Series: Complete Price Guide to Watches
Paperback: 1232 pages
Publisher: Tinderbox Press; 36 edition (March 15, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.8 x 8.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #68,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #3 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Clocks & Watches #4 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Jewelry #21 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Antiques Care & Reference > Reference
Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 2 and up
In my review of last year's edition of this annual price guide, I was only willing to give it two stars. While that may seem brutal for what is clearly a lot of compiled information, keep in mind that most of this data has evolved over a twenty-year collection process, and each new year is now largely a product of editing and tweaking the previous volume. However, I have decided to raise my rating for this year's edition by one star because even a cursory overview reveals that the effort put in since the last volume was not nearly so minimal as the previous 2000 version.There are not a lot of new additions in the way of specific models or grades, and this still remains a significant weakness of this guide. To the newcomer, it appears to cover a vast array of models and grades, but to the experienced collector, it is by no means near the definitive encyclopedia of watches. Even in its strongest area, American pocket watches, it continues to overlook a considerable number of grades, leaving the reader to make lump assumptions about prices of watches overlooked. The same comments apply to wristwatches, where it might have been better to leave well documented names completely out (such as Rolex or Patek) since they are better represented with great detail in other books. Does this matter? Just look at the number of "rare", "scarce", bogus and absurd claims on some Internet watch ads, and the answer should obvious: such claims would not survive the light of day were this guide truly complete.But for the many grades that are in the book, both pocket and wrist, it appears the authors have awakened to the reality of the market: a booming economy has been driving prices ever upward, particularly for collectibles.
The mere fact that this guide is now in its 20th year is evidence of its popularity. It is unquestionably the most successful guide of its kind. Much of that success lies in its clear if sometimes oversimplified listings that make it easy for rank beginners to find the majority of popular watches, and the sheer volume of entries. I would rate the pocket watch section over the wrist watch listing for detail (e.g., coverage for high-end watches like Patek, Rolex and others is superficial and buyers should rely on some other book), but both are adequate for the most popular material. However, evidence is that most of the prices are not updated annually, and publishing deadlines make the few updates old when fresh off the press. Some prices simply remain untouched for years when auction and other sales clearly show significant changes (generally increases). I wonder how many of the scarcer and "by-the-book-mint" watches the authors would be willing to sell from their collections for the prices shown?Some historical information, such as the production dates and serial numbers are questionable. The section on Aurora watches is clearly at odds with documented factory records despite fresh editing done to that information in the 2000 edition. And where South Bend individual grades are priced in detail, Auroras are lumped into general groups -- a sad oversight, since many of those grades are very scarce (multi-stars). Other rather common grades from popular makers are unexplainably missing amid a hit-and-miss grade list.The price grading system is dramatically skewed to the unobtainable, making one minute flaw justification to slash the price below half of its near-mint state (which is mint minus a box, yet most watches likely never had factory boxes).
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