Vintage Watch Valuations - Read These Rules Before Asking
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Thread: Vintage Watch Valuations - Read These Rules Before Asking

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  1. #1
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Vintage Watch Valuations - Read These Rules Before Asking

    I’m going to repost this in case the “old” forum cannot be restored completely.

    Rule #1: 3 things influence the value of a vintage watch: condition, condition and condition. It’s very difficult to assess condition from a photo, hence any online value estimate is a crapshoot.


    Rule #2: If you have a solid gold case, add $500 US to the price assessment. If it's encrusted in diamonds and is platinum, it doesn't much matter about the watch part anyway – the scrap value will be higher unless it’s say a Rolex, Patek or Vacheron.


    Rule #3: The watch is worth what a buyer will pay for it. There are price lists published, but they assume the watch has been serviced and is in running condition. Any buyer will have to deduct at least $100 US from the price list value if the watch has not been recently serviced. A watch seller will not give you more than 50% of the posted price in any case. Often eBay is the best way to get an idea of what your watch is worth.


    Rule #4: Your antique watch is worth far less than you think. They are not rare, even if they are old. For instance Elgin made over 50 MILLION movements. They were built to last and be repaired so a lot of them are still around in various conditions of course. The average price for an 80 year old pocket watch is around $150 US. Of course how do you put a price on something your grandfather gave you when you were 7?


    Rule #5. When it comes to wristwatches, men’s are worth more than ladies’ models. Women are not as interested in old mechanical things, and the ladies’ watches are often really tiny - that’s out of fashion today. Besides, the men’s watches of the 30s and 40s are quite small and can serve as unisex pieces. So ladies, go ahead and wear Dad’s old Bulova if you want.


    Rule #6: Watches stink as an investment. I bought an 1883 keywind Hampden in 1978 for about $100 US. It's value today? Maybe $175 US. I'm not going to retire on those types of returns. It's a great watch though.

    Rule #7: When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.


    And here is another rule, but one that will remain numberless:

    We don't do valuations here. Nobody can put a value on any watch online: this means that you shouldn't ask what your watch is worth! Re-read these rules for the reasons why!




    Last edited by JohnF; February 11th, 2010 at 21:32. Reason: To make it clear that we don't do valuations...

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  2. #2
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Vintage Watch Valuations - Read This First

    Please read over this sticky post before asking for a valuation of your vintage or antique watch.
    First of all the standard disclaimer. JohnF and I never offer a valuation for sale of any watch, although we can tell you if it's worth restoring from an economic point of view. (It usually is not and the primary reason to restore any antique watch is because it's a family heirloom.)
    You might think that two relatively intelligent guys - one of whom is an economist and amateur watch repairperson - might be able to evaluate watches over the Internet but alas we simply cannot.
    There are a number of reasons:
    (1) The absolutely most important factor in assigning value to a watch is condition. And unless the watch is in horrible shape, we simply cannot tell its condition from a photo. If it's really bad you don't need us to evaluate it anyway.
    (2) Watches often have gold cases or diamonds on the dial which makes them more valuable as jewelry than as a timepiece. We are not gemologists or gold bugs so we can't help you there
    (3) There are books out there which give a guideline as to prices but they assume the watch is serviced and in running condition. They are no help if a watch is broken or hasn't been cleaned in decades.
    (4) Ultimately the price of any vintage watch is determined by what the buyer will pay. You have only to follow a few eBay auctions to see this truth in action.
    The effect of each of the above reasons appears to be cumulative, and as a result even the best guess we could give you on value is going to be out by 50% or more. What good is that to you?
    Our advice before asking us (or any website) about valuation is:
    (1) Follow eBay auctions for similar pieces to yours, taking into account condition as the #1 factor.
    (2) Go to a bricks and mortar facility who has a watchmaker you can trust and get that person's opinion.
    (3) Read our (other) sticky "7 Rules (blah blah blah)" for more common sense info and details.
    Best of all just enjoy your old stuff, don't worry about value. Likely your grandfather didn't anyway.
    Last edited by Ray MacDonald; June 6th, 2007 at 13:56.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  3. #3
    Member QuartzCrisis's Avatar
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    "No Valuations" solved! I've made a newbie-friendly guide.

    We don't want to be unwelcoming to the new people who are joining this hobby. But for some reason they often ask us to do a valuation of their watches and this is not allowed by the forum the rules.

    So I've made an easy newbie-friendly step-by-step YouTube guide:




    Now every time a newbie asks to do a valuation we can just share this guide
    Last edited by QuartzCrisis; September 4th, 2019 at 19:57.

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  5. #4
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    Re: "No Valuations" solved! I've made a newbie-friendly guide.

    Excellent!
    Chaos is my focus

  6. #5
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    Re: "No Valuations" solved! I've made a newbie-friendly guide.

    Perhaps the moderators could move nest this at the top of the forum? Of course, the problem is that people don't bother to look at the top before posting, but y'know… thanks for doing the guide, all the same. If I may make a gentle criticism, it's a bit long for those who "just want an answer," and aren't too bothered about the details as to why and how a vintage comes to hold whatever value it holds. Good for enthusiasts, but not so good for those people who are simply looking for someone to do their work for them.
    QuartzCrisis likes this.

  7. #6
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: "No Valuations" solved! I've made a newbie-friendly guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habitant View Post
    If I may make a gentle criticism, it's a bit long for those who "just want an answer," and aren't too bothered about the details as to why and how a vintage comes to hold whatever value it holds. Good for enthusiasts, but not so good for those people who are simply looking for someone to do their work for them.
    Agreed. If the OP could make 2-3 minute videos, people might actually watch them.
    SunnyOrange likes this.
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  8. #7
    Member QuartzCrisis's Avatar
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    Re: "No Valuations" solved! I've made a newbie-friendly guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habitant View Post
    Perhaps the moderators could move nest this at the top of the forum?
    Mods, if you find my video useful feel free to do this or just add it to the bottom of this sticky: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/vi...ing-67379.html

    And I will be trying to make my future videos shorter. It's great to hear the feedback!

  9. #8
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: "No Valuations" solved! I've made a newbie-friendly guide.

    Yes, it doesn't really warrant yet another sticky (there seem to be too many of them as it is ) but I'll add it to the one you suggested. Off it goes! And many thanks for taking the time to create the video.

    Hartmut Richter

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