Friday, October 7, 2011

The Adventures Of Watch Hunting.

While browsing the forums I found this interesting post on the "murky" international back-room dealings of fine timepieces.  Please note I added photos to this post to add emphasis.  They are used for entertainment purposes and may not actually reflect the purported happenings.

Thailand is the place!!!

Good morning,

Spent a few days last week in a business conference in Bangkok. As the conference came to a closing..... I googled BKK Vintage and here is what happened.

Went to a big middle of the road shopping center by the name of MBK. On the 3 floor, there are quite a few watch traders. I spent quite some time at one of them, which was particularly busy.

To one side of the shop, there was a Pakistani gentleman sitting at a table with one Thai gentleman and one of Japanese origin ( did not learn it afterwards, not at first sight). The Pakistani gentleman travels the world trading in second hand Rolex, mainly buying from pawn shops in places like Thailand ( some owned by the Thai gentleman at the table) and selling in Dubai and China ( and had the wads of cash in an unassuming paper bag to prove his credentials).

Guys, what a sight. The Thai pawn shop owner got watch after watch from his unassuming black nylon bag. All in plastic pouches, no box or papers. The Pakistani negotiated over the counter in groups of 3/4 watches. He was mainly interested in gold and SS/ Gold models, as these seem to go well with his Middle East and Chinese customers. Prices were...... Well, breathtakingly low. Just as an example, a gold president switched hands for the equivalent of EUR 6,000. Middle of the road Gold/SS traded for around 1,500- 2000 EUR. The buyer just handled every piece for a few secs, mostly looking at how worn down the bracelet was and, voilà, on to the next.

Before you guys believe it was a setup to make me buy something fake or overpriced, they clearly told me I was not a "dealer" and was not allowed to participate in the trade. In any case, the Thai seller did not trade in sports models, and these are the only Rolex I fancy.

After they finished their deal and something like 100K USD changed hands, the Pakistani gentleman told me that the cheapest brand new and second-hand Rolexes at this point in time are in Thailand, and on witnessing what I had witnessed, I fully believe him.

This gave me the opportunity to browse with them the second- hand counter in the shop where the trading was taking place, and I left with 2 Tag Aquaracers Calibre 5, in mint condition, w box and papers. One was the 300m aluminum bezel ( 700 EUR / 950 USD) and the second one a limited-edition 500m helium valve equipped Aquaracer for 1,100 EUR / 1,550 USD.

Not a bad afternoon in Bangkok after all, and all this without hitting any of the girlie bars downtown?

Enjoy your day. 

The above post has been altered for spelling corrections etc. 


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