If you find or inherit an old watch you have reason to be excited as it could potentially be worth a lot of money.
But if you aren’t already a watch collector or enthusiast you might not no the watch’s worth, and you could be sitting on a small fortune.
Just because you don’t see a famous brand name like Rolex or Omega on your watch does not mean that it is not worth money.
The second-hand watch market is now hotter and more evolved than ever and a lot of lesser-known brands—Universal Geneve, Enicar, and even Movado watches are now worth some serious cash. Here is how you can determine the worth of your timepiece asset.
Identify your watch
If you don’t know what watch you have, there’s no possible way to know what its worth. To accurately determine value, you must first determine the manufacturer of the watch, and as much information as possible about the model, grade, age, size, quality and unique features of the watch.
Start with research using the search feature on our homepage.
Search for any combination of words that are written on the watch, and if you have any other pertinent details (the approximate era of when the watch was manufactured), it can be equally helpful.
Once you have narrowed down the make and model of the watch, you can start the process of estimating its worth.
As with any antique, condition of the watch is an extremely important consideration. Possibly even the most important consideration. First question to ask: Is the watch working or not?
A broken watch is worth considerably less than one that works because the buyer will factor the unknown cost of repairs to the watch’s price. Though, there are buyers who wear broken watches!
A watch is not really a good bargain if it has serious hidden mechanical problems that render it basically worthless or too expensive to repair.
The “visual appeal” of the watch can have a lot to do with its value as well. A watch with sparkling blue hands on a clean, unblemished white enamel dial gives the watch that classic look of quality that collectors demand.
Sometimes just having a unique or interesting dial or characteristics (especially in excellent condition) can enhance the value of the watch for collectors.
For example, chips or hairline cracks, straight and handsomely engraved case, the watch movement having an interesting damascening pattern, a two-tone movement, or other especially interesting visual qualities, an interesting or unusual dial, like a Montgomery, a Ferguson or a Canadian-style railroad dial.
A solid gold case can also add significantly to the value of a watch.
At this stage of the game, there are a few main places you should be looking. You can get an idea of your item’s worth by looking at comparable values. Ideally, finding a number of recorded sales for the exact same piece you’re researching would give you a fairly accurate estimation.
Discard the high and low values, and average the remaining figures. Many times, live auction results (a number of which are available online now) are used for this purpose.
Watchrecon is also a great tool in some cases, as it aggregates all listings from such online sales forums as Watchuseek, Timezone, and others.
The problem here is that the majority of users are collectors instead of retailers, so some watches might be priced a little higher than they should be. But what you need to do is to ignore anything that seems higher or lower than average.
Market trends also have a lot to do with the value. Watches and watch brands come into and out of fashion but there are some key players that maintain their value. Read: Which Watch Brands Hold Their Value
eBay is the hub of online watch sales but selling or buying a watch on eBay is a huge gamble, you need to do a ton of research on any seller as a lot of them are throwing astronomical prices on things in the hope that someone will be naïve enough to buy them.
Get a professional
Once all your research is done you may or may not be satisfied with the approximate value range that you have determined.
You can find an experienced watch professional who can provide an informed opinion for you or a professional appraiser, such as analog/shift, and many of the auction houses also do consignment sales for the right piece.
You can also use online appraisal sites such as ‘Value My Stuff’ which provides online appraisals to customers and a written appraisal certificate within 48 hours.