How Do You Estimate the Value of a Vintage Watch?

Estimate How Much Those Antique Watches Are Really Worth

Whether you’ve added a vintage pocket watch or an antique wristwatch to your collection, you’re probably wondering what the value of your new timepiece is be. You can take the watch to a watch expert or an appraiser to estimate the market value, but there are also some things you can do on your own to get a fairly good idea of how much your watch is worth.Here are nine important tips for determining the value of a vintage watch:

1. Identify the Manufacturer, Make and Model

Just like a car, you need to know who made the watch and what the make and model number is. This will make it easier to find information of similar models by the same watchmaker for an appraisal.

2. Calculate the Age

It’s not always easy to determine the age of a watch just by looking at it or by referencing the serial number on the watch case. In most cases, you can find the serial number on the movement of the watch.

3. Inspect Material Quality

Many vintage watches have a high jewel count which means you are looking at a higher quality watch. The general rule is movements with 23 or 24 jewels are of the highest quality while those with less than 15 jewels are lower quality.

4. Check Out Materials Used

In addition to the quality of materials, you’ll want to pay attention to the types of materials used to make the watch. Is it made of solid gold or is it gold plated? Do you see signs of sterling silver details? Are there any other precious metals or even gemstones on the watch? These types of materials can all add value to the watch. 

5. Note the Condition of the Watch

A watch that’s still in good working condition and has been serviced regularly will command more dollars than a non-working watch. Some people like to use non-working watches as parts while others simply like the look of the watch and keep it in their collection.

6. Verify Authenticity

Watches that haven’t been tinkered with — nothing’s been replaced or refurbished — maintain their value for many years. If there are any signs of replacing any part of the watch, the value drops drastically. 

7. Note the Overall Appearance

Watches that are free of major scratches, dents, or dings are valued over those that are damaged even slightly. However, the appraisal value of a watch with unique characteristics and features, such as a two-tone dial or unique engravings, will usually be worth more than others. If you have a limited edition watch on your hands, even better.

8. Hold On to Limited Productions

Rarity also plays an important role in the valuation of a timepiece. If only small batches of a certain type of watch were produced and the watch is still working, the watch will probably be worth a lot more today than it was a century or two ago. Mass-produced watches, on the other hand — even if they are in almost stellar condition — don’t typically receive high appraisals because they are costly to repair and might still be easy to obtain. 

9. Study the Market

In many cases, the market determines the value of a vintage watch so your appraisal might be much higher than expected when somebody has been documenting that watch or it’s been listed in a book. Do some research to find out if your particular watch is ‘in demand’ and what types of people are looking for them. Are you a fan of vintage watches? Share your thoughts on vintage watches and valuations below!Watch Gang is the World's #1 Watch Club where you can discover new brands of watches and even some vintage finds. Get a brand new watch every month PLUS the chance to win a Rolex and TAG every week!