Watch Appraisal Guide | How Do I Find The Value of My Watch?

Watch Appraisal Guide

Buying or selling a watch requires an expert eye, but if this is your first time doing a watch appraisal, it’s important to be aware of what the experts look for by knowing the answers to the most fundamental questions. Here is what you can expect from a watch appraisal.

What Happens During a Watch Appraisal?

Tissot watch on green rug with sunrays filtering in
Image via Unsplash by brunovdkraan

During a watch appraisal, you will meet an expert on watches who will study your piece and inspect the aesthetic and mechanical qualities of the watch to determine its value. The process can take more than a single visit as the expert may need to conduct research.

Why Should You Get Your Watch Appraised?

There are different reasons why you should have your watch appraised, including:

  • To determine the replacement value for insurance purposes if something happens to your piece. 
  • To get the fair market value, which is an estimated price for your piece if you decide to sell it.
  • To liquidate or quickly sell your watch, which may result in a lower cost for your piece. 

How Much Does It Cost To Get a Watch Appraised?

Appraisers’ fees are not fixed, but there are a few common factors that dictate price:

  • Watch-specifics: Appraisers can base their fees on the size of your watch or the make/brand. 
  • Appraiser’s knowledge: They may also charge based on their years and knowledge of expertise.
  • Time: They can charge by the hour or charge a flat fee.

What you should be wary of are appraisers whose fee is based on a percentage of the sell since the most-trusted and unbiased appraisers charge for their time and expertise.

Considerations for a Watch Appraisal

The following are the most important questions an appraiser will have to answer for a successful watch appraisal.

How Rare Is the Watch?

Rarity is a critical factor when determining how precious a watch is. Is your watch one of a 100 in the world, or are there thousands of the same model circulating? Your appraiser should be able to research the watch’s manufacturing history and learn how many were made and how widespread this watch was. Or, they may already have this vital information.

What’s the Watch’s Condition?

Black and gold gears inside watch, closeup for watch appraisal concept
Image via Unsplash by joshredd

The condition of your watch mostly involves how well it operates, which can indicate how well it’ll continue to work for another owner. Regardless of how old a watch is, if the engine isn’t working, it’ll be hard to sell. To ensure your watch is working well, you can take it to an established watchmaker who can take it apart. In doing so, your engine can be lubricated and pressure tested to have it working seamlessly. Your appraiser will also check that it’s in good working condition, too, when you bring it in.

Condition may also include the aesthetic appearance of the watch face, band, and other external elements. Scratches, tarnishing, cracks, or other blemishes on the piece may lower its value. Having the watch cleaned and repaired, if that’s in your budget, may help you increase the value of the watch.

What Is the Quality of the Watch?

The quality of a watch involves the materials it’s made of and its jewel count, which is the number of jewels used as bearings in the watch. The jewel count will significantly determine the watch’s quality and its price.

A watch with 15 jewels or fewer is considered a low-grade watch. Those with 15 to 17 jewels are known as fully jeweled, while those with 19 jewels or more are classified as higher-grade watches. 

Jewel count is not the only determining factor. The materials used for the engine and the exterior as well as the age play into quality, too. In addition, a digital watch will not have as much value as a mechanical one. A mechanical watch with a tick is generally given a higher appraisal because such engines can endure great heights and depths without issues.

How Unique Is the Watch?

More unique watches tend to be of more value, especially to watch collectors. Your appraiser will look for the following unique qualities:

  • A low serial number.
  • A specific manufacturing date/decade.
  • Certain exciting technological features.

How Complex Is Your Watch?

Generally, the more complex your watch is, the more valuable it is. These complexities could be anything from minute repeaters to perpetual calendars or power reserve functions.

How Reputable Is Your Watch’s Brand?

The brand name of a watch often comes with a certain prestigious reputation or a reputation for making high-quality timepieces since the best mechanics will be found in watches made by reputable brands. Sometimes, the reputation of some brands is enough to bring a substantial weight to the watch’s value. These include brands like Patek Philippe and Rolex.

While some watches have the brand name clearly on the front, brand names on old watches may not be as evident. In that case, an appraiser can inspect the watch’s back or interior to learn who the manufacturer is. Keep in mind that the manufacturer of the watch and the clock movement’s manufacturer may not always be the same.

How Authentic Is the Watch?

Authenticity ensures that the brand name is accurate and the quality of the aesthetics and mechanics are top-notch. Proof of authenticity, such as an official brand certification, will bring more value. Or, your watch may have a stopper in the engine to prove that it has never been used. Lastly, if your watch was repaired, it will be inspected to ensure that no parts have been replaced by inferior material because altered parts will lower a watch’s value substantially. 

Speaking to several established watchmakers and professional appraises is the best way to getting the best value for your piece. You can have each professional inspect the watch and assess various factors that determine its value. You can always ask these questions when you turn to experts who can guide you into making the best decision and have the best watch appraisal experience. Our in-house experts at Las Vegas Jewelry are here to help with any questions you may have. Contact us today for more information!

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