The first quarter of 2011 has been very impressive for the watch business. I have attended four IWJG watch shows, two WWT watch shows, and two major watch auctions. Auction houses have been selling over 95% of their merchandise above estimate values and most dealers have been very happy with strong sales at the shows. Both vintage and pre-owned watches have been selling at a rapid pace and climbing in value. I hear many dealers and collectors talking about how there is a shortage of merchandise which has caused this frenzy.
On the vintage side there is a major shortage of high quality Rolex sport models from a the big crown James Bond to the Paul Newman models. Pre-owned complicated Patek Philippe watches are very difficult to find, especially the 5970 and 5070 chronograph models. Modern Rolex has been extremely strong with most of the merchandise going to the Orient. Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger LeCoultre, Panerai, and IWC have also been selling rapidly. As mentioned the last few reports there is a very high demand for luxury watches and a shortage in supply which has caused increased values. I see this trend continuing with the Euro getting stronger, increased interest in the Orient and South America, and the economy getting stronger here in the USA.