An antique pocket watch can be a treasured family heirloom and a stunning example of expert craftsmanship. It may also be worth a considerable amount of money. The team at All Things Antiques and Collectibles in Rochester, NY, evaluates watches regularly to determine a value. They help customers get the best possible deal, whether they’re looking to sell a piece or add to their collection. Here, they explain how the estimate process works.
How to Estimate a Watch’s Value
The first step in evaluating a vintage watch is identifying its age and manufacturer. This will tell you whether you need to look for hallmarks of a certain era or maker to verify its authenticity.
The next step is to find the watch’s jewel movement. This rating ranges from 7 to 24 and often marked as 7J, 15J, or 24J on the case. The code refers to the number of tiny rubies the watch uses as bearings in the timepiece mechanism. The higher this number, the higher the watch's quality and the more valuable the item. Watches below 15J are considered lower grade, while high numbers like 23J and 24J are considered top grade.
The condition of the watch also has a significant impact on its value, as does the use of precious metals like gold and silver in the case or gemstones as decorative elements.
Why You Should Consult an Antique Dealer
Since antique pocket watches are small and intricate, they can be difficult to assess accurately. Unlike other collectibles like coins, there is no price guide you can use as a reference. Establishing the item’s age often involves opening the case to see if there is a serial number; however, this delicate task is best left to professionals who have the skills and tools to do it without damaging the piece.
American-made watches usually have a serial number on its movement, or mechanism, which can be cross-checked with manufacturing dates. Many European models, especially those of Swiss origin, don't have serial numbers, so the expert must estimate the watch’s age by the style of its movement and method of construction. Assessing these details and calculating how they might affect the piece’s value requires the kind of extensive knowledge and experience only a reputable antique dealer can provide.
To find out what your pocket watch is worth, show it to the experts at All Things Antiques and Collectibles. As the most trusted dealer in gold coins and vintage jewelry in Rochester, NY, they can examine the item and determine its value. Visit them online and on Facebook to learn more about their services, and call (585) 647-9320 to discuss the evaluation process with a helpful professional.