The years and watches have flown by since those early days of the internet watch communities and while I am no longer as active as I used to be, I do still put out feelers every now and again to see what trades I may nab. This reminds me of a couple of very favorable trades that have come my way. Funny enough, both were for Rolex watches, which is a brand I normally do not trade in.
In the early aughts, I had a Panerai PAM111 which I had listed on the forums for trade. A friend of mine in British Columbia was interested. He had been considering Panerai watches for a while, but did not have anything of equal value to offer me and I was not really interested in trading up. After going back and forth for a while, he offered me his Rolex Seadweller 16600 for it. Straight up! Yes, the Seadweller was worth much more, but you have to understand, the Canadian watch market is not like the U.S., especially back then.
Importing a watch from any other country, including the United States, can come along with fees of up to 35% of the retail value. Finding a watch that you want, from a trusted seller, already in Canada was a big deal. So I accepted and we made the trade. I loved that watch very much, but it had a tiny spec under the crystal that drove me nuts. It was still under warranty, so I sent it to RSC in Toronto, who found nothing wrong with it. Once I got it back, I wound up trading it for another Rolex, a white Explorer II 16570.
The other very memorable trade was about 5 years ago. At the time I had a Breitling Chronomat GMT with the B04 in-house chronograph movement. A spectacular, but HUGE watch. I was enjoying it very much, but again, decided to put out some feelers on the forums, just to see what might turn up. Within days I received a message from a U.S. Navy officer stationed in Hawaii, asking questions about the Breitling. He did not make an offer right away, but it was obvious he was keen on the watch.
A week and several messages later, I got a new message saying, what the heck, I really want your watch. Would you accept my nearly new Rolex Explorer II 216570? One would have to be very stupid to turn down that offer, so I accepted. This was not one of the Rolexes that had skyrocketed in value yet, but it was still worth quite a bit more than my Breitling. From what I remember, he was very happy with his Breitling, and we still communicate every once in a while on Instagram.
The way I see it, there is no such thing as a lopsided trade. If both parties are happy with what they receive, then it is a fair trade. Believe me, I have been on the other side of these trades many, many times and have never regretted a single one. I am not in this to make money, I am in it to experience and enjoy as many watches as I can, and if in the process I acquire some new friends, that is the price I am more than willing to pay.