September 10, 2003, 00:55Scott Cerullo
Lesser known Swiss brands
I find a lot of vintage Swiss watches with brands that I never heard of and are not in the price guide. Recently I came accross a Gloria Geneve, and a Merit. They are both Swiss chronographs. Are brands like these collectable or are they undesirable even though they may have high grade movements?
September 12, 2003, 01:31Steve Maddox
Watches of the type you mention are generally referred to as "Misc. Swiss" watches, and most of the "companies" that produced them were really just marketing agencies, which combined the products of other manufacturers into finished marketable goods. Movements were produced by movement companies, cases by case companies, dials by dial companies, etc.
By and large, "Misc. Swiss" watches are typically judged solely on their merits as watches. If the case is solid metal as opposed to plated, that's better. If the movement is complicated (such as a chronograph or an alarm, etc.), those are more desirable than time-only models. If the dial is original and attractive, that's better than a badly deteriorated dial, or a recently refinished one.
Many older "Misc. Swiss" chronographs used the same movements that were used in contemporary Rolex models, but needless to say, that does not make them comparable watches. In good condition, a "Misc. Swiss" chronograph with a solid stainless case and a Valjoux 23 movement, might bring $300; the same watch with original "Heuer" markings on the case, movement, and dial might bring $1000, and with "Rolex" markings, it might bring $5000.
There are primarily two factors that determine the value of a vintage wristwatch: brand, and features. Without the added prestige of a desirable brand name, the value of a "generic" watch can only be determined by its relative merits as a watch.
I hope this helps!
President, NAWCC Chapter #62
North Little Rock, Arkansas
IHC Charter Member 49
September 12, 2003, 22:59Scott Cerullo
Thanks for the response. It sheds a lot of light on why there seems to be so many different brands, and on how to value them.