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Two purchases from @Dre

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  1. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 21, 2020

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    There are over 40 pages of DMs between myself and Dre on OF plus even more on whatsapp, so it is very time consuming to try and wade through everything and find the relevant communications, then edit out what is not relevant, while still keeping completely accurate, etc......

    This Spillman UG is the first watch in question of the two purchases. At the time, Dre was trying to fund a purchase on a Jeager watch that was time sensitive, and I was trying to help out with coming up with funds. Half way through the deal Dre passed on the Jaeger and was instead going for Rolex 6542, which was even more time sensitive on funds, so things were moving quickly, and for me it was more just trying to help a buddy go after their grail watch, rather than being really interested in the particular watch myself. (Before it was even serviced and back to me, I was already clear with Dre that I didn't want to keep it and needed his help to buy back or sell and recover my funds).

    P1010758_adj.jpg

    In terms of a little backstory, prior to this point I had purchased 12-13 watches from Dre and never had any issues, so I assumed that I could trust him completely. Also all the valuations he had given me on those watches had been completely accurate up to that point, so again I felt I could trust that his valuations were accurate. Lastly, there were no market comps for a Spillman Compur 30 with a big scratch, so there was no way for me to "verify" market value.

    Here are communications via DM on OF from that time period......

    NOV 22 2017
    Hi Ben,
    Would you be interested on a project rare black dial Compur 30 UG Spillman by any chance? I think I'm going to make a run for the Jaeger by selling a couple of my watches that are still at my watchmaker.
    Best
    Andre

    Hi Ben,
    The watch is running, but it will definitely need service. Blake can get this done easily in the US, he did my gold Compur 30 as well. There is a scratch on the dial, regular wear and tear on the case. And as you can see, the pusher caps are missing, but I'm sure this is something that Blake can source and replaced.

    The good thing is that EVERYTHING on this watch is original, including all hands, crown and even glass (though I would probably replace the glass). It is actually not quite a project, because all parts are original, only relume job and pusher caps needed. Service is required eventually on this kind of watch. And I did get a bargain for it, only need $15k. As you know this watch goes north $30k these days. So all in, with relume job probably a few hundred bucks, service and pusher caps for $1k tops, this watch will still cost much less than $20k at the end.

    This was going to be one of my personal grail ticked off when ready, as it's a UG, black dial, rare Compur 30, and a 38mm Spillman case too. I need $22k on the black dial Jaeger, sounds kinda ridiculous because the Jaeger is a 35mm case, snapback too, and this Spillman UG cost much less. But I think I might regret the Jaeger if I pass on it. Let me know if this is something that you might be interested for.
    Best
    Andre

    Hi Dre,
    Wow, interesting project! Lots of questions.
    This hinges on how well the dial can be improved. I don’t have enough experience with this. Can the old paint (please note this is in reference to that fact that there was some white paint on the dial that had been added for night visibility that had to be flaked off) be removed without damaging the existing graphics? What about areas like 15 and 45 where dots have been added? Also that is a major scratch, would you leave it alone or try to touch it up?
    What would the fallback plan be if the dial couldn’t be improved or if it was badly damaged?
    I’m not very familiar with UG spillman, if price for something like this is 30k is that for really good condition or this kind of condition?
    When do you need a decision and how quickly would you need the money?
    Anyhow I’m intrigued, also a lot of money for me and a bit out of my depth. How confident are you on this project? How long have you had it?
    Thx
    Ben


    Hi Ben,
    To be honest I was recommended to get the scratch touched up, because this is normal to be done on vintage Rolex, but I was going to leave it as is. And just put it this way, this is meant to be one of my personal grail, so there is no fallback plan and I'm quite confident that the relume will fix the numerals and hands issues.

    Well $30k is just a ballpark, these pieces have sold for much higher price by dealers. And not very often you can find in a "barn" condition like this. That's why I had to get this when I had the opportunity, and lucky it was a bargain too for me.

    Yes that's what I was saying on the Jaeger, is not even Spillman, nor oversize, nor screwback case, but that's the market. I guess that's the reason why, had the Compur 30 is in great condition, it goes for $30k.

    I have until the 26th Sydney time, so 3 days to make the decision. However I will need to sell the Compur 30 Spillman soon if I were to say yes to the seller of the Jaeger though. If it's too much of a project for you, feel free to not take it. I have a few people in mind who would be interested so I think I should be ok for it.
    Best
    Andre

    NOV 24
    Morning Dre,
    I actually prefer the anonymous (spillman I have already purchased from you). I know the UG is more rare, valuable, etc, but just going off looks, I like the anon, plus at half the price ($8K), that helps.
    The UG I'm more just going off your experience, it's really hard for me to evaluate until the dial and hands are redone and back together. I'm more than happy to buy into the project and see how it comes out. If I love it even more than the anon At the end, I would be fine trading/selling the anon back to you, or if you love the UG I could sell it back to you at cost, or if neither one of us wants to keep, I was assuming I could at least flip at cost to someone else. But it's hard for me to make that decision right now until the work is done.
    Anyhow getting back to the moment, all that matters in the short term is that you can cash flow the jaeger, so whatever we need to do, let's figure it out. If you don't need as much money I'm also happy to go in half with you on the UG spillman and whoever wants it more when it's done can buy the other out?
    Not sure if that's helpful, lol. A bunch more random ideas.
    But I should get to the bank today and do a wire of something if you need to close this deal over the weekend.
    Let me know your thoughts
    Thx!
    Ben

    NOV 27th
    Hi Ben,

    Hopefully I will get the fund (the wire from me) soon, I've just committed on a $50k watch. Passed on the Jaeger for now. Will need every cent I can get by Friday.

    Best
    Andre
     
    Edited May 22, 2020
  2. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 21, 2020

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    I believe this accurately captures the scene around the purchase of the first watch. That is as much as I have time for today. The next step is to document the time period during and after the watch was serviced and delivered to me, in which I asked for help from Dre over and over to recover my funds, and how I eventually realized I had been completely burned.

    I appreciate if people wait for the full story to be documented, as I think it speaks for itself, and not get side tracked with lots of diversions in between.
     
  3. aap

    aap May 22, 2020

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    Hi @bgrisso

    Just to clarify, regarding the GP, regardless of whether you got to sell it at $8000 or $6,000, it was still sold to you at $16,000?
     
  4. STANDY

    STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector May 22, 2020

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    Technical timeout.
    B1E95909-43F3-4D4A-A85D-9CD2D5D1CAD6.gif

    That’s not a scratch, that’s a gouge.
     
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  5. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    yes, the GP Tri was sold to me as a “favor” at 16k USD in appreciation since I help cash flow the above deal. I will be getting to all that in great detail, but that is watch #2 and I’m still trying to finish up with watch #1
     
  6. aap

    aap May 22, 2020

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    Noted; so sold to you for $16k but he tried helping you resell it at $6-8k. Got it.
     
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  7. pIoNeErOfThEnILe

    pIoNeErOfThEnILe May 22, 2020

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    when are we going to get to the meat and potatoes
     
  8. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    Picking back up with remainder of watch #1 story......

    The service on the watch took much longer than expected and cost twice as much ($2K USD). My cost on the watch was Dre's asking price at $15K USD plus 2K service, so $17K USD total.

    Watch was delivered to me on May 9th 2018, about six months after payment was made.

    During this 6 month interval I made it clear, on countless occasions, that I did not intend to keep the watch, and was not able to financially, and ask for Andre's help in either taking the watch back (since it was another grail for him), trade options, brokering a sale, etc. I will not bother to post all the DMs, it would fill many many pages.

    On May 29th, Andre asked me to send the Spillman Compur 30 to menta watches for them to sell. (It sat with them without any results until it was returned to me on Nov 13th, about 6 months later. I did not have any interactions with Menta watches, that was all handled by Andre).

    Another option that was raised by Andre on June 23rd was a trade on this watch, which he valued at $7200 USD.

    Compax.jpg

    I agreed to this option and asked for details on exactly how the balance (remaining $10K USD) of the trade would be handled. I never got a clear answer or solution on how the remainder of the balance would be handled, and after this discussion was dragging on for three months, by Sep 17th 2018, I told Andre I was not comfortable making a partial trade without a clear agreement on how to handle the remaining 10K balance.

    I have continued to ask Andre for a resolution on this situation over the past 1.5 years, propose various trades and scenarios, without any success. I'm still holding this watch, and I'm still out $17K USD.

    Andre has stated repeatedly, including in this thread, that he stands by the accuracy of his market pricing on this watch. He has stated that the market has simply gone down for this watch since the purchase, and that additionally I have ruined the value of this watch in my attempts to sell the watch. I call total BS on both counts. I have collected UG almost exclusively for years, and the value across my entire collection has been completely stable and increased, with no significant losses aside from these two watches from Andre.

    The ethical and legal issues on this watch transaction center around the valuation that was provided by Andre, which was wildly inaccurate.

    Speaking first to the ethical situation. if a friend offers to help you cashflow a grail watch as a favor, and you are the far more experienced collector, and you turn around and screw them over by offering to sell a watch that has major condition issues, and charge many multiples of market value, then leave them holding the bag..........I would like to see anyone respond here and justify that kind of behavior.

    Speaking to the legal issues, I have been advised that the market valuation was so significantly misrepresented in this case, an argument can be made there was intent to defraud, supported by the use of mail and wire services, which have a 5 year statute of limitations. I am not a lawyer, and my intention is not to debate legal issues here on the forum, as I don't really see any purpose in that. I am simply providing information.

    I will move onto watch transaction #2, the Girard Perregaux Tri Compax, which is even more messed up, especially since it compounds and follows on the heels of this first one.
     
  9. pIoNeErOfThEnILe

    pIoNeErOfThEnILe May 22, 2020

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    so you paid 15k for the watch, and had to spend another 2k to fix service it...but it turns out the watch was worth aprox half of that.

    again,..i'm just trying to be objective

    let me remind everyone what you wrote.

    "I was trying to help out with coming up with funds."

    "for me it was more just trying to help a buddy go after their grail watch, rather than being really interested in the particular watch myself."

    "I was already clear with Dre that I didn't want to keep it and needed his help to buy back or sell and recover my funds"


    "I had purchased 12-13 watches from Dre and never had any issues"

    "I'm more than happy to buy into the project and see how it comes out."

    so after the service and fix the watch became a 7.5k watch..this is because it was never a $15/20k watch to begin with, or the market changed some. prolly a combo of both. now you're pissed because you feel duped, even though you bought 13 watches from him and everything you wrote made it seem like you would let him date your sister.

    now you write this "During this 6 month interval I made it clear, on countless occasions, that I did not intend to keep the watch, and was not able to financially,"

    now you have financial problems once the watch becomes worth half. and dre is now the devil
     
  10. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    Moving onto the second watch. Right around the same time that the purchase was made on the first watch detailed above, Andre shared pics of a new arrival..

    GP Tri 1.jpg

    GP Tri 2.jpg

    The following discussion was had at that time via OF DM....

    NOV 28th 2017
    wow, gorgeous! Does the GP branding make it more, less, or same value as UG? Whats the case size? Are you open to a trade on this one, or a keeper for you?
    thx
    Ben


    Hi Ben,

    Hard to say on the GP branding, whether or not they command premium, because they are so rare and hard to put a price on it. GP Tri-Compax is one of the rarest Tri-Compax variant there is. Definitely not less, but I think it's probably around the same price, if not, maybe just a little bit more than the UG.

    The case size is just over 37mm on this, a tiny bit bigger than my UG Tri-Compax too. I'm not sure yet about what to do with this one, because it just came, and it's probably one of the rarest watch I have apart from the SAS and the Jaeger by UG.

    Best
    Andre

    -----------
    We continued to have discussions around the GP Tri, since I was looking for an oversized UG Tri compax in SS, and had asked for Andre's help in securing one, since I just helped out to cashflow the 6542. Eventually Andre offered the watch to me for 20K AUD. He stated he already had another buyer at this price, but was selling to me as a favor. Some more pics were shared and then after that you can see the screen shots for discussions on payment.

    GP Tri 3.jpg

    GP Tri 4.JPG

    Feb 25th 2018

    Screen-1.jpg
    Screen-2.jpg
    Screen-3.jpg
     
  11. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    When the watch arrived on March 11th 2018, it looks like this, and I was surprised by the difference in patina between all of his pictures and what I was seeing in hand. Here's a shot I took which is a better representation of dial condition.

    P1010106_adj.jpg

    I still liked the watch, but I was a bit taken aback at the difference in dial patina. When I mentioned it to Andre he suggested I could get the dial cleaned. This is where I made a big mistake. I should have immediately and very strongly insisted on a return. By coincidence, the same week I had just gotten an oversized UG Tri compax with the exact same identical case to the GP. It needed some work, and so all my attention went into getting the UG serviced, and figured I would just decide between the two when it was back from service.

    When the UG was back from service I liked it much better, and had gotten it much cheaper, so I didn't have any use for the GP, so decided to sell. Again, at this point I was still under the impression that I had gotten a fair price, and should have no trouble letting go at cost. (I had tried to research before buying and could not find a single market comp for a GP Tri of this size and condition, so I didn't have anything to compare).

    When I went to list the watch for sale I notice two problems....

    1) there was a piece of the case missing on the watch. You can see on the side shot there is a whole section missing under the pusher on the left, causing it to fall down. This was a major problem and major impact on value, and was not disclosed by Andre. I should have done a detailed inspection when the watch first arrived, but I didn't catch it somehow, I'm not sure how. This obviously should have been disclosed.

    P1010109_adj2.jpg


    2) I was reviewing pictures from Andre, and I noticed something weird. He had resent me some of the same pics after I purchase the watch (when we were discussing a question on the moonphase disc condition). The first pic below was sent BEFORE I paid for the watch. The second pic below was sent AFTER I paid for the watch. Notice anything??!!

    Before Sale Version.JPG
    After Sale Version.JPG

    This is what happens when you don't keep track of your processed and unprocessed pics! As you can see the photo has been significantly retouched/processed, and this explains why all of his photos that I received were so different in terms of not showing the dial patina.

    So, aside from repeating the same wildly inaccurate valuation as happened for watch #1, also Andre is claiming that GP branding is worth equal or more than UG branding (which I now understand is insane), and also the sale photos were reprocessed to hide condition issues, and also a major piece of the case was missing and not disclosed.

    I went through a similar process with this watch as the first, asking for a return, asking for a trade, asking to broker a sale, etc. Eventually Andre offered to broker a sale at $8K USD, which I did, lacking any other options, and so I lost $8K on this watch

    Again, I think the ethical issues are clear and undeniable.

    Again, I have been advised a legal case can be made for fraud, given the retouched photos and the unreported case condition issues.
     
  12. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    So, that's the long version, I think it backs up exactly my first post in this thread, which I tried to be fair and accurate without getting into all of this detail and drama. I also clearly stated in that first post that no one twisted my arm and forced me to purchase the watches, and I accept my partial responsibility for that. I made a few classic noob mistakes along the way.

    I thought I was dealing with a friend, someone I could trust, someone that also had my best interests in mind. I had no idea someone would take the opportunity to completely screw me over, not once, but twice, to the maximum degree possible. And all the while since then, to never take responsibility for anything, to never acknowledge anything, and to suggest the entire situation is my fault. I still find it shocking, and unbelievable, and really upsetting. The lost funds are a huge amount of money for me, and even more than the money, the amoral and cruel nature of this entire episode have kept me awake on many nights over the past two years.

    In my opinion this kind of bad behavior has no place in the watch community, and is a disgrace to this forum.
     
  13. dsacks30

    dsacks30 May 22, 2020

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    Full disclosure: I recently purchased a UG from @bgrisso and found him to be a great seller.

    I see the transaction on the UG spillman (watch #1) as a friend essentially loaning another friend $15K at zero interest with a watch as the collateral. In reading through the DMs, Ben's overriding concern was helping a buddy whom he had purchased a dozen watches from. Yes, he was not forced to purchase this watch, but he clearly thought that by doing so he could help a friend secure a grail of his. And his expectation was that Dre would either repay this loan and keep the UG or help Ben resell this UG at cost - essentially repaying the loan.

    Ben wrote: "At the time, Dre was trying to fund a purchase on a Jeager watch that was time sensitive, and I was trying to help out with coming up with funds. Half way through the deal Dre passed on the Jaeger and was instead going for Rolex 6542, which was even more time sensitive on funds, so things were moving quickly, and for me it was more just trying to help a buddy go after their grail watch, rather than being really interested in the particular watch myself."

    The DMs support this: "Anyhow getting back to the moment, all that matters in the short term is that you can cash flow the jaeger, so whatever we need to do, let's figure it out. If you don't need as much money I'm also happy to go in half with you on the UG spillman and whoever wants it more when it's done can buy the other out?"

    I want to also focus on the ethical dimension: how many people on this forum have been forced to pass on a grail because cash was tight at that moment? How many people on this forum would have loved having a friend who had the decency and selflessness to essentially spot them the cash they needed to buy a grail, who they could then essentially repay at zero interest over a period of time? To me, the worst part of that first transaction is that someone took advantage of another person trying to do them a solid and help them purchase a dream watch.
     
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  14. pIoNeErOfThEnILe

    pIoNeErOfThEnILe May 22, 2020

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    "I went through a similar process with this watch as the first, asking for a return, asking for a trade, asking to broker a sale, etc. Eventually Andre offered to broker a sale at $8K USD, which I did, lacking any other options, and so I lost $8K on this watch"

    please tell me

    how do u buy a watch for 16k from dre and send it to him have him sell it shortly thereafter for 8k
     
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  15. shishy

    shishy May 22, 2020

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    Been following this since the beginning... the difference in those pictures is ridiculous. I'd be livid if anyone sold me a watch with touched up pictures, especially at that price. :(
     
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  16. pIoNeErOfThEnILe

    pIoNeErOfThEnILe May 22, 2020

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    yes,...there is a big discrepancy there. sadly it didn't seem bad enough for gris to ask for his 16k back..as photo can be manipulated good/bad

    the missing case from under the pusher is bad as well.
     
  17. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker May 22, 2020

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    Please tell me - where do you get "shortly thereafter" from?

    I see "eventually" but nothing referring to how long this actually was. So why are you assuming it is "shortly"?

    And in any case, how is this relevant?
     
  18. pIoNeErOfThEnILe

    pIoNeErOfThEnILe May 22, 2020

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    because nobody buys a watch for 16k and sells it a month later for half that..i'm just trying to stay in context of what was said. nothing was implied that it was long time afterward
     
    Edited May 22, 2020
  19. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    There was no shortly thereafter, it was 15 months later.
     
    Edited May 22, 2020
  20. bgrisso

    bgrisso May 22, 2020

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    Of course I asked for the 16K back, I can't even count how many times. All I said was I didn't insist IMMEDIATELY for a refund. I just assumed this watch was like all the previous watches I had gotten from Andre at good market value, so there was no rush to decide if I wanted to keep until my other (very similar) UG Tri was back from service.
     
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