3 criminally undervalued watches to chase on the secondary market before buyers wake up 3 criminally undervalued watches to chase on the secondary market before buyers wake up

3 criminally undervalued watches to chase on the secondary market before buyers wake up

Zach Blass

I am totally going to regret this. Right now, I am giving you a window into my horological browser history. Watches I personally favourite on Chrono24 and eBay, bookmarking them for later when the time to strike is right. I am not insinuating that the below three watches are inexpensive. They are absolutely not. But whether proportional to their original retail value, or their horological value balanced against their market value, here are three watches I believe are criminally undervalued on the secondary market that I am reluctantly spotlighting for your benefit – potentially ruining my chances of snagging one down the line.

Credor ‘Signo’ GBBD998

Image: WatchUSeek

Credor’s more restricted presence within Japan results in a lower awareness of their range of creations past and present. But low awareness creates high opportunity. Known for thinner watches with stunning visual aesthetics, the ‘Signo’ GBBD998 is highly emblematic of what Credor watchmaking can offer. Packaged in a 33.5mm yellow gold case a mere 5.5mm thick, the skeletonised calibre not only has handsome bevels on the edges of the bridges, but also hand-engraving. No surface of the 1.9mm thick manually wound movement is without engraved decoration.

Image: Fratello Watches

On both the front and back of the calibre, each side visible beneath a sapphire crystal, you can see the gorgeous flourishing performed throughout. The GBBD998 is no longer sold today, but Credor does have the GBBD986 which is effectively the same watch – just 1mm larger in diameter and without the dual branding of both Credor and Seiko on the dial. The GBBD986 has a retail price of ¥2,530,000 which is roughly US$18K. At any given moment, however, the GBBD998 can be found on secondary marketplaces for anywhere between US$4.5K – US$6K. The smaller diameter and its production by a brand which does not really market itself outside of Japan, are the probable reasons for its lower secondary value. But the GBBD998 sure is a lot of watch compared to its market price.

Corum Golden Bridge ref. 13150

Image: Mercarus

Corum once held greater favour amongst watch collectors. But as trends and tastes evolved, Corum’s brand power lessened in a world where steel sports watches now reign supreme. Their flagship model, however, remains to this day the Golden Bridge. First debuted in 1980, the signature aesthetic of the Golden Bridge, as its name suggests, is a single engraved bridge running across the dial hosting a perfectly linear movement and gear train. The result is a very open dial aesthetic, with a great view of a watch movement at work at all times from the front and back.

Image: Mercarus

The original designer and watchmaker of the Golden Bridge, Vincent Calabrese, detailed in an interview with Crown Watch Blog how the concept stemmed from a conversation with a client who enlisted him to restore the case of a Breguet minute repeater that had been run over by a car, but not the movement due to the fact “no one sees the movement anyway, so there is no need for any repair.” Therefore, Calabrese set out to create a watch that fully showcased the beauty of the movement – making the focal point the internals rather than the externals. Considering its debut in the ’80s, it was a design very ahead of its time with the majority of the case surface area assumed by the faceted sapphire crystals found on the front and back of the watch. And, of course, to develop such a movement was an exceptional challenge. These days, due to less emphasis on dressier watches of a smaller size, the 20mm x 7.5mm x 32.6mm yellow gold watch can be found on the secondary market ranging from US$10K – US$20K. To be clear, the closest model to this original in the current catalogue has a retail price of CHF 40,300.

Breguet Tradition ref. 7027

Image: Sotheby’s

Few names, if any, are more legendary than Abraham-Louis Breguet in watchmaking. An incredible watchmaker, most notably known for his invention of the tourbillon, his namesake brand continues the tradition of his watchmaking leveraging his many innovations in a modern way. The Tradition collection, within the Breguet catalogue, brings the aesthetics of Breguet’s pocket watches into a wristwatch that offers a full view of the movement at work. It even uses Breguet’s pare-chute shock-protection system created in 1790, the ancestor of the modern Incabloc system widely used today. The discontinued ref. 7027 above finds itself in a 37mm precious metal case, 12mm thick and 45.6mm lug-to-lug, with a handsomely fluted caseband and welded lugs (a much more traditional and laborious method of case manufacturing). At 12′, a white sub-dial conveys the hours and minutes with two fired-blue Breguet hands resting above the solid gold disc  which displays true guillochage performed on a rose lathe by hand – no corner-cutting stamping here.

The bridges and baseplate feature elegantly frosted surfaces, with thin hand-executed angle applied to the edges of the bridges. It is a stunning watch, especially for those who appreciate traditional watchmaking. The current generation model, the ref. 7057, only really differs with its larger 40mm diameter, and the use of a silicon balance spring for better resistance against magnetism. The ref. 7057 has a retail price of US$29,000, but a ref. 7027 recently sold for US$13,970 at Sotheby’s during their June 9 Important Watches Auction and I continue to see listings appear on secondary market platforms just above US$13,000. I only hope that by the time I have enough currency in my watch fund, the price has not climbed higher. But, if it has, I will take solace in the fact the reference has finally found the greater secondary value it irrefutably deserves.