Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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    Why The Armoury’s Mark Cho Is Selling His Massive Watch Collection

    Back in 2006, young Mark had his first paycheck, was there something about a watch that you thought was really important to style, or to the uniform that you were creating for yourself?

    No, I don’t think I understood the context of everything as well. I think that for me, at that time, the thinking was more like a good deal. I get to feel like a grown up, buy a grown-up thing, but I’m paying a kid’s price for it. And there were aspects of color and the design that were appealing to me, but in a very instinctive way.

    How do you feel about selling during what appears to be a downturn in the watch market?

    The recent negative headlines about watch price declines are a little sensationalist. They narrowly focus on price changes in the last six months. If we were to look at prices today vs 2019, we are still far above those. Also, they focus on the hype watches of 2021-2022, such as certain Rolex sport watches, which was overdue for a harsh correction.

    I’ll never nail the timing perfectly. There will always be “a better time to sell.”

    What’s your personal auction strategy?

    When I bid on stuff myself at auctions—I’ve been going auctions for like 15 years now—I don’t hang around to bid. I think of the number I’m willing to pay for it, I leave an absentee bid, and I leave. I don’t look at it until the next day. So I never get sucked into “Oh, I can just pay another 100 bucks.” I’ll never do that.

    Do you have a favorite piece that you got from auction, or a favorite auction story?

    I bought a [Rolex] Oyster Quartz from auction cheap—the condition was terrible. But I paid what I thought was a reasonable price for it given the condition. Then I was curious: If I take this to Rolex [for servicing], how much will they do? So I took it to Rolex and they serviced it and were like, “It’s four grand to service. We’ll change the dial, we’ll change the hands, and we’re going to waterproof it.”

    What they meant was, they’re going to change the entire head of the watch. So you keep the movement, but everything else around it has changed. And what if I wanted, say a new bracelet, how much would that be? And they’re like, “Oh, that’s another like [$4,500].”

    So I got a factory fresh Oyster Quartz. The only part of that original watch was a fragment of the movement. But you would have to literally go back in time and buy a brand new Oyster Quartz to get one in a condition like this. And so I thought that was kind of cool—I just liked the fact that I was able to do all that stuff.

    There’s a lot of people who turn their noses up at quartz watches, but you have an affinity for them. Why is it that you’re a fan?

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