Watch what you're buying
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.