In the three months to the end of January I sold 90 watches which is far in excess of the rate I can restore them as a “one man band”. During February the number sold dropped significantly, probably as a result of very low inventory, seasonal factors and a bias in my inventory towards more expensive American railroad watches over the last couple of months. But still inventory only increased slightly.
Good quality English watches continue to be in very short supply, I have not had a restorable English Benson or a Rotherham in since November and the next level down is almost as bad. I have therefore been buying a lot of railroad and other high grade Waltham watches from America and probably now have the best selection of these watches available in UK if not in Europe. More are on the way but anecdotal evidence suggests that the US market is also tightening which suggests a worldwide shortage of good quality pocket watches and a general increase in prices of watches for restoration, as I have seen here in the last 4 – 6 months.
With the Salmon and Trout fishing season starting shortly in this part of the world I will “only” be working 4 or 5 days a week (this is meant to be a “retirement” business!), so the current level of demand would be about right for me but enquiries are starting to increase again with the approaching spring wedding season so I anticipate that availability will not improve significantly in the medium term.