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Is It Useful?? If So, What Shall We Call It??

every few days, we get a question that reads something like the following: "I would like to buy a such-and-so chronograph, and am wondering how scarce or common they might be?? How often do you see them offered for sale??" sometimes, the question is more like "I have a such-and-so chronograph that my uncle gave me. How scarce are these cronographs and what are they worth??"

the answers to these questions, samples of which you can see by scanning down this page, usually refer to the frequency with which they are offered on ebay. for the sake of sharing some basic language / vocabulary, it would seem useful to have a standard frame of reference for answer these types of questions.

I am thinking that the most useful index / scale / reference might be how often we see a particular model offered per year. the "we" in this sentence refers to fairly serious collectors, who keep an eye on ebay and check a few dealer websites on a regular basis, looking for the Heuers. It's not from the perspective of dealers or others who either frequent big watch shows (or the streets of switzerland). It is the average guy who reads this discussion forum and actively pursues these chronographs.

Here are a couple of quick examples:

  • I would estimate that "we" are seeing 100 to 200 Viceroy Autavias in a year, so the "score" is 100-200 . . . maybe the number even approaches 300.
  • the Siffert Autavias (Cal 12 automatics) might come in at 4 to 6 per year, so let's call it a "5" on the scale.
  • the Carrera, Valjoux 72, white dial with black registers [ sorry to remind you, chuck ] might come in at one every two years, so it is at 0.5 on the scale.

You get the idea -- the scarcer the model, the lower the score.

Over time, we can create a fairly comprehensive list, and give it a permanent page OnTheDash. When people ask about scarcity, at a minimum, we would be talking the same language. If this system really works, we would have a ready reference through either an OnTheDash page with a list of the scores or a column of our chronograph reference tables.

A few questions:

  • Would this be useful or is this going a bit too far?
  • Is the number offered / available per year the best frame of reference?
  • What should we call the scale?? I am thinking of something like "Offered Per Year" (OPY) or "Available Annually" (AA).

No need for real precision; it's just an estimate of how frequently serious collectors are able to find them.

Some might say that the more useful information might be some sort of $$$$ value scale or index. While this works for the dashboard timepieces, it seems far more difficult to establish and maintain for the chronographs, as there are so many models and variations. We played with this type of $$$$ scale for the Carreras, and the data was almost overwhelming by the time we covered only a few models and variations. somehow, rating the scarcity seems far easier than pegging the values.




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