The final edition of our three-part series on the aspects that are considered when determining how much your antique pocket watch is worth. In this section we will be discussing rarity, unique features and current market trends.
It is a fact that just because a watch such as mechanical pocket watches, old wrist watches or otherwise, is old it doesn’t mean it must be valuable. For example, Elgin and Waltham both manufactured over one million watches annually during their peak-production years! A well-worn 7-jewel Elgin watch in non-working condition carries little value on the market, due to repair costs superseding the value of the watch by a substantial amount. Rarity is the key here as some watches were produced in enormous quantities, while the more significant movements have only a few examples in existence. This is where experience and knowledge comes into play once again in order to determine the rarity of a watch. Some brands offer accurate production records, but with others there is practically no product information whatsoever.
Certain unique features can considerably increase the value of a watch depending on the collector. Take a particularly low serial number, or a newly introduced technological advancement for example, this can result in the watch being more valuable to a collector. Does the watch possess diamond end-stones on the balance cap-jewels or an interesting stop-works on the mainspring, for example? These mechanical specifics can increase the collectability and in turn the value of the watch.
Current Market Trends – What’s “in” and what’s not:
Market awareness is vital as trends can have great significance when it comes to value. As with most things watches and brands swing in and out of fashion. Some brands rise into a situation whereby they are popular to collectors and they will pay more for them, while equally striking watches of another brand flag in the price ranges. Essentially, the only way that you can determine market trends is to be familiar with the watch market itself.
This is where the ability to properly identify a watch becomes paramount, as it is crucial to know the watch you’re looking at.