Watches, like many accessories, have a history to them. But the one thing about watches is that they are relatively new compared to many accessories and pieces of jewelry. Rings, necklaces, and bracelets have all been worn for millenia, but pocket watches were said to have first been invented in the early to mid 17th century, and wrist watches only became widely popular in the early 20th century. Since watches have only been around for the average person for one to two hundred years, it may not be uncommon for people to own watches with some value to them. The value, however, depends on a few key factors.
Factors to Consider When Determining the Value of Your Designer Watch
Generally, there are two categories when it comes to appraising a watch: antiques or rare finds and high-value watches that are still wearable, whether they are old or new. When appraising a designer watch, the same factors are often used.
One of the biggest factors to consider when appraising a watch is the brand. Brands like Rolex, Breitling, and Omega are brands of designer watches that hold their value regardless of their age. These brands are well-known in the industry for producing high-quality pieces, but the names themselves help. If the brand offers a unique movement (how the watch is powered), or complication (a feature the watch offers other than telling the time), this also helps to increase the value.
When looking at the overall condition of the watch, it can be broken down into appearance and function.
- Appearance: An appraiser will look at the watch to inspect for scratches, nicks, or other blemishes in the surface of the metal and strap, if there are crystals or other stones, the condition of any crystals or stones, if there are any missing decorative elements, embellishments or parts, and more.
- Function: Does the watch function as intended? Features that are inspected include the watch’s clasp, movement complications, and movement timing. The functionality of the watch can range from poor to new, and obviously the watches that run smoothly and are accurate and more valuable.
Watches are often like wines in that they become more valuable with age, however, there needs to be certain signs of age in order for this to be true. Patina is an effect that can create a gloss or sheen on certain metals as the item is exposed for long periods of time, and the surface oxidizes. If your 70-year-old Rolex has a faded, brown hue to it, it could be a very valuable piece. If you take the same watch, though, and it has a like-new gold or silver look to it, it may not be worth as much. Signs of age that do not affect how the watch functions can increase the value.
Box and Papers
It’s often rare for a vintage watch to still have the original paperwork and box that it was purchased with. But when a watch is backed up with an original box or paperwork, it can greatly increase the value. Paperwork includes warranty cards, certification card, and the watch’s serial number, reference number, or model number. The box may have unique brand identification or the year of manufacture on it. When a watch is appraised without these items, it can significantly impact the value.
Authenticity and Demand
Replicas or counterfeits are obviously not worth as much as an original timepiece. The authenticity of a watch can be verified with original markings and serial number, and even better when this information is on original paperwork. Keep in mind that an original watch that is not in high-demand at the time may not be worth as much.
Alec Baldwin wore a gold Rolex in Glengarry Glen Ross; Richard Dreyfuss wore an Alsta Nautoscaph in Jaws; and Sean Connery wore a Rolex in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die — if you own the same make of watch, or better yet, the same make and model, there’s a good chance that the watch is worth more and will always be popular with watch appraisers. Celebrity watches, or watches that are hard to find, are factors that help to increase a watch’s value.
To appraise a designer watch takes experience and knowledge as well as understanding how to find and compare similar watches that are for sale. Understanding the history of a brand and whether they are known for quality pieces, knowing the complexities of the mechanics of a watch, and understanding how age can play a role in the value of a watch are all components of looking at comparable watches.
If you are wanting to sell a watch, want to learn more about watches, or want to purchase a designer watch and need to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want, the expert staff at Loucri Jewelers can help. We are passionate about quality designer watches, and we can’t wait to talk with you about finding or selling a watch. We offer a wide range of well-known, high-end watches and strive to provide personalized service. Visit us today in Greenvale, New York.