Original price of a vintage East German wristwatch

Last year I bought a vintage automatic GUB 75 (Glashütte)Spezimatic wristwatch on eBay. It looks identical to the model shown on this page.

Googling indicates that the GUB 75 series was manufactured from 1964 to 1979 or 1980. I was wondering if there is any way of finding out what the original price would have been, if only approximately. I’m not a collector of antique watches—in fact, I don’t know the first thing about them—and bought this one only because I admire the design. I wear it daily now. I’m curious what it would have set me back if I had bought it new back in the day.

Try www.collectorsweekly.com. They seem to cover about everything.

I’d say around 250-300 DDM.

May I ask how you arrived at that estimate?

On further thought, I don’t think 250 DDM can possibly be right. That price in 1980 would be only about €25 today when adjusted for inflation. That seems ridiculously cheap considering the quality of the watch and the fact that they sell for €100 to €400 today.

This page appears to have a catalog from 1968. The image captioned “Werbekataloge der GUB für Spezimaticmodelle” appears to have your model pictured. I think the “197,80” indicates a price of not quite 200 DDM, but I don’t know German and Google Translate doesn’t work on images yet. :frowning:

Good find! The page is from the export catalog (i.e., for sales to hard currency nations) and so buyers would be expected to pay at the government’s very inflated conversion rate of one East German mark (DDM) to one West German mark (DEM). And factoring in inflation, 197.80 DEM in 1968 would be about €333 today.

I guess Telperion’s estimate was not far off if one uses the government exchange rate.

The page linked by Kimble in the initial bullet list quotes a range of 186-480 DDM, except for watches with golden case. Presumably that would variation in models and the whole 15-year production run.

We‘ll need to put that into perspective: in 1980 the mean East German salary was just 1021 DDM/month (you could live on that because rent was ridiculously cheap).

Yes, though it’s not clear whether that price range includes domestic prices. The page does seem to focus on the Western export market for these watches, and if I’m reading correctly, indicates that production for export was given priority over the domestic market. (“Der Abschluss von Exportverträgen, die über die vom Außenhandel der DDR geplanten Größenordnungen hinausging, wurde zu lasten der inländischen Bedarfsabdeckung vorrangig realisiert.”) It could be that domestic prices were lower, or that the watches simply weren’t available in local shops.

I used to be into Cold War memorabilia, mostly badges and insignia and such, but sometimes I would see watches sold with original receipts and they were mostly in that range.

I’m pretty sure 197.80.- was the government mandated price, which is probably why the larger model costs exactly the same down to the pfennig. Anyway, they certainly didn’t export a million watches a year, so I’d guess most of them were sold domestically.

I visited Moscow in 1990 on a high school trip. We visited the GUM department store, where I bought the most expensive watch they had on display. It was about $6 at the official exchange rate of the time. So I’m not sure about your watch, but many products in the eastern bloc were surprisingly cheap. Anything that wasn’t manufactured there, though, was very expensive, restricted in access, or entirely unavailable.

If you still have your watch, or remember the name of the make and model, you should check eBay and online watch dealers to see what they’re selling for nowadays. Could be that, like mine, it’s greatly appreciated in price.