The watch market this year has brought some realizations to this industry and the trends we observed in 2005 continued in 2006. The key word again was "condition." Watches in the high end market (Patek Philippe, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin) brought very strong prices when offered on what is now becoming a truly world wide marketplace. High end vintage wristwatches are in demand and becoming hard to find. Better vintage wristwatches are rarely being offered for sale. Since they are becoming scarce, this will bring watch prices to an all time high. Even average vintage watches in mint condition are becoming hard to find. If a rarity was offered and it was in exceptional, all original, mint condition the price realized was not just strong, but absolutely astonishing.
Perpetual, fine repeaters, and high grad pockets were also in record high demand and prices are on an aggressive upward trend for prime examples. We noticed a strong upward surge for early 17th century fusee's and especially fusee's from 1500's - 1680's.
In 2005, we state that there were bargains in the gold pocket watch sector. Gold traded for 430/oz. in August 2005, but shot up to 725/oz. in May 2006. Gold is now trending in the mid 600 range and gold pocket watches and many gold bracelet wrist watches have increased in price, simply to stay above the bullion value they contain. It will be interesting to see how this gold market plays out. If you own gold pocket watches now, consider yourself lucky.
Enamels, complicated pocket watches and ultra-rare early American watches are very hard to find. The demand is out there but the long established collectors are simply not selling. These watches are hoarded away from the public in private collections. American key winds are the hidden value of all of these watches as they are largely being ignored by collector and are available on the market and mint examples of any watch will become recognized and demand a higher price. Collectors should start putting these watches away.
The railroad watch market showed steadiness in pricing but overall activity was down. We suspect this trend is closely tied to the economic worries (gas prices, real estate cool down, etc.) we all dealt with last year.
Lastly, the early verge watches are becoming recognized for their beauty and labor that it took to make these pieces. At auction, these watches ave jumped in price and collectability. The public is seeing the investment potential in watches and this is why the wristwatch market has grown to the level it is at and pocket watches are right on their tail. If you have not started a watch collection and were thinking about doing so, now would be the time. There are still high quality watches available at good prices. If you don't starts soon, the growth of these markets will make it much more expensive to start at a later date. Remember the key word: condition, condition, condition!