Watch what you're buy­ing

The Courier-Mail - Weekend Shopper - - News - - KYLIE McIN­TOSH

COL­LEC­TORS will find a plethora of watches, both new and old, in the pages of

Many Gen­er­a­tion X’ers col­lect watches but can a novice tell if they’re pay­ing too much for a used, replica, or an­tique watch?

Watch dealer Ron Kep­pel, from Bay­side An­tiques and Col­lecta­bles in Cleve­land, has more than 12 years ex­pe­ri­ence in this area.

“In Aus­tralia, as in Eng­land, an an­tique watch is 100 years old. Most of Aus­tralia’s an­tique watches are from Europe. Most of them en­tered our mar­ket via the peo­ple who im­mi­grated here,” Ron said.

“In fact, you are more likely to find an­tique watches here than in Europe be­cause most of theirs have been out­sourced. Typ­i­cally, an­tique watches are fob and mil­i­tary watches.

“Ebay has also played a big part in this; with peo­ple sourc­ing watches from the UK. They have Swiss Move­ments but are made in Eng­land.”

Ron says fob watches are pre­dom­i­nantly for se­ri­ous col­lec­tors as they aren’t some­thing many peo­ple want to wear.

“You don’t want to go scratch­ing around in your pock­ets for your fob. They were meant to wear with vests. In fact, this is why wrist watches were in­vented. Peo­ple who col­lect wrist watches can wear them while they ac­crue in value.”

There are many types of watches that do the sec­ond­hand rounds. These in­clude dress Rolex, both men’s and women’s, IWC (Amer­i­can brand), Seiko and Omegas.

Ron says that telling the dif­fer­ence be­tween watch copies and the real thing re­quires lis­ten­ing to the sec­ond hand.

“Lis­ten to the sec­ond hand and see if it’s tick­ing. If so it’s bat­tery-pow­ered. An­tiques were me­chan­i­cally-pow­ered not bat­tery pow­ered," he said.

“If you are buy­ing a replica Rolex just re­mem­ber that they are sold in Singapore for $35 so you shouldn’t be pay­ing much more than this.”

Ron says buy­ing watches is a mat­ter of taste and choice. But re­minds shop­pers it’s a bit like buy­ing a qual­ity car.

“As long as they are qual­ity they ac­crue in value. It’s like buy­ing a BMW over a Holden be­cause you know that the ex­pen­sive, qual­ity prod­uct will main­tain its value a lot longer than the in­ex­pen­sive brand.

“You can pay $6,000 for a nice Seiko, Rolex or Omega and it’s some­thing you can pass down to your chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. It will last for years and years.”

Un­for­tu­nately for an­tique watch col­lec­tors the ris­ing price of gold has seen many peo­ple melt down old jew­ellery for scrap gold.

“18 and 9 carat gold watches are be­ing melted down into scrap gold. Ten years ago gold was about $350/ oz but to­day it’s more than $1200/ oz,” Ron said.

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