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Grading between ‘Good’ and ‘Very Good’ — debating a specific example

  1. airansun

    airansun Jun 28, 2020 8:16pm

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    We are all in debt to @Spacefruit and his website. I certainly am. :thumbsup:

    With the recent addition of a new condition category, I’ve been studying pieces and weighing the words of the definitions. ::book:: To me, the most difficult ground is between Good and Very Good, particularly when I’m looking at a specific watch. :unsure:

    Maybe the real issue is how much room between these two labels there really is. How do you place all those pieces that fall in the middle?

    https://speedmaster101.com/price-chart-2/
    D06907C0-AB23-413A-8C52-7681597CB3CB.jpeg

    Obviously, despite the objective criteria offered, there’s still room for a lot of opinion.

    So, I’m curious to share a specific watch and hear everyone’s thoughts about how they would analyze where it fell.

    It’s an Ed White, a 105.003-65, a piece of mine. And no, I would never sell it and that’s not the point.

    It runs and functions properly. I had to replace an hour hammer when I got it, as well as a correct dustcover and a better caseback. I have changed nothing else.

    411DE52F-A01B-40B8-998D-91356415ECD1.jpeg 513EBFD0-AA00-4CD1-8D4A-150DD7A795A4.jpeg CE2E4596-97CD-4084-A9BD-BBCD350B542C.jpeg D52B781E-8E41-4DF4-BB49-4139064F5678.jpeg B0958A54-184E-46C8-8E04-BDF5FA5F7DB7.jpeg 62DD3734-D220-4B32-B8F2-166CA3D83AA9.jpeg D1F5F995-B5D5-4D80-884C-8B7832558BC1.jpeg
    (The movement photo is before service, unfortunately.)

    I think it’s closer to very good than good, but I can see some arguing it’s barely good.

    All the bits are correct and the lume reacts as exhausted tritium should, but judge for yourself about the shape of the plots. Flaws include dirt on the lume and a less than perfect bezel. In hand, it’s clearly been polished and a little incorrectly too (tops of the lugs). It was an eBay find and I have no reliable history. I think it’s a very attractive piece.
    1962C209-B8C4-4EEA-A4FB-7450BA4D315F.jpeg
    What do you all think?

    (For those of you that find this tedious or silly, I apologize. But this is the reason why coin grading changed to a numerical system, as tricky as that is, about fifty years ago.)
     
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  2. harrymai86

    harrymai86 Jun 28, 2020 9:33pm

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    As you said it was polished incorrectly, that is alone IMO cant be categorized as very good. In addition with a bit dirty lume plots and the condition of the bezel as well. But if you are happy with it and never gonna sell it, I dont think it matters which category it falls into.
     
  3. pdxleaf

    pdxleaf Jun 28, 2020 10:30pm

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    I also have difficulty in calling it very good or good. But I think it's an attractive watch no doubt. The nice dial color in spite of the scratches overcomes the lume isses for me. I would agree that the case polishing is a bigger issue for grading. The nice bezel offsets some of the polishing. But I have much less experience.

    What I appreciate about your exercise is the practical question about how a grading system would work. You identified a few items like the lume and shape of plots. @harrymai86 identified incorrect polishing as an important criteria. If enough of those individual criteria are gathered then you would have a determination.

    I think this illustrates that a grading system could work, assumimg there would be a consensus on the criteria. Collectors know what they examine and what is important. An informal grading system already exists. If the bits from enough people are gathered and arranged it is a grading system. If a majority (say 80 %) agree and it is clear to everyone what the criteria are, then that a system could be adopted. It's very possible, although your question recognizes the challenges. @Spacefruit has shared his form, which has already completed a lot of the heavy lifting. It would be interesting to see his form (from another thread on Third Party Grading) applied to your watch.

    Don't know if you wanted your thread to become a question about a grading system. I hope I didn't overstep. Bottom line is, nice score. It's a beautiful watch, and a freaking Ed White. Congrats.
     
  4. Davidt

    Davidt Jun 29, 2020 1:33am

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    If you break it down piece by piece:

    Case - nice but polished and replacement case back - fair/good

    Dial - nice colour, original lume with good colour and some slight discolouration - good

    Movement - if an extract is obtained and serviced - good

    Bezel - some wear but generally nice - good.

    Overall it a nice and attractive piece but if if I was assessing it, I wouldn't grade any aspect as very good. Overall it's a solid 'Good' in my eyes. 'Very good' would be a flawless example that hadn't perhaps been worn for 12 months and the wear + replacement case back is more than one would expect to see over that period.
     
  5. cristos71

    cristos71 Jun 29, 2020 1:46am

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    Why don't we just invent a new category for Speedmasters of quite good? Everybody happy then? :rolleyes:
     
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  6. eugeneandresson

    eugeneandresson Jun 29, 2020 2:34am

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    One also needs to keep the following in mind :

    “Don’t forget to value of the intuitive attraction some watches have.”

    and

    Remember a Collectors Condition 2915 is probably not the same condition as a Collectors 145.022-78”

    I feel it is important to keep in mind the numbers of watches produced in this evaluation too (ie https://www.watchbooksonly.com/arti...view-of-the-speedmaster-moonwatch-production/) as the older/earlier the reference, the rarer they become the more difficult they are to find...and I assume that’s what the bold statement implies.

    It’s no trivial task ...
     
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  7. STANDY

    STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Jun 29, 2020 2:50am

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    Gooder ;)
     
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  8. watchlovr

    watchlovr Jun 29, 2020 9:19am

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    1C640869-B211-4D2B-8193-C385C5C777FF.jpeg 81724102-0987-4A00-9815-73C33133669F.jpeg FE582330-0286-4B1C-9050-C70B53E71C8E.jpeg E79D054E-0C69-48CF-B41D-9E6D539A68B0.jpeg Very interesting.
    I too would have possibly said good to v good originally, now I agree completely with the above “good“ only.
    What about my own 2998-61
    Serviced by Simon, been polished, have an extract which confirms 2998 only, nothing further.
    All parts as as far as i know original (no movement parts were changed during service)
    Edit. Crystal is a replacement.
    I think it’s easily “good” but does it edge into “v good” because of it’s (relative) rarity?
    Or am I deluding myself completely?
    Opinions very welcome.
     
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  9. eugeneandresson

    eugeneandresson Jun 29, 2020 9:41am

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    Clean dial, all lume present (no blobs missing), attractive lume color, hands original with original lume (?), great bezel ... why not? What holds it back? Do you know what the factory original case profile and finish of these looked like?
     
  10. pdxleaf

    pdxleaf Jun 29, 2020 10:56am

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    @watchlovr
    If the hands are actually original then aren't they in excellent shape? I don't see many younger watches without a hint of dirt, scratches, loss of lume, mold or dullness. Yours are bright, unmarked and have a clean aging lume.

    The dial is very clean with a consistent, dark color and only possibly a few imperfections that could be dust. My personal preference is for darker dials so I like yours.

    The lume color ticks the box for me. That shade is primo. I like that it is mostly intact but still has worn away on some of the edges. That makes me believe the slight puffiness of the lume is natural aging and they are not relumed. The color is what I look for and the lack of lumes like yours will often let me down on an otherwise nice condition watch.

    The bezel is superb. It seems too nice for such an old watch but does match the rest of the condition. I personally would have no reason to question it's authenticity, which makes it very good, if excellent means as new.

    The polishing is what brings it down a bit but as @eugeneandresson noted, earlier references earn a little slack. So compariing the case to NOS, fair? Comparing it to other 2998s, very good.

    A beautiful watch and thanks for sharing.

    So how many 2998s in this condition are out there? What happens when examples like yours become the best of the extant examples? Assuming yours is a very good, does that mean very good must become excellent because it is the best example? Probably best to keep the current rating system intact. But a grading system is just a tool. It helps to have a standard to talk between collectors but it will never be able to say, "brother, that is freaking nice watch!"

    Maybe another scale should be:
    Blah.
    Yay, it's nice.
    Ohhh, can I see that?
    The hairs on my arms are standing up.
    Holy Shit!
     
  11. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jun 29, 2020 10:57am

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    I think this is a very slippery slope. When you start sliding the scale for rarity, it becomes subjective. Grading is supposed to follow hard rules- there is no wiggle and therefore it sets a standard by which everyone can be assured they are talking the same language. The problem with watches versus something like coins, is people assess sentimental value or personal taste- I doubt anyone has actually thought- I love my penny- I think the patina is truly beautiful. The problem as I see it is when people argue taste- there is no taste in grading!
    I think the point made about breaking down parts of the watch has already found its validly in gun collecting long ago and ratings are given in percentile from perfection:
    Stock
    Receiver
    Barrel
    Breach
    Bore
    Fore-end
    Sure patina and its attraction can have an effect on the value of a gun as buyers may find one more appealing than the other- but the grading is hard data- nothing else
     
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  12. watchlovr

    watchlovr Jun 29, 2020 11:03am

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    I kinda agree with you but the phrase “Remember a Collectors Condition 2915 is probably not the same condition as a Collectors 145.022-78”

    Comes from the 101 grading/ pricing chart.
    So surely should be used exactly like the guide for don’s which is also there?
     
  13. eugeneandresson

    eugeneandresson Jun 29, 2020 11:05am

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    While I agree whole-heartedly, the problem is that, the earlier one goes, the less 'hard data' there is. As an extreme example : If one looks at that 2915 that sold some years ago for 400k (which falls into the 'NOS' category), it was nice, but not nicer in condition than e.g. the 2998 showed here (ok, maybe the dial was as clean with more attractive lume, cant remember, but it was a worn watch). Good luck trying to give a hard datapoint to a non-existing perfect mint NOS unworn 2915...

    Guns are easy. There are millions of the same things around.
     
  14. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jun 29, 2020 11:06am

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    Totally disagree- grading is not a sliding scale, it is numbers assigned to a value from 100%- it’s math.
     
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  15. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jun 29, 2020 11:12am

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    I used to frequent BMW concourses with my ‘73 3.0cs. In one show there were 3 of my generation coupe and an ‘88 M6- the M6 was the only modern coupe in the stable so they lumped it in with our coupes. I would have taken second in the show but the ‘88 was flawless and took first, bumping me to third. I was hopping mad, how could they put a car 15 years newer in the same category as ours, you cannot judge them by the same standards- but yes, you must. By using a strict scale of grading, that car was better than mine- period.
     
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  16. abrod520

    abrod520 Jun 29, 2020 11:14am

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    I'd say objectively, coldly speaking, it's a Good example. Subjectively, I think the bezel fade and hand lume are nice, but I would have to have the missing lume plots expertly matched to those remaining and so I may consider it Good Plus, but probably not Very Good
     
  17. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jun 29, 2020 11:14am

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    For modern ones, yes- but for antique, no. And the same scales of grading are used for flintlock as for a 20 year old Colt.
     
  18. pdxleaf

    pdxleaf Jun 29, 2020 11:25am

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    @JwRosenthal and @eugeneandresson. I think you are both correct and both perspectives can (must) exist at the same time.

    A grading system needs to be consistent and objective.

    But that doesn't mean a grading system should be the final word or overrule the uniqueness of a model.

    A Greek statue with no heads and no arms would be rated poor and priceless at the same time.

    BTW, love the 3.0. Never knew what it was until the father of a teammate of my daughter's crew team drove up in a 3.0 CSL. I was mesmerized. What was that? So understated but beautiful lines. The more you looked at it the more it stood out.
     
  19. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jun 29, 2020 11:36am

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    Completely agree. The act of grading is not related to rarity in any way, it’s just establishing data points. Of course a rare but well worn Speedy will be worth more than a new production model- that’s not the issue, it’s about creating sub-standards where a single standard is needed. Scarcity adds it’s own value, it is totally separate from condition.
     
  20. BatDad

    BatDad Jun 29, 2020 1:01pm

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    Agree with this - my reference point is really Comic Books - the further back in time you go, the less chance you've find to locate a 'high grade' 1940s/1950's watch.
    That being said a central registry (CGC) has been very helpful in defining/ (maintaining) the grading standards for that market segment.

    I just can't see how we'll apply, a similar complex grading scale, to watches. The other point I'm curious about - what's the perceived difference between a VeryGood Watch and an Excellent. I'm concerned excellent might only be considered NOS.
     
    Edited Jun 29, 2020 4:26pm
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