We are in interesting times.
Prices for straight lug speedmasters have become wildly variable as good examples fetch strong money, and others that are not good float around with price tags out of touch with reality.
Private sources for all Speedmasters are but a fraction of what they were two years ago. Dealers now play a larger influence in the market and this makes for higher prices and lower quality watches. A dealer will rarely present a watch in as good a condition as a collector will want to keep it in. (So one avenue is to buy from fellow collectors).
I am not criticising dealers for this, they trade watches for profit, and so must take the most profitable avenue. It’s not a crime. So any barn find watch a dealer gets hold might be cleaned up and have its charm (for me) removed without actually spending the time and money to improve it properly, the way a motivated collector might.
Not always – if you are lucky a dealer may flip the watch acquired without touching it – and while not my favourite aquisition method it works. Then you can service it properly, and have a wonderful piece that shows its history in a beautiful manner.
I am being very careful, some call this a bubble.
I am old enough to have seen this before.
As ever, I wish you all luck with your hunts!