Greetings from Geneva!
The week of November 17th saw five Geneva auction houses and one German house put a total of 4000+ lots on the block for a total estimate in excess of CHF (Swiss francs) 60,000,000. The good news is that the marketplace was able to absorb about 55% with a remarkable gross of some CHF 35,000,000. Analyzing these results indicates that there's a flight to quality and the best examples presented - with certificates, boxes, etc - sold in a range close to their low estimates. The watch market continues to outperform other types of markets, especially equities and real estate, making it a good time to acquire the best examples at current low values. Because of the relative strength of the dollar against European and Asian currencies, and the reality that markets such as collectible watches correct very quickly, I believe the values are at or very near their new lows and now is a good time to buy.
As always the expertise that's available from Aaron Faber and its associates saves time and ensures authentication and a correct collection. Rebalancing your watch portfolio is a sensible objective in these unusual times.
In addition to the mainstays of Patek Philippe and Rolex there seems to be a bright spot for Vacheron & Constantin, well known for midcentury strong designs as well as chronographs.
Rolex sport models seem to have corrected themselves 30% to 40% from their June highs. Suspicion remains about authenticity and tempers the enthusiasm of the collectors. Noticeable gains in select pocket watches - Breguet, Cartier and Patek in particular - produced some auction records.
Premiums have vanished for previously sought-after models, the Patek reference 5980's, 5712's and 5960's for example. There is opportunity here in the market corrections for serious collectors to adjust their portfolios, and we are specifically recommending the 5970 chrono perpetual which has backed off 20% - 30% from its June highs as well as the 5070 chronos. These remain very small production watches and their rarity will support the collector's choice of longer term value.
The steel sport Rolex chronos from the 70's - 6263, 6265 with red Daytona - have adjusted to trade in the low $30K range, and offer opportunity, as do the pre-Daytona 6234/6238 -- original dial a must. Premiums remain for 'punched' original papers.
It's also the holidays and a great time to review overlooked areas for gifts and collecting, including the exaggerated American designs from the 1920's to the 1950's, including LeCoultre, Hamilton, Gruens. They belong on your holiday list and provide a (design) lift to the spirit at minimal investment. American RR pocketwatch, especially those with 21 and 23 jewels are great values for the entry collector, selling from $400 to $1800.
It is also a very good time to review your own timepieces and unwanted jewelry, gold and diamonds for brokerage or sale through Aaron Faber during its holiday sales and contacts with overseas clients.
Finally, although some 4500 lots of watches are more than enough to recommend a visit to Geneva, we can also recommend a few meals from our time there. El Faro serves incredible paella and a famous salt-crusted whole fish and Mr Hayek himself has opened another Swatch Museum in the contemporary restaurant at Pont de La Machine bridge: trendy bar on the ground floor, excellent restaurant on the second floor Resto by Arthur's, and the museum on the third. All this in the middle of the lake, between the old and new cities.
Keep tuned and stay on time,
Edward S Faber