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The Trade in High-End Watch Packaging


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Some time ago, I was in a charity shop when a customer purchased a second-hand Omega watch box, and I was surprised to see the sum of £20 change hands. I then re-thought my initial reaction and recognized that given the relatively high price of Omega watches new and second-hand, it wasn't surprising that someone was prepared to pay £20 for an original Omega box.

Today, I was in a local retro market I pop into now and again, and noted that a customer paid £40 for the packaging of a Rolex watch; this comprised the cardboard outer box and the leather/leatherette inner box together with some paperwork. In chatting to the lady serving who I know well, we wondered whether there is a problem with fake boxes being made and sold, since at £40-odd a go, there must be a profit to be made by Far Eastern entrepreneurs able to copy the packaging for upmarket watch brands.

Leaving aside fake boxes, I wonder also about the faking of accompanying  paperwork that is part of the original sale. And even with genuine paperwork, can an unscrupulous seller link a genuine piece of paperwork to a fake (or merely a different but genuine) watch? This whole field opens up all sorts of possible  and worrying shenanigans and dubious practices that had never really crossed my mind before.

I would be most interested to hear the views and experiences of other Forum members in connection with this matter.

 

 

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Well if theres a market for it then you`d automatically think unscrupulous people would take advantage, fake watches are well documented but fake high end packaging/paperwork we dont hear much about, you`d think if it was a problem we might know a bit more about it, i don t know anywhere near enough about wether its viable enough for fakers to produce them or not, i really couldnt say!

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It's simply about making a quick buck, which many people want to do with the minimum amount of effort possible.

Supply and demand of new watches is manipulated by both manufacturers* and ADs through the use of waiting lists as a tool to support pricing and turnover.  The AD layers this by holding on to the guarantee cards and papers for a year after a sale. This feeds through into the secondhand market. Stories abound of retailers/traders buying up every example of a discontinued model they can find in order to dictate supply and price and cash in on demand exceeding supply for new watches.

This sort of thing, or even just stories about it, inevitably means used prices rise (as long as demand is maintained), so boxes and papers at the very least make watches easier to sell, if not actually raise the price, but often they do.

Certain watch brands* have effectively become tradeable commodities, like copper or tin or gold.

In turn all this drives demand for counterfeits and if you want to make the watch appear genuine then genuine boxes and papers from another watch helps. Failing that very good counterfeit boxes and papers will do a similar job.

Luckily (or unluckily) the straitened times I face currently means I don't have to worry about buying a fake :laugh:

Of course, there may come a time when demand slumps. If the future was so easy to forecast, we'd all be very rich. :clap:

(* we all know who we're talking about here :whistle::laugh:)

 

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Thanks for those comments.:)

I find myself reported for my thread-head which is a bit disconcerting. I apologise to anyone who is offended that I mentioned fake products but I was not promoting the purchase or use of fake packaging. Instead, I was raising this as serious matter that might be insidiously affecting responsible watch collectors, and I intended to learn more about the situation from knowledgable Forum members.

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To be honest, the old Omega bog standard packaging wasn't that robust and if not looked after could get pretty beat up. If I had auch a box and saw what  I believed a genuine one for sale at the right price, I would jump at it. 

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When I bought a secondhand speedy without box I asked a trade friend if he had a box and he sold me one for £80.  He said he would always give me £80 for it but that when selling a watch simply saying "with original omega packaging" adds more than £100 to what's achievable. 

I have a couple of Rolex boxes too, they came with the watches... I never cared about box or papers and reckoned them at £50-£100 max but those pesky Rolex fanboys have even created a market from the little plastic tags on a bit of coloured string.  Now there's a subset of collectors that won't buy a watch without everything being there (almost as if they think no papers means the watch isn't original.) 

There are lots of fake Rolex boxes... The fan boys can spot them a mile off but I am not convinced I'd know. 

 

When you get to the Holy trinity things reach a different level.  My AP packaging was polished burwood...amazing.

When I bought my vacheron. It had no box or papers... It seemed from scouring the secondhand market this was saving me over £500.

After buying the watch I took it to the boutique... They removed the back (and let me peer at the movement which is normally hidden behind a solid back) I then forked out IDK how much for an extract from the archive (a piece of paper... Something like £125 if memory serves.. .)  I then heard about a shop which had closed and the owner was selling off packaging etc and I managed to buy a box which I managed to haggle down from £250 to £150.

It is nice to have all the bits, whether it's worth it I don't know... The watch has to be right, that is first and foremost... The other stuff is a bonus IMO

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Auction houses are always selling off boxes, and the amount of paired box and papers to a watch is immense.  I have seen 1960's watches with 'original paperwork' with the details of the companies website printed on the papers...

I don't buy the boxes to suit the watch, because there will always be someone who knows more than me and can spot the box doesn't match, and it adds costs to postage, especially internationally.

The recent Speedmaster boxes weight 4kg, and Royal Mail wanted £120 to send it to Essex  :scared:

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Let me add that the value of the packaging is related to what watch it is too. 

Vintage watches people didn't keep such stuff and long has passed for it to be lost making it rarer to have a watch with box and papers (consequently it helps to sell it more) 

Omega seamaters from the 1990s aren't uncommon or special, the box isn't of much consequence. 

An extremely expensive piece it might well matter more too. 

Edited by Daveyboyz
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