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"Rare" versus "Scarce", in World of Wristwatches?

I have absolutely no idea what the answer to this question might be, but I wonder whether there are accepted meanings of words like "rare" and "scarce" in the world of wristwatches?

For example, in the world of books, "rare" has a very specific meaning and it includes -- in relative terms -- a lot of books (compared to the world of watches).

I did a spin through a random Sotheby's catalog that I pulled off the shelf (Important Watches, May 13, 2018, Geneva), and could find no rhyme or reason to the use of the word "rare". Knowing that the following statement will mean very little to anyone reading this without information about the watches included in the catalog -- there are a lot of everyday watches (common brands of pre-owned watches, with $5,000 estimates) that are labelled as "rare" and a fair number that are described as "very rare". Then there are some watches which I believe to be truly rare, but the word is not used. So it does not seem to follow a rigorous approach; seems like the word "rare" is randomly used by whoever is writing the catalog. They also like to sprinkle in the word "fine".

My review of this one Sotheby's catalog leads me to the conclusion that, in the world of wristwatches, the word "rare" is used very casually, with no rigorous standard or precision in the use the word. And collectors may talk about a particular watch being "scarce", but I don't think that this term is used by the auction houses in describing wristwatches.

This might be an interesting question for Eric Wind, in view of his background in the auction world.

Interesting topic . . .



: In the watch world I grew up in...the pocket watch world,
: "rare" meant 1-5 or 1-10 ever made. It did not mean
: anything about desirability or valuable. It meant only the
: quantity. I remember when a popular watch guide book came out
: with their "Star Rarity Rating" a lot of the old
: codgers went nuts because it meant that watches they considered
: only scarce were being called rare. Here is that rating:

: ***** (five star) ............. RARE 1-25 produced
: **** (four star) ............ SCARCE

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