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Old 6 June 2014, 01:38 AM   #1
psv
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RIP vintage Rolex hobby?

I've been discussing this with a few fellow watch enthusiasts, it seems to me that prices of the "desirable" vintage Rolex pieces (Daytona, Sea-Dwellers, Explorer, Submariners, GMT, Milgauss etc) have now firmly moved into a territory where they are no longer available for regular hobby collectors.

I know some people will say it is just market pricing, but ever since a bunch of taste makers and trend-setters got into vintage Rolex the last couple of years, and these people generated a demand from the bored ultra-rich class, the prices have left this atmosphere. Sadly, a great many of these buyers don't really care about the industry or history, it has just become a cool thing to have, or yet another investment vehicle, very few watches get worn and enjoyed.

Market pricing seems to be controlled by a surprisingly few number of people. Talented and skillful operators like Andrew Shear brings top-quality pieces to market, but also do so by offering watches at premium prices, often over 25% higher than what one would expect. Who can blame them, because their is a segment of buyers that doesn't really care if they pay e.g. $11,000 or $16,000 for a minty 1665, so why not maximize profit? The downside for the community is that it creates comps and drive the inflation of prices into outer space.

So rest in piece vintage Rolex collecting. I enjoyed the times when I was offered 1655's for $400; the years a minty Sub was $2-3K tops, or even quite recently when an unpolished 16660 was less than $6,000. I guess it is time to start learning about and collecting certain Omegas, Heurers and Breitlings instead. The race has certainly already begun there too but at least one has a chance of getting a nice piece for under $5,000.

Thoughts/comments?
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Old 6 June 2014, 01:47 AM   #2
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I smell a bubble!

Getting into Omegas and Heuers seem like a good hedge. Or fine wine.

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Old 6 June 2014, 01:47 AM   #3
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I completely agree.

I used to have a DRSD before the big price shift and countless Subs, GMTs etc. it got to the point where it wasn't worth it to have a watch worth that much strapped to my wrist daily. At least not to me.

I've shifted away from the sport models and into the AK, Date, DJs where reasonable prices can still be seen. Omega offers some good bargains still but they're climbing too. I recently purchased an unmolested SM30, serviced, and a period bracelet. Still reasonable but quite a bit more than I'd have paid 3 years ago
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Old 6 June 2014, 01:48 AM   #4
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I smell a bubble!

Getting into Omegas and Heuers seem like a good hedge. Or fine wine.

I hope it is a bubble.

The think that will kill it once and for all, is the fact parts are becoming more scarce every day.
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Old 6 June 2014, 01:53 AM   #5
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I agree with your assessment and must say that the fad of wearing vintage (and NATO's for that matter) has kind of put me off. I remember when I would spot a person wearing a Vintage Rolex and they were either one of two people:

1) a collector or enthusiast that I could enjoy talking watches with (or)

2) an older person who bought the watch decades ago and just see's it as his/her timepiece

NOW you see vintage Rolex (and vintage watches in general) on so many different people that are following the trend it has tainted my view of my once loved hobby. Also, as you stated the prices have followed the demand and risen to a point where average people (myself included) are being pushed out of the market.

I am just glad that I have my collection at a point where I am very happy and no longer feel the "need" to keep buying pieces. There are always going to be vintage watches I "desire" but I am thankful to have owned and currently one pieces that have fulfilled my cravings.

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Old 6 June 2014, 03:42 AM   #6
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It happens in every hobby that can be turned into a business. I saw it happen in my other hobby, WWII militaria collecting, few celebrities getting involved, a bit of publicity then speculators moved in buying scarce items, rising the prices and turn those items into "rare"... no interest for History whatsoever... just flipping stuff over to make a profit; Internet can be a valuable instrument to the committed collector but also helps bridging the gaps making the speculators job easier and mainstream by amplifying the offering to a wider odience. I guess Rolex being a luxury item first and a collectible for some had its days numbered as a niche hobby....
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Old 6 June 2014, 03:48 AM   #7
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I do fully agree with this topic, here in uk the vintage market is also overtaken the new prices making it expensive to collect and have a hobby making the ultimate watch some times double the new price . Also there seems to be this consensus of a vintage watch being in near mint condition after 30-40 years old . After a good moan I'm still looking
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Old 6 June 2014, 03:52 AM   #8
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It is truly a sad turn of events for genuine hobbyists that many of the more desirable rare pieces have become quite difficult to afford.
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Old 6 June 2014, 03:56 AM   #9
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To say about Omega: They are shutting parts distribution for the independents, that will effect on the overhaul costs and in that way rises the overall prices - one would think. The demand might also die or suffer at least.
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Old 6 June 2014, 03:57 AM   #10
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The same thing happend to vintage Porsches not so long ago.

When I left the military in 1975, I drove by a used car lot in Southern California. There sat a lovely 356 Speedster, black on black, nicely restored.

$5500 cash would have purchased her....sadly it is now but a fond memory....

And yes, the good quality vintage submariner has gone the same route. Some of it is inflation, but the other is spurned on by people with more money than us and need a place to park it...

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Old 6 June 2014, 04:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBaker3 View Post
The same thing happend to vintage Porsches not so long ago.

When I left the military in 1975, I drove by a used car lot in Southern California. There sat a lovely 356 Speedster, black on black, nicely restored.

$5500 cash would have purchased her....sadly it is now but a fond memory....

And yes, the good quality vintage submariner has gone the same route. Some of it is inflation, but the other is spurned on by people with more money than us and need a place to park it...

Very right. You could have also bought a 1973 911 rs for around $10,000, that's car's about 250k today.
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Old 6 June 2014, 04:09 AM   #12
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I agree with most of the sentiments here, unfortunately. As someone who's not very wealthy, I can't even think about touching anything gilt or with red letters on the dial. I think my go-forward strategy will be to focus on certain movements. I wouldn't mind chasing V72s or 321s, etc. There is still value to be found with off-brands or off-references carrying the same movements as venerable pieces like Daytonas and Speedys.
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Old 6 June 2014, 04:24 AM   #13
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Checked out a 1966 swb for a friend a few days ago

275,000.00

Even the 912 are going up in price . . . month after month

The Porsche nobody wanted . . .

The Datsun 240Z . . .

Same thing

Amazing

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Old 6 June 2014, 04:29 AM   #14
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Great thread Patrick. Will be nice to follow this one.
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Old 6 June 2014, 04:36 AM   #15
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IMHO I think there is no bubble.
The Demand from Asia etc. is so huge... it's never gona be cheaper...maybe some dents but in general up up up....
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Old 6 June 2014, 04:45 AM   #16
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I agree that I don't believe there is a bubble. It is like real-estate prices in NYC upper east-side, or vintage Porsches, etc. There might be some small corrections during economic downturns but the prices are just going to keep on going up. Which is a double kill-joy because it was one thing to wear that fun vintage watch you got for $3,000 on a daily basis, but when vintage piece is worth $25K, $50K or over $100K??? It will stay locked away in a vault.
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Old 6 June 2014, 04:48 AM   #17
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RIP vintage Rolex hobby?

I purchased most of what I have after the crash in 08/09. It might take something like that to correct the market again. Don't really want to see that happen but I don't really like buying at inflated prices either. There will probably be more time between purchases as I don't really like many modern watches.


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Old 6 June 2014, 05:30 AM   #18
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I really don't see the "doom and gloom" regarding vintage Rolex. If you go back just 10 years and look at the prices for the new watches and then fast forward to today, they've doubled in price. Respectively, vintage has appreciated also. Look around, prices today have escalated substantially from five to ten years ago - no matter what you collect or purchase.

One thing that I have noticed with the vintage Rolex watches is that the nice examples offered for sale have dried up substantially the past year or two. When this occurs, supply and demand dictates prices.
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Old 6 June 2014, 05:47 AM   #19
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Agree the prices are going up. The big money is in the game, maybe not as collectors but as investors or someone who wants to be seen with a pricey, rare or hard to get watch.

There are definitely a handful of sellers around the world and on watch forums just like this who have made buying/marking up/selling watches their job or primary source of income. The sellers who are marking things up outrageously and supply/demand are all responsible for this Vintage Rolex situation.
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Old 6 June 2014, 05:51 AM   #20
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Very right. You could have also bought a 1973 911 rs for around $10,000, that's car's about 250k today.
I think you may have been asleep for the past 7 years or so. A no stories touring car (that's right, a road version) is now pushing $750,000. Lightweight will run way over $1M.

As an aside, this months Sports Car Market has a detailed feature about the current state of the market that contributors here might find interesting. The complaints made are common to every other collecting field, but so it shall be, I believe. This market has matured.

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Old 6 June 2014, 06:14 AM   #21
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Better find my "new" RED 1680 asap...
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Old 6 June 2014, 06:58 AM   #22
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I for one don't think I'll ever catch up to current vintage price.
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Old 6 June 2014, 07:06 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springer View Post
One thing that I have noticed with the vintage Rolex watches is that the nice examples offered for sale have dried up substantially the past year or two. When this occurs, supply and demand dictates prices.
+1

Amazingly, the vintage Rolex market may be the ONLY market out there that ISN'T manipulated by the boys on Wall Street...

Every other headline lately has been about LIBOR, FX, gold, silver, equitities and the relentless High Frequency Trading....

I guess it is refreshing to see something behave on the free market ideas of "supply and demand".....

You go Rolex!

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Old 6 June 2014, 07:20 AM   #24
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I agree ....

I paid list , $6100 , for a 116520 Daytona from an AD in 2001 , I think it was ...........it's now $12K list ....... Vintage prices follow new prices....

-bk



Quote:
Originally Posted by springer View Post
I really don't see the "doom and gloom" regarding vintage Rolex. If you go back just 10 years and look at the prices for the new watches and then fast forward to today, they've doubled in price. Respectively, vintage has appreciated also. Look around, prices today have escalated substantially from five to ten years ago - no matter what you collect or purchase.

One thing that I have noticed with the vintage Rolex watches is that the nice examples offered for sale have dried up substantially the past year or two. When this occurs, supply and demand dictates prices.
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Old 6 June 2014, 07:40 AM   #25
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+1

Amazingly, the vintage Rolex market may be the ONLY market out there that ISN'T manipulated by the boys on Wall Street...

Every other headline lately has been about LIBOR, FX, gold, silver, equitities and the relentless High Frequency Trading....

I guess it is refreshing to see something behave on the free market ideas of "supply and demand".....

You go Rolex!

Almost John, a large part of new money/buyers are if not trust fund babies but bankers so they are certainly influencing the demand, ergo the prices.

Hence, I'm not crying foul or do away with free markets, I'm simply making the observation that prices of vintage Rolex have now gone beyond the levels of normal hobbyist to be able to get any quality pieces.
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Old 6 June 2014, 07:43 AM   #26
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I have not been into vintage long enough to make any informed comment, but I would agree that some of the prices are frankly ludicrous! Whilst my preference is still vintage, and whilst I am still in the fortunate position of being able to afford them, I just can't go with some of these prices. My only current model is the new SDc, so the compromise or middle ground for me is the SD 16600 or GMT 16710.......best of both worlds.....the new vintage?
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Old 6 June 2014, 07:47 AM   #27
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wish my wages had doubled in the last ten years,,,, ah well
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Old 6 June 2014, 07:47 AM   #28
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Almost John, a large part of new money/buyers are if not trust fund babies but bankers so they are certainly influencing the demand, ergo the prices.
RATS !

We just can't seem to catch a break from those criminals in 3 piece suits!

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Old 6 June 2014, 08:12 AM   #29
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Old 6 June 2014, 08:29 AM   #30
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What is it that you people expect…???

The price of EVERYTHING has gone up…

Do you honestly expect the price of a fine vintage watch (Be it Rolex or otherwise) to come down over time…???

One of the reasons that vintage Rolex watches have gone up in price is because they are so sought after…

If you can't afford to play in the game (A game which I myself can no longer compete…I bought my first DRSD for $4000.) then that's just to bad…

It's what we call: "The way of the world…!!!"…
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