What’s That On Your Wrist? Determining if Your Antique Watch is Trash or Treasure

antique watch appraisalWhether it’s a beloved family heirloom or a recent yard sale find, an antique watch can seem like the most promising of treasures to many budding collectors. Unfortunately, not all old timepieces are worth as much as their owners hope. Figuring out the true value of an antique watch means evaluating several different factors, looking at the piece’s condition and understanding the demand for similar watches on the collector’s market. Taking time to do your research and evaluate your watch can help you determine if you’re dealing with trash or treasure.

Are You Telling the Time with Junk or a Jewel?

Antique watches make alluring collectibles because they are both beautiful and utilitarian. The variety of styles and brands available on the collector’s market means that it can be tough for the casual watch enthusiast to determine whether a given piece is trash or treasure. As you evaluate your watch, pay close attention to:

•   Age. Use manufacturer’s marks, collector’s guides and online resources to determine a rough age for the piece. Talk to an expert or consult a collector’s guide to determine how much other watches of the same age are generally worth.
•   Condition. The condition of a watch is one of the most important factors in determining its worth. Watches in excellent or good condition are generally much more valuable than watches in fair or poor condition. Restoration may be an option for salvaging damaged pieces.
•    Manufacturer. Consult a collector’s guide to determine if your watch was made by a manufacturer whose pieces are considered either particularly valuable or worthless.
•    Materials. In general, platinum is considered the most valuable material from which a watch produced after 1895 can be made. White gold, pink gold and yellow gold are also considered very valuable.

watch appraisal cheektowagaWhen it comes to deciding if the material from which a watch is made adds to its value, it’s also important to remember that some metals are more valuable depending on the era when they were produced. For example, steel watches made during World War II, when the use of steel was restricted, are very valuable. Be sure to consider how age and other factors interact to determine the value of a timepiece.

No matter how much information you can find online and in price guides, it’s still a good idea to have your watch looked at by a specialist who can provide you with information about its age, condition and value. If the watch is damaged or broken, choose a watch repair professional who specializes in antique pieces.

Taking good care of an antique watch can mean the difference between protecting and destroying your valuables. Residents throughout Cheektowaga can turn to us at Premier Gold, Silver and Coins for all antique watch valuation, cleaning and repair needs.