A look at the 2998 Market

The market for 2998’s is an interesting one, as differential between an excellent one and a poor one is large, and can be difficult to assess as not many people have the chance to see and compare many at the same time.

The recent Sothebys sale was a good opportunity to do just that, though of the examples offered, none of them excellent quality. See them here

The three Sothebys 2998’s were $12,500, $27,500 and $40,000.

Here is one on offer on Ebay, from a seller in Los Angeles:

It is asking $26,000. There are several things that flag up for me, but briefly we have a very tired bezel, tired dial plots, alpha hands with no damage and even lume inconsistent condition to the rest of the watch, polished lugs and a movement in poor condition. The parts are otherwise correct, and there is a 7912 bracelet, endlinks look genuine No6’s. Here is the movement, its a good thing to study and know what to look for. This movement is dirty, in poor condition, and the screws are all damaged, and one looks like it is not seated properly.

Note the screw in the number bridge, the colour difference in the bridges, the regulator off in the weeds, and the general poor condition of the parts.

Staying with Ebay here is a cheaper 2998-5 with more issues.

This one looks like a watch that has had a hard life. At $20,000 it is cheaper, but it has little to recommend it except the alphas may be the original and good. This watch also has serious issues, apart from the obvious. Look at the back:

Here we see the bevel is completely polished off. The enlinks are incorrect and in fact the bracelet is a much later 1035 marked 1966

Both of the above watches are offered on Ebay at fixed prices. They are high and unlikey to sell at these levels to an informed buyer. Apart from anything, these two watches just look like rubbish – poor bezels, polished cases and unattractive dials. The only thing that could go for these watches would be if they were cheap, and by cheap I mean half the current asking as a start.

By way of a comparison, lets look at one sold on ebay via an auction in the summer by a trusted seller:

Sold for just over $11,000, this watch is with issues as well, but the underlying watch is more honest. The seller is a hobby/dealer who always fully discloses what he knows about the watch, and what work he has done.

Its still an ugly dial, with service hands, aftermarket No6’s, faded bezel, replaced pushers crown and glass – but it is $11,000 not $20,000 or $30,000.

The movement is in much better condition than the two above as seen be seen below. The difference is huge.

The watch has some history, which the seller has researched and there is an engraving down the side of the watch. These engravings do not worry me as they used to, laser tecnology will now allow us to remove fill and remove it without a trace if you want to. The fact that I can do this, means that I often buy a watch with an engraving but do not remove it – just knowing I can is enough.

Chrono 24 is a good place on the internet to look at a lot of 2998s. Here is the search link for you.

Go and look there – you will see 25 watches, as of today, ranging from $16,000 to $35,000. Here is a quick run through of some of them:

2998-62 at $35,000 from a dealer in france. There is so much wrong with this watch for the money it is not worth wasting time on.

2998-2 at $33,000 from a German Dealer. Its a barn find basket case that might be worth $7,000 at auction.

Another German dealer who says this is a 2998, and wants $32,000 for it.
2998-62 from a Spanish Dealer at $29,000. This is the first watch from C24 that starts to look right. Its still got greenish plots, that might have had help (look at five o’clock) but the hands are good. It seems correct, but still the quality /price does not have me leaping to buy.

2998-6 at $26,000 from a Dealer in UK. This looks much more attractive, but I would want to investigate those plots – the rest of the watch has had a lot of service, in that the hands, crown and pushers have been replaced. The watch comes with unmatched papers and the description of them does not make me trust a word the seller says “Papers could have come with the watch”. No. They couldnt.

Ok well I think you have enough to go on, but here is the cheapest on offer:

Service Dial, service hands, overpolished case, there is almost nothing right about this, even the bezel looks bleached.

I was going to leave it at that, but I must leave you with hope. This was my watch, I just sold, for less than the median price of the watches discussed:

Fine 2998’s are still selling for $40,000 to $60,000, but it is not possible to find them listed publicly. The auctions are unlikely to have one unless it is from a private source. After all, collectors know what a good one is worth, and so the Auction wont give them a good enough price after their 30% cut and 90-120 day payment.

There are lots of Instagram 2998’s that are better than any on C24 or Ebay, or even recently auctioned by the big houses.

The difference between a 2998 with issues and a fine one is very high.