in shape, where the right side is thicker than the left to give added protection to the crown.   The movement type is not mentioned, though I suspect it could possibly be a Valjoux 7733 (18000bph), which was used extensively and had a good track record.

Of the 4 Brands supplying the British military at that time, the Hamilton and CWC are certainly the most common, but with an auction estimate of £260 – £360 for a model in fair condition, is a very attractive “buy me” price and worth a punt I would say . .

UPDATE – Again it looks as if I was right, in that this was a good price – it went for £480 which is about right I’d say.


April 2014

Auction 7th April.

Vintage Rolex Oyster 1927

Vintage Rolex Oyster 1927

A ROLEX – a gentleman`s Oyster wrist watch.  Import hallmark for Glasgow 1927.  Signed manual wind Extra Prima movement.  White dial with hourly applied Arabic numerals.  18ct gold case fitted to a non-original black leather strap with a pin buckle. 31mm.

According to the Auctioneer this watch is currently functioning.  The dial is a little discolored with a few marks.  Some of the lettering is worn and missing.  The hands are tarnished and the glass is scratched with shallow and medium scratches.

Rolex detail and crown

Rolex detail and crown

Bezel is a little scratched and the case and lugs have some small dints in places.  The strap has some wear and is creased, the pin buckle is scratched and it’s recommended the watch is examined via back removal to check and/or reinstate any quoted water resistance function.

So pretty much the usual condition for a watch of this vintage and I note the auction estimate is between £900 and £1400 – so with a £500 spread they’re probably expecting a pretty reasonable interest in this one.   It is a rather attractive model and has a clean back with no dedication engraving, so a gift to someone could be a possibility.

UPDATE – I said this would attract good interest and indeed it did as it sold for £1900 – not bad for a watch in such good condition.


Note – Both latter models are for sale at Fellow UK Auctions.

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