Why the Gallet Multichron Astronomic 'only' sold for $6,311
The Gallet Multichron Astronomic I told you about last week? It sold for 'only' $6,311. This is why I'm not surprised.
$6,311 is not a small amount of money by any means but the seller was optimistically expecting a result of between $15,000 to $20,000 so, with an final sale price of less than half that estimate, it's worth wondering why this piece didn't sell for more. The seller of the Astronomic was the same seller who sold the Gallet Flight Officer a few months back that sold for $6,250, a thousand or so dollars below their auction estimate. How is it that a chronograph can sell for almost as much as a triple calendar moonphase chronograph? I think it comes down to brand recognition, brand narrative, condition and photography.
There is no way of sugarcoating this but Gallet just isn't as well known as their contemporaries from the same period. Yes, you and I know about Gallet but even among the watch community they are still an outsider even among other outsiders. Whilst Gallet is technically still around, they haven't released a watch in a number of years, have a dated website and only just got an Instagram account within the last few months and all this works against the sale of vintage pieces.
There is a case to be made that Omegas and Heuer of the same period would be of similar quality (In fact they would probably use the same Valjoux movement as the Astronomic) but their names carry so much more appeal and caché that they would trump the Gallet in sales every single time.
The term 'brand narrative' already exists within marketing but I'm using it to define what watches a collector associates a certain brand with. With Rolex it could be dive watches and chronographs, with Jaeger-LeCoultre it could be elegant dress watches or with Nomos it could be Bauhaus watches. Gallet's brand narrative is military chronographs, specifically the Flight Officer, and this Astronomic just doesn't fit with what people think of Gallet which could be why it didn't fetch a higher price. If more pieces like the Astronomic come up for sale and get coverage, then maybe that narrative will change.
Condition & Photography
The bigger the claim, the more proof you need to back it up and in vintage watch sales, photography is king. Without upclose macro shots of any scratches to the dial or case, or of the moonphase dial up-close, it stops potential bidders from seeing the full picture and without that information they are more likely to err on the side of caution. It would have been better to show a macro photograph with of any scratch clearly displayed rather than let potential customers imaginations run amok.
When you're expecting a sale in the tens of thousands of dollars on a vintage watch, I think you should give any potential customers all the information about the watch and let them decide on whether certain elements are up to their standard.