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    Re: The Price of Mechanical Marine Chronometers and Deckwatches
    From: Robert Eno
    Date: 2012 Jan 19, 11:34 -0500
    I inherited an old pocket railroad watch that belonged to my grandfather and a Bulova Accutron Railroad watch that belong to my late father. I was lucky enough to find a person that is still able to fix these old watches. This fellow owns a business that was started by his father in in the 1940s but he informed me, sadly, that there are exceedingly fewer and fewer specialists who know how to repair mechanical clocks and watches and even the old first generation electric watches such as the amazing Bulova accutron. Once he goes out to pasture, there will be no one to take his place. It is a dying profession.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe <geoffreykolbe@compuserve.com>
    Date: Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:47 am
    Subject: [NavList] The Price of Mechanical Marine Chronometers and Deckwatches
    To: NavList@fer3.com

    > I have been trawling the Internet recently and looking at what
    > is available in the way of marine chronometers and deck watches.
    > The one thing that struck me was that the prices of these clocks
    > are much the same now as they were 25 years ago when I bought my
    > Ulysses Nardin marine chronometer. The chronometer was made in
    > 1920 and had probably spent most its life in an admiral's desk
    > draw, but in 1987 it cost me $2200 and if I was to sell it
    > today, the going price would be much the same.
    > I contacted a dealer whose speciality is marine chronometers and
    > deck watches, and asked him if he thought prices had remained
    > static over the last 25 years. He agreed that for 'ordinary'
    > chronometers that are not especially old or have historic
    > connections, that was the case.
    > But given an average inflation rate of, say, 3%, the value of
    > the dollar has halved over the past 25 years and so in real
    > terms, the price of chronometers and deck watches has also
    > halved since I bought mine. They are obviously not a good investment.
    > But will they continue to decline in value? In the entire
    > history of chronometer manufacture, there were probably only
    > 100,000 or so made. A sizable slice of those are probably at the
    > bottom of an ocean somewhere and apart from a small continued
    > production in Russia, nobody is making them any more and all the
    > guys who know how to keep them going are pensioners. Now, in the
    > depths of a depression, the price of a piece of navigation
    > history of this sort will probably never get lower in real terms.
    > So, if anybody has a hankering to own a real, live, ticking
    > chronometer, now is probably the best time to buy one.
    > And no, I don't want to sell mine and I don't deal in
    > chronometers or deck watches. As I say, it is not a good
    > business to be in right now, not for sellers anyway ;-)
    > Geoffrey Kolbe
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