Antique Watch Appraisals
Last updated: December 11, 2018
Looking to Get an Antique Watch Appraisal?
There are many of us who own vintage watches. Perhaps they were inherited from a loved one, received as a gift, or purchased as an investment. While we enjoy displaying these timepieces and perhaps even use them from time to time, it’s not unusual to wonder how much our watches are worth. Antique watch value is an interesting question, and perhaps even more interesting, the answer isn’t found on a price tag or in a book. Instead, a vintage watch’s value is closely related to its position in the market. This is something that can be revealed during a detailed vintage watch appraisal such as those offered to Worthy’s clients at no cost. While there are a couple of ways to get an antique watch appraisal, be sure that you choose to work with an appraiser who is both objective and fully qualified.
Vintage Watch Appraisal Locations
While looking to get your antique watch appraised there are a few ways to get the job done. The most obvious place to begin is at your local jeweler, however not all jewelers are intimately familiar with vintage watches. If you decide to work with a local jeweler, be sure that they have not only the tools but the know-how to assess your antique watch accurately. In the past several years, the number of skilled watchmakers has declined as well as the number of skilled, certified technicians and jewelers who are capable of providing thorough, accurate antique watch appraisals. For this reason, many people are looking online for appraisal locations.
When submitting a vintage or antique watch to us at Worthy for sale, we provide a full physical assessment of your watch, and that includes a full, objective appraisal. Proper watch appraisals are vital to us and we only trust the very best in the business to carry them out.
Recently Auctioned Vintage Pocket Watches:
The Antique Watch Appraisal Process
- Cleaning - This is the first step in a watch appraisal as it allows for close inspection of a watch’s details and inner workings.
- Grading - Antique watches are graded as a way to help determine their market value. Grades range from G1 (worst) to G10 (best).
- General Condition Overview- At this stage, the evaluator simply looks at your watch without any tools to see if there are any cosmetic issues and determine its general condition.
- Detailed Appraisal -The internal watch movements are examined, along with any jewels and other details.
- Description - At the end of the vintage watch appraisal process, the evaluator writes a detailed summary based on their findings. Some descriptions include an estimated market value, however here at Worthy, we leave the market value to the market itself, with our live auction platform.
Detailed Vintage Watch Appraisals
While market demand determines the actual value of an antique watch or any other collectible, vintage watch appraisals focus on some additional elements including condition, movement, design, name brand, and other factors. Antique watch appraisals also help determine a watch’s grade.
Condition – Condition is a vital part of the antique watch appraisal process. Does the timepiece have all its original parts? Are there dents, chips, rust, or just lots of wear?
Movement – High-quality antique watches typically have solid gold parts as well as quality jewels. A vintage watch with all movement intact, in generally good condition, inside its original case is quite likely to fetch a handsome price.
Case Design – Simple, unadorned antique watch cases are normally less valuable than those with intricate details, enamel, or precious stones, although there are certainly exceptions. Antique watches with intricate, attractive looks tend to garner the most interest and because of this, are likely to have higher objective appraisal values. Watch cases, no matter how beautiful, often contain less value without their original movement.
Historical Value – Provenance can play an important part in antique watch appraisals. If you have proof that your vintage watch was worn by a prominent historical figure, this may have an effect on value.
Entertainment Value – Many antique watches have interesting buttons and other features designed to do more than simply tell time. Because collectors find these watches appealing, they are often considered to be more valuable.
Grading Your Antique Watch
Grade plays a very important role in vintage watch appraisals- here are some grades and their explanations for you to familiarize yourself with:
G-10 – Pristine Mint: These watches are “new” old stock. They are sealed in factory boxes with tags, papers, and other items still intact. Some pristine mint watches are also assigned a rarity grade, meaning they are of great technical or historical importance.
G-9 – Mint Plus: These watches are still in their factory boxes and are in exceptional condition.
G-8 – Mint: A watch is considered to be in mint condition if it has been used briefly, then stored. These watches often come with their boxes, and they have no external scratches or screwdriver marks from having been opened.
G-7 – Near Mint: A near-mint watch is completely original, but faint scratch marks are visible with magnification. Movement may show signs of having been cleaned and oiled.
G-6 – Extra Fine: An extra-fine antique watch has no dents, hairlines, or other cosmetic issues. It shows minimal signs of wear and may or may not come with its original box. All parts are original, including any used in repairs.
G-5 – Fine: Original case, dial, and movement are intact, although a new crystal and new hands may be present. Faint hairlines may be seen, but dial has no chips. Movement may have slight staining, and must be sharp; some very minor scratches may be acceptable on movement.
G-4 – Average to Good: Has original dial, movement and case. Movement may have had a part replaced, however the part is close to original. Marks are difficult to detect, and no brass shows through on gold filled case.
G-3 – Fair: Small amount of brass may be seen, hairlines and small chips may be visible, small dent may be visible on the case, wear may be apparent on dial and movement. Appears to have been well-used and may not have the original dial or case.
G-2 – Poor: Watch is worn, has many dents, may need a replacement crystal, and is not working. Hands may be gone.
G-1 – Scrap: Bad dial, brass showing, not original parts, no hands or crystal; basically useful only for parts.
Luxury Item Protection
Worthy provides up to $100,000 in insurance coverage for every shipment. We trust Lloyd's of London, a global leader in insurance since 1688, to protect all valuables auctioned on our platform.
Click here for more about our item protection policy
Antique Watch Appraisal at Worthy
When you submit a vintage or antique watch to Worthy to sell or to finance, we provide a free, full appraisal. Because each and every watch we sell on behalf of our clients is unique, we take great care in selecting the appraiser who is best equipped to evaluate it. Our appraisal program is a great source of pride to us; it is one more aspect of our business which sets us apart from other online auction platforms, and it increases buyer trust while ensuring that you receive the best possible value for your antique watch.
We feel that it is of utmost importance to describe your valuable item with the highest level of objectivity and accuracy, which is why our goal in appraisal is different from the standard. We don’t use appraisals to set prices, instead we utilize them as an important part of our certification process. Learn more about Worthy’s appraisal process by clicking below.