There is not doubt about it; the best buyers are educated ones! They know what they buy and when to buy it. When you become an educated buyer you will be amazed how many opportunities will unfold, because an educated buyer knows what price to pay for what watch. Of course you don’t become an educated buyer overnight. You really have to study your subject and that is why most collectors also specialize in either a particular brand, or a distinct type of watch.
The great thing about becoming an educated buyer is the road toward it. Books, catalogs, magazines and blogs like Longitude can all help you to understand the past, present and future of your favorite watch brands and/or types. If you are lucky there might even be a specialized website that can give you in depth information like Troisanneaux by Cartier-expert Geo Cramer, who we not only recently interviewed but who also was kind enough to share us a few insights on collecting Cartier’s earlier this year. In general there can be a wealth of information found online. Sometimes on benchmark websites like Rolex Passion Report, but also don’t forget that you can virtually mingle with the experts on brand forum’s like for example the official IWC-forum, moderated by Michael Friedberg. The people on these forums usually are very knowledgeable and love to share their knowledge with passion.
When it comes to prices Christie’s very own website can provide you with what certain watches did at auction, not only from recent auctions but also from a decade ago. Even when a watch is auctioned off you can still see the achieved price, simply by searching in the past lots box. This can even give you an indication in which way prices are fluctuating, although you have to take into account factors such as condition and year of sale.
All these factors will make you a more educated buyer, so you can, for example, determine what a fair price would be for this steel/gold Rolex DateJust ref. 1630 that will be auctioned at Christie’s Geneva on November 14th. Although a less experienced buyer might think that this watch is a Ref.17013 OysterQuartz, it is actually a more rare version that uses the same case and bracelet but is powered by automatic Rolex caliber 1570. So it pays to study your subject.
This is especially the case when a watch is offered at “no reserve”. These watches will be sold no matter what the highest bid will be. The watches that are offered with “no reserve” are not necessarily the less expensive ones or less interesting but can actually vary from a 2009 Omega PloProf to a charming 1932 Vacheron Constantin pocket watch. Of course you are probably not the only one that will be bidding on these watches , but an educated buyer knows when it stops being a bargain. So no matter what you want to buy, it pays to do your homework!