June 10, 2024

The $50,000 Sticker

At an antiques roadshow event in Fargo, North Dakota, a man brought in a watch that he had stashed in a safety deposit box for fifty years.

It was a Rolex Cosmograph Oyster Reference 6263 with a Panda Paul Newman dial that he had purchased for about $350 bucks in the early 70s.

The appraiser told the gentleman that a watch like his would probably sell at auction for $400,000.

However, since this particular one had the original sticker on the back, all the original paperwork, and had never been worn, it could sell for as much as $600,000.

It’s unclear exactly how much value the watch would have lost if the dude had decided to peel the sticker off the back, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in the neighborhood of $50,000.

For a sticker.

Here’s the thing...

It’d be easy to walk away from this story thinking, “Watch collectors are crazy,” but that would be a mistake.

Watch collectors are not crazy. They just value watches differently than other people.

Valuing things differently is not unique to watch collectors. You do the exact same thing, but probably about things other than watches.

Stuff like cars, houses, phones, computers, coffee, power drills, bathroom renovations, blue jeans, olive oil, dress shoes, dental insurance, beer, piano lessons, vacation excursions, snow removal, sparkling water, training classes, puppy adoption fees, hot sauce, etc...

In other words, basically everything.

Value is something that exists in the mind of the buyer.

It is not an inherent property of the product or service itself.

Watch buyers care deeply about the “provenance” of a particular watch. In other words, the story behind the watch. And in this case, the sticker is a very important part of the story.

Which raises the question...

What part of your story is important to your ideal buyers?