Auction Watch -- Artcurial Selling 40 Vintage Heuers, July 18, 2016 (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)

The vintage Heuers have been hot lately, so the dynamics of supply and demand tell us that with the recent strong increases in prices, we are likely to see more vintage Heuer chronographs coming into the market.  In April and May 2016, we saw Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips and three other auction houses sell over 75 vintage Heuers, with record prices achieved for many models.  See our report on these six April and May auctions HERE.

With this increased interest in vintage Heuer chronographs, it’s not surprising to see the Paris-based auction house Artcurial offering another 40 vintage Heuers, at a sale to be held in Monte Carlo, on July 18, 2016.  The sale consists of 400 watches, with the Heuers placed at lots 273 through 312. Here is the Online Catalog for the sale.  Or you can flip through the E Catalog, if you prefer. You can see a gallery of all 40 of the Heuers HERE.

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Determining Authenticity -- Vintage Heuer Monacos

Of all the vintage Heuer chronographs that we see, the Monaco Reference 73663 B (three register, manual wind Monaco, with a blue dial) may win the prize for being the model with the highest percentage of fakes, refinished dials, replacement hands and other issues of authenticity.  In some instances, only one element has been replaced, while in others it is difficult to find any genuine Heuer components in the watch.  It is difficult to arrive at a general rule for valuing the samples that have these issues, but it would be fair to suggest that the value of these troubled watches is typically less than one-half the value of an authentic one.

This posting focuses on the Monaco Reference 73663 B, because so many of them are fake and because the information that is useful in authenticating this model (or in spotting a fake) will be useful in evaluating other versions of the Monaco.  Toward the end of this posting, we look at samples of other fake Monacos — a Caliber 12 automatic model and a two-register manual-wind model.  No doubt, however, that the lessons learned on the Reference 73663 B will be useful in examining other models.

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New Wine in Old Skins . . . New Movements in Old Watches

In recent months, we have made considerable progress in understanding the development of the Caliber 11, 11-I and 12 movements, with the result that we are able to study the parts in a paritcular movement to determine the “correctness” of the movement. At the same time, we have begun compiling a database of Heuer serial numbers, which has allowed us to establish approximate dates for many of the Heuer chronographs.

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