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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last few years have seem explosive growth in the value of high demand Rolex models - vintage Daytonas, Red Subs, DR Sea-Dwellers, Comex Subs and Dwellers.....all have seen huge increases in thier selling prices.

What do you see happening in 2008? Will the "bubble" burst for the vintage market in the short or long term?
 

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Milgaus and the Thunderbird

The Submariners from the 1950s, '60s, and early '70s are the "vintage" pieces I watch the most; and I'd certainly like to see the prices on those pieces stabilize as a buyer (after which, of course, they can rise!).

But my more informed answer to your question is that your best indicator would be to start w/ some baselines (probably by distinct model introduction), then plot that year-by-year. Natural growth curves will appear evident from that, and large deviations from those natural curves will tend to predict "bubbles," as we've seen in technology and housing.

Additionally, for what it's worth, I've also started to see supply / trading slow up over the last six months in the Bond vintages (primarily Rolex and Seiko).

There's also been an interesting OEM answer to the "retro" (read, "vintage") interest, as we've seen in automotive via the new Thunderbird, Mustang, et cetera. I wonder how those products have answered an underlying demand, eg, to actually drive the vehicles, as opposed to simply owning them covered in the garage. Outside of the WIS, I suspect that someone fancying the classic Sub would be more inclined toward the 14060M over the 5513 to wear. Anyone but an expert buyer is also more likely to actually end up w/ an authentic Rolex, through official channels, this way, than going vintage.

(Disclaimer: The 5513 is my current grail, so my intent is not to offend here.)

W/ the revival of the Rolex Milgaus, I have to wonder if Rolex is not showing another indication of answering vintage interest w/ a competitive alternative, a'la my Ford motorcar examples above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There's also been an interesting OEM answer to the "retro" (read, "vintage") interest, as we've seen in automotive via the new Thunderbird, Mustang, et cetera. I wonder how those products have answered an underlying demand, eg, to actually drive the vehicles, as opposed to simply owning them covered in the garage. Outside of the WIS, I suspect that someone fancying the classic Sub would be more inclined toward the 14060M over the 5513 to wear. Anyone but an expert buyer is also more likely to actually end up w/ an authentic Rolex, through official channels, this way, than going vintage.

(Disclaimer: The 5513 is my current grail, so my intent is not to offend here.)

W/ the revival of the Rolex Milgaus, I have to wonder if Rolex is not showing another indication of answering vintage interest w/ a competitive alternative, a'la my Ford motorcar examples above.
This is an excellent question and one I've considered myself. Is the Milgaus Rolex's first test/forary into making watches which celebrate past incarnations? Could a re-introduced Red Submariner or Double Red Sea-Dweller be far behind? If so, what effect, if any, would watches like these have on the current vintage market?
 

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John, that's the $64,000 dollar question and one that I'm not sure there's a simple answer for.

I doubt many saw the explosion in select vintage pricing that has come to pass. Certainly the question of pricing and the direction it will take has been the topic of discussion on more than one board dealing with vintage pieces.
I think several factors dictate (or will dictate) the direction vintage will take.

First, pricing is at a point where many new collectors are being closed out of the market or having to settle for a less than ideal piece. Some collectors feel we are on the verge of a two tiered system reguarding vintage.---Those pieces complete (box& paper) and those loose. The purist will seek the complete set as original as possible -- and pay accordingly--while others will seek to add (or enter) the market via a loose piece.
In both cases I think QUALITY of the example is a critical factor. Those pieces that are in as pristine condition will command the higher pricing and be better positioned to withstand any downturn that may occur.

Secondly, I think Rolex's position of curtailing support for vintage pieces will have an impact on future valuations. Much has been said about genuine parts and "all correct". Certainly references with 15xx movements have life left, but run the risk of being gutted by the mothership as to forced hands and dial replacement. Here, I think, is where quality is well worth the added cost.

Is there a "bubble"? I think in some cases that may well be the case-though if "popped" what the fall out may be I haven't a clue.

I know much has been discussed on various fora about "buy the watch you like" and not "for investment". I've tried to follow this edict as to me pride and ownership of some of these great old pieces trumps all. However;.... I do think there is a segment of the community that has bought for investment. To these people watches are commodities to be bought and sold at a profit. As pricing climbs the pool of potential buyers becomes smaller and the profit margin becomes smaller. I'm aware of select pieces that have sold for crazy money. Money that the seller would not have spent on the reference. At some point that has to weigh in the equation.

I think certain references will fare better than others should a downturn occur, but in some sense all may be affected. References such as PN Daytonas, Mil. Subs, COMEX, 6542s, etc.. will far well due to the extremely limited supply. DRSDs, 1680REDs, gilt dialed watches also have the potential of being a somewhat safe harbor.
1680 WHITES, 5513s 1675/16750s may serve as the new entry point for the collector coming into the market.

ONE FACTOR that is the wild card is servicing. I tend to think nature abhors a vacuum. As Rolex pulls out perhaps a group of watchmakers with the confidence and blessing of the community will step forward and service these pieces--even if it means making parts. There are a few already that some serious collectors have turned to.

One area that gets oft overlooked in the transitional arena. I wonder if these watches may find a growing favor among new collectors as these watches (at least in early versions) allow the ownership of a matt dialed watch with the security of service for the forseeable future.

Will the reintroduction of select references by Rolex dampen the desire for vintage? In some cases that may well be the case, but certain factors that make vintage what it is to the collector cannot be "reintroduced"

Time will tell......
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the bigger 64,000.00 question is, "how will the market react to vintage watches with non-Rolex authentic replica parts? If Rolex isn't going to produce new parts, the market will fill this vaccum. You can debate when Rolex will run out of parts, but eventually it will happen. What then? If you want a running watch, you'll have to accept something from another manufacturer.

I think in the next 15 years we'll start to see a two tiered vintage market - pre and post 3135 movement watches. I think any watch made after the introduction of the 3135 will be well taken care of from a service perspective by Rolex for decades to come. Those before that time, it appears, Rolex is going to pretend they don't exist.
 

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Wow--!

First two responses of the three above took this in a direction I didn't see coming; thanks for that. :thumbup1:

re Your last thoughts here, John, is there any frame-of-reference we could look at in terms of, um, "substitute" parts used to maintain vintage watches? Perhaps turn-of-the-century (the last century, that is) railroad pieces, for example, from makers that no longer exist? Are there two tiers here among collectors who own pristine pieces and those who do not?

Is an "original" time piece that doesn't tell time preferable to a working piece that isn't? And, if so, is that something that shifts based on vintage (eg, 50-year-old pieces are viewed by a different standard than century-old pieces)?

Sort of a van der Waals force applied to the span of history....
 

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John, the question of parts has always been the wild card in the authenticity of these watches. Though Rolex may not have parts (at least those they're willing to part with for the general public), parts do exist in the private sector, albeit at a cost.
But, yes at some point parts for certain references parts will be very hard to get. Will collectors accept custom made parts? For many this may be the only viable option. A watch that doesn't run is far less valuable than one that does.

Will it affect pricing? To some extent I think so, but I've seen some very nice pieces that have had gentle dial cleanups with little effect on value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
First two responses of the three above took this in a direction I didn't see coming; thanks for that. :thumbup1:

re Your last thoughts here, John, is there any frame-of-reference we could look at in terms of, um, "substitute" parts used to maintain vintage watches? Perhaps turn-of-the-century (the last century, that is) railroad pieces, for example, from makers that no longer exist? Are there two tiers here among collectors who own pristine pieces and those who do not?

Is an "original" time piece that doesn't tell time preferable to a working piece that isn't? And, if so, is that something that shifts based on vintage (eg, 50-year-old pieces are viewed by a different standard than century-old pieces)?

Sort of a van der Waals force applied to the span of history....
I'm not really sure if there's an applicable similar reference we can look at. Cars maybe?
 

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I'll defer to the experts here but IMHO I can't see any of the vintage models dropping in price. They might level out somewhat but I doubt it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll defer to the experts here but IMHO I can't see any of the vintage models dropping in price. They might level out somewhat but I doubt it.

Not in the short term....not in the next 2-4 years (unless the world economy takes a massive crash...). But if vintage parts become difficult to imposible to source... :scared:
 

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Good point John - only then will I be able to afford a red sub!
Seriously, there are some pretty clever and expert watchmakers out there who I'm sure will look after the vintage watches and any parts that they may need if this came to pass.

Rolex have always been proud of their history - one reason I like them so much - and I'd be suprised if they let any of the old examples die out in this way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good point John - only then will I be able to afford a red sub!
Seriously, there are some pretty clever and expert watchmakers out there who I'm sure will look after the vintage watches and any parts that they may need if this came to pass.

Rolex have always been proud of their history - one reason I like them so much - and I'd be suprised if they let any of the old examples die out in this way.
Well, I think Rolex will be able to take care of any watch made after about 1988 - that's when they introduced the caliber 3135. I think they will continue to support watches made after 1988 indefinitely because they will have a much better parts supply and ability to manufacture more parts.
 

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Perhaps, cars are the best example .... well some cars anyway. Detroit pushed out a massive number of parts. So much so that you can still get new, but old stock parts produced in the 50s and 60s. God knows where they've been, but someone has warehoused them for years. So we can rest assured there will be some NOS Rolex parts for a long, long time to come. However, just like cars you can also get used, remanufactured, and even new-non original maker parts. For Detroit cars, because there is so much NOS out there, cars without NOS don't trade at the same prices.

Now, there are other cars like European and Asian exotics where your only choice is remanufactured or new-non original parts. For those cars, originality is highly coveted, but there is a certain sense of acceptance that the whole thing just CAN'T be fully original. It doesn't effect the price provided the parts are known and the provence of the car is documented. Often for these cars, the quality of the person performing the restoration is more important than the list of original parts.

It is not too much to think of vintage Rolex in the same fashion. NOS watches will be coveted and some will reach extremely high prices for those that demand and can afford 100% originality. However, just like some of these rare cars, there will be an acceptance that if you want it to run, the overwhelming majority will almost certainly have *some* non-Rolex manufactured parts within it. These watches will not trade at the same nose bleed levels, but will still be extremely highly prized amongst collectors. I believe it will be the types of parts that determine the value. My speculation is that the case, dial, and hands will HAVE to be original. This isn't unreasonable. There will be additional things that people will also value albeit less so just by their nature such as the original bracelet and bezel that may or may not be a deal breaker. I think most people accept that crystals and spring bars are entirely consumable items that won't have to be original.

And just like cars, what is to stop some enterprising talented Swiss watchmaker from starting a premier restoration service? They could remanufacturer the parts that Rolex won't and their name is the guarantee of high quality.

Seems reasonable to me.
 

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Oyseterdate Precision 6694 Circa 1960's

this quiestion of support is older waches by Rolex is highly debatable. But I am sure they will support these watches as long as Rolex history goes.

I am having this watch which i inherited from my father, recently got overhauled by Autorised Service Center , In India at chennai (Helvitica). I am sure the same watch which they can overhaul till I handed over to children.


Warm Regards
Satheesh
From INDIA, KERALA Cochin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Perhaps, cars are the best example .... well some cars anyway. Detroit pushed out a massive number of parts. So much so that you can still get new, but old stock parts produced in the 50s and 60s. God knows where they've been, but someone has warehoused them for years. So we can rest assured there will be some NOS Rolex parts for a long, long time to come. However, just like cars you can also get used, remanufactured, and even new-non original maker parts. For Detroit cars, because there is so much NOS out there, cars without NOS don't trade at the same prices.

Now, there are other cars like European and Asian exotics where your only choice is remanufactured or new-non original parts. For those cars, originality is highly coveted, but there is a certain sense of acceptance that the whole thing just CAN'T be fully original. It doesn't effect the price provided the parts are known and the provence of the car is documented. Often for these cars, the quality of the person performing the restoration is more important than the list of original parts.

It is not too much to think of vintage Rolex in the same fashion. NOS watches will be coveted and some will reach extremely high prices for those that demand and can afford 100% originality. However, just like some of these rare cars, there will be an acceptance that if you want it to run, the overwhelming majority will almost certainly have *some* non-Rolex manufactured parts within it. These watches will not trade at the same nose bleed levels, but will still be extremely highly prized amongst collectors. I believe it will be the types of parts that determine the value. My speculation is that the case, dial, and hands will HAVE to be original. This isn't unreasonable. There will be additional things that people will also value albeit less so just by their nature such as the original bracelet and bezel that may or may not be a deal breaker. I think most people accept that crystals and spring bars are entirely consumable items that won't have to be original.

And just like cars, what is to stop some enterprising talented Swiss watchmaker from starting a premier restoration service? They could remanufacturer the parts that Rolex won't and their name is the guarantee of high quality.

Seems reasonable to me.
I think this line of thinking makes a lot of sense. In the absence of OEM parts, collectors will accept the only choice available to them eventually.
 
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