Find the value of vintage watches


It’s time to part with that watch you never wear. Maybe you inherited it from a relative, and it’s just not your style. Maybe you feel your smart phone has made it obsolete. Or maybe you just prefer to leave your wrist unencumbered. Whatever the reason, our Savvy Specialists can help you determine if that timeworn ticker might toll some financial gain for you.


With timepieces, tradition rules. Mechanical watches – ones that function by way of an intricate system of gears and springs – generally attract a better price than automatic, battery-powered pieces. Some classics of the quartz-battery genre do have serious resale value, such as the Casio G-Shock – especially the first generation from the 1980s. However it’s powered, an analog watch – meaning, one with circulating hands that point to a set of numbers – almost always outranks one with a digital display.

Extra features count for surprisingly little in the way the watch world assesses long-term value. Much of the worth wound up in an old-fashioned watch that you have to wind is the hands-on human element required to craft it. The main exception: chronometer watches, which are equipped with a mechanical movement that keeps near-perfect time, command a premium price over non-chronometer watches.

Labels also matter in the watch world. Many of the most prestigious makers like Baume et Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Rolex have been entrenched for more than a century, cultivating huge legacies in the process. In fact, some brands openly appeal to a sense of heritage: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation,” as the ads say. A vintage Rolex often fetches more than other fine (and equally well-made) watches from the 1920s and 1930s simply because of its name-recognition value.

Unlike jewelry, watches tend not to be evaluated for their meltdown value. But the presence of gems and precious metals does matter: A pure gold watch is worth more than a gold-plated piece.

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Obviously, the better the condition of the watch, the more valuable it will be. But wear-and-tear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While collectors prize the pristine, they also value originality – that is, they prefer a watch that hasn’t had parts replaced or repaired, even if that means the dial’s paint has faded, the case is unpolished or the bezel is cracked. Replacing the crystal or changing a damaged bracelet or strap usually doesn’t matter, however; in fact, it’s better to freshen up the timepiece in these small ways (taking care, if you have a period piece, to maintain the appropriate style).

While you shouldn’t fix up a watch in major ways, you naturally want to avoid any additional damage. Mechanical watches should be wound at least once a month, if you don’t wear them regularly. But it’s ok if you do: Many experts feel that watches function better if they reside on a wrist. Just avoid extremes of heat, cold and exercise (unless of course it’s a sports watch). Never let it get wet.

Store the timepiece face up in a dark, dry, dust- and lint-free place. And stand on a carpet when you take it on or off, to minimize damage if you drop it.

Collectors also like their pieces alive and ticking, so it’s worth paying to have the watch work.

Find the value of your antique watches and time pieces.


It always helps to send us images of a watch’s papers and original box, if you have them, along with pictures of the piece itself. Once we've identified the watch’s manufacturer, age, model, and condition, our Savvy Specialists complete a Quick Appraisal which includes research, stories and special features about your timepiece. We can also tell you more about the specific model, including a valuation analysis that includes what similar watches have sold for.


After our Quick Appraisal, StuffSavvy can match you with Online Partners to get you the most value for the watch you'd like to sell. This is a good option once you know the value you want to sell the item for.


After our Quick Appraisal, StuffSavvy can also match you with local consignment shops and auction houses. This is the best option if you want to work with additional Specialists to maximize the resale value of your watch.