Collectible Old & Antique Watch Appraisals - Guide to Evaluate & Determine Appraisal Value.


Appraisal of Antique Collectible Watches


Antique Watch Appraisal - What's it Worth !

Getting to Know Your Watch - Parts & Terminology

Collectible Watches

Watch Grading Guide

A True Story - Abraham Lincoln's Watch



What Is This Old Antique Watch Worth?  

Antique-Central is here to  answer this question and more.  

First, and foremost, DEMAND determines the value of any collectible, including watches.  Antique watch appraisals are largely associated with demand, but also availability, condition, design, and desirability. Even an extremely rare watch may not carry a high appraisal value if there are not potential buyers interested in purchasing the watch. 

CONDITION of the watch case as well as the movement is extremely important in watch appraisal.  Is the original case matched with the original movement and with all original parts?  The appraisal should involve  looking for any visible scratches, dents, hairlines, chips or rust, and for any appearances of wear on the case.  Any alteration of the clock face drops the value drastically.  Dials should not be crazed or cracked.

WHAT'S INSIDE!  The watch appraisal should include a thorough examination of the internal movements of the watch, the number of jewels contained, the condition of the mechanism, and originality of parts. Higher quality watch mechanisms will exhibit a greater number of jewels used, often diamonds, rubies, sapphires, with solid gold parts. It is not unusual to find lesser quality movements within a high quality case and vice versa. In general, a good quality movement along with a good condition, original case will bring the best price. 

DESIGN - CASE IN POINT!  Simple, gold plated, unadorned antique watch cases will not carry much value unless the movement is of a prominent maker. Most valuable are highly elaborate painted, enameled and gold watch cases, particularly with precious stones.  Antique watches with intricate designs and attractive in appearance will garner more interest and thus greater value. Of course, the most desirable solid gold antique pocket watches will have much higher appraisal values.  An antique wristwatch with the original platinum or gold watch band in good condition will greatly increase its value.  Watch cases without the original movement will be significantly diminished in value.

Authentic gold cases should be stamped on the inside back cover of the watch, indicated by 14K, 18K, or 750. If there is no mark, a GF mark, or if the cover is stamped with a guarantee, it is not gold, most likely gold plated.  

HISTORICAL VALUE or previous ownership can play a huge part in the value of an antique watch; for instance, those owned or gifted by U.S. presidents, celebrities, or other historically famous artists, scientists, or authors are certain to draw more interest and appraised value. Age of the antique watch is certainly a consideration, but not always a sole determinant of value - condition, brand and quality will often outweigh age. Appraisal prices change constantly as a result of fluctuation in the gold and silver markets.

The NAME BRAND indicated on the face of the watch may not be the name of the actual  manufacturer of the watch.  The actual manufacturer will be found on the movement inside the watch.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE is the attraction to many of the most popular collectible watches and is also of some consideration in appraisal.  Designed to do more than just keep time, antique complicated watches strike the hour, quarter hour or minute with melodic chimes.  Watches with buttons, gizmos and gadgets that also display the date, day, month, moon phases, including timers and stop mechanisms, peak the interest of many antique watch collectors which increases demand, and therefore appraisal value.

In the last several years the number of American watch makers has declined as well as the number of skilled watchmakers; however, the demand for antique American watches has risen. For the sole reason that there is generally higher demand for men's watches they tend to bring higher prices than women's watches.  It is necessary for dealers to determine a fair value that will be affordable to collectors while at the same time meeting the needs of the dealer. Of course, as with most other collectibles, the more scarce the item generally the higher the price, and quality and design are most certainly qualifying factors in determining a appraised value.

Below are the antique watch grading categories used in appraisal for determining value.  Check out the Antique Watch Grading Guide on Antique Central for more detailed information on the How-To of appraising.

Pristine Mint: watch appraisal value at 100%
Mint Plus: 
watch appraisal value at 99%
Mint:  watch appraisal value at 97%
Near Mint:  watch appraisal value at 93%
Extra Fine:  watch appraisal value at 87%
Fine:  watch appraisal value at 80%
Average to Good:  watch appraisal value at 75%
Fair: watch appraisal value at 60%
Poor: watch appraisal value at 30%
Scrap: watch appraisal value at 15%






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