Friday, 24 July 2015

Market & Stock Update July 2015

Demand remains high, particularly for English and high end American, unfortunately these are also the ones most difficult to get hold of and with the general shortage of watches available to me I am now down to 40 watches in stock. I have currently only got two English watches available and have sold out of true railroad watches (although I do have a few railroad grade). I do have some watches, mainly medium quality Swiss, awaiting restoration but it is going to take some time for the stock situation to improve and it may get worse before it gets better.

In UK, Fellows of Birmingham have stopped their quarterly specialist auctions of pocket watches and are now including just a few, mainly solid gold watches, in with their general watch auctions. On eBay volume is down dramatically from a year or so ago and the availability of quality watches is even further down.

I used to import watches from the USA, volume is probably down there as well, but I have had to largely stop imports. This is largely because eBay have encouraged sellers to use a newly introduced facility (from a third party I believe) that collects import duties in the USA so that goods come straight through UK customs.

Unfortunately not only is this frequently slower it is far more expensive. Previously, if charged at all, I would pay Royal Mail £8.50 handling fees and up to about 9% VAT, with the eBay system charges it is more than double.

As an example a watch currently listed in the USA on "buy it now" is listed at $320 plus $15 postage plus a whopping $90.37 "duty" and handling! Someone is making a lot of money out of this, but no longer from me!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Naming Confusion!

Here is a good example of why attribution can be a problem.

This good quality 16 jewel watch is signed by well known makers & retailers Kendal and Dent - Dent made the clock that drives "Big Ben". But the movement is signed DF&C for Dimier Freres et Cie part of a long established Swiss watch making dynasty, but in this case the movement was actually made by Review Thommen, probably for the London branch of Dimier who were major watch importers.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Fitting a pocket watch crystal

Usually you can easily press out crystals from the inside, especially those not glued in, so be careful if you have the bezel open for any reason - not recommended except on lever or front key set watches! This is how to refit it if it comes out or if a replacement is crystal is to be fitted.

This assumes a hinged bezel, if it is a snap on fit remove it in similar fashion or if it is a screw on type screw if off then just ignore the bits related to the hinged type.
It also assumes an acrylic crystal, a glass crystal can me fitted in a similar way but do not try bending it!
First open the bezel using a knife at 1 o’clock if it hinges at 6 o’clock or opposite the hinge if it is hinged elsewhere. Be careful of the hands! Work over a plain surface such as a piece of writing paper so that if you should knock one off you will be able to find it.
Seat the crystal into its groove at 6 o’clock,  then work round both sides together pushing it into the grove, have your thumbs underneath pressing with your fingers on top.

As you get close to the finish you may need to apply pressure upwards towards the centre of the crystal with your thumbs whilst pressing down with your fingers to bow the crystal up in the centre and down at the edge, this should let you seat the crystal into its groove so that when you release the pressure it is held in firmly.

Old glass crystals are usually not perfectly round so if it is a little loose try rotating it in the bezel until it grips.
If it becomes necessary to glue the crystal in than the correct type of glue must be used so that crystal can subsequently be removed and any surplus removed relatively easily - which should be done when the glue if partially set.
Before closing or refitting the bezel check that you have not displaced the hands, particularly that the hour hand clears the second hand (or the second hand clears the minute hand on a watch with a centre sweep second hand) and that the minute hand clears the hour hand.