When currencies are weak or unstable; when stock markets look as though they’re ready to collapse in their never-ending cycles of boom and bust, people flock to gold much like flies flock to jam.
All this flocking creates upward price movement, and since 2007 the ‘value’ of gold has more than doubled. Really smart flockers will sniff change in the air and will abandon the commodity before it inevitably drops quicker than Robert Pattinson’s face did when learning about Kristen Stewart's peccadilloes. But, those with a poor sense of mercantile smell - namely naive, greedy or dumb speculating flockers - will be left holding the baby. Financial ruin may well be the consequence, which your average Wall Street financial sociopath will explain away as “economic Darwinism in action”. Real mature, to say nothing of empathic, eh?
What does this have to do with Omega Constellations?..... I hear you cry. Well, the bottom feeders of a buoyant gold market - the gold scrap buyers - are having a field day. And those who flock to gold buyers in the belief that they will get rich by selling dad's or grandad’s gold Constellation as scrap are no lesser patsies than naive, greedy or dumb speculators who think the party will never end.
I’ve documented a number of cases where the price of gold has lured unsuspecting owners of solid gold Constellations into the hands of the mostly unscrupulous gold scrap buying ‘industry’: none worse than the $700.00 paid to a Florida grandmother for an Omega Constellation 2799 de Luxe with solid gold dial. In that instance, the scrap dealer, knowing something about the market for de Luxe Constellations, simply listed the watch on eBay and sold it for more than $3,400.00! Currently, there is a particular scrap buyer very active in this area.
The other aspect of this sad and sordid tale of wanton destruction of vintage watch stock relates to those who, to keep the metaphor alive, feed off the bottoms of the bottom feeders. They purchase movements and dials from scrap dealers and other sources once the watch case has gone to the knacker’s yard, find old cases that will accommodate orphan movements and dials and flog them off as genuine Constellations.
The example below is one of many that have appeared on eBay and other electronic markets over the past couple of years. Notice how the seller, tomek719 of Suwalki in Poland, fails to mention that this solid gold dial piece has been housed in a gold filled case of unknown origin. Rather he describes the watch as being in “perfect condition”. Shame on you!
Below are some general recommendations that may allow you to escape the clutches of the bottom, bottom feeders:
- Never sell a gold watch to a scrap buyer – you will always get a better price on the open vintage market;
- Before contemplating a sale, seek advice on watch sites like Omega Watch Forums and check out completed listings on eBay;
- Never buy a gold dialled Omega Constellation watch that is cased in anything other than a fully marked gold Constellation case. Get to know the markings that identify a genuine Constellation;
- Always check case number and movement against the Omega vintage database or against this list of calibres and models;
- Remember, the words "fair", "honest", and "reputable" when associated with the nomenclature "gold scrap dealer" are a contradiction in terms.