Trying to calculate or estimate the value of a specific luxury timepiece is nowhere near as simple or as straightforward a process as most people are led to believe it to be.
In fact, if you don’t have a tremendous amount of experience in the luxury timepiece world the odds are pretty good that you are going to either dramatically overestimate or underestimate the value of a watch – and that could be big trouble regardless of whether or not you are buying or selling a timepiece that you’re interested in.
Hopefully we are going to be able to share a little bit of inside information that streamlines this process considerably for you. Obviously, you’re going to want to consider turning to a professional to help you every single step of the way (especially if you’re thinking about spending a few thousand dollars – or more – on a timepiece), but the details we are able to share with you in this quick guide should be more than enough to help jumpstart the process for you.
Let’s get right into it!
Research absolutely EVERYTHING about that particular watch
Research is the name of the game when you’re trying to figure out whether or not the particular timepiece you are interested in is worth any amount of substantial money, and you are going to want to attack this research process with a real passion.
For starters, you’re going to need to get as specific as possible about the watch that you are interested in. It’s not enough to know that you want to value an Omega timepiece, instead you’re going to want to know that you’re trying to value and Omega Speedmaster that may or may not have made it into space with one of the Mercury astronauts.
There is a world of difference between those two descriptions. One of them will give you next to no real information and as broad a value calculation as possible, whereas the other will really help you zero in on the true value of the timepiece that you’re interested in.
Other things you’re going to want to research include (but certainly aren’t limited to):
- The age of that particular timepiece
- The condition of that particular timepiece
- The rarity of that particular timepiece
- The demand for that particular timepiece
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
You should also consider things like how much it’s going to cost you to have that watch repaired in the future, whether or not you’re going to be able to find authentic parts for that timepiece later down the line, and whether or not the value is going to increase or decrease over time.
Obviously, research is going to be the backbone of determining the value of the watch that you are interested in. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Figuring out the kind of condition is that this watch is in
It’s going to be a little bit tough to determine the overall condition of a particular timepiece without being able to get your hands on the actual watch it, but there are still some things that you’re going to want to look for even if you’re only able to look at the pictures.
For starters, you’re going to want to determine whether or not the watch actually runs right now. This is especially important for those that run off of delicate timekeeping movements – and especially important for watches that are anything more than 50 years old.
Mechanical watches are some of the most involved pieces of machinery on the planet, and even just the slightest bit of damage can completely derail not only their ability to keep accurate time, but their ability to keep time at all.
You want to make sure that the watch your spending a few hundred or a few thousand dollars is going to be able to keep time right out of the box.
You’re also going to want to take a close look at the overall condition of the watch case itself as well as the watch band. A lot of cases (especially the watch window) are going to show quite a bit of damage, especially if they are older watches that saw their fair share of daily wear.
This may or may not be a problem for you, but you’re going to want to make sure that there aren’t any obvious signs of extreme damage that either cannot be repaired or will only be able to be repaired with expensive parts, expensive tools, and even more expensive knowledge and expertise.
The condition of the band is likely going to be less important (unless you’re talking about a truly rare watch that you’ll want completely original), as it can usually be inexpensively swapped out with something in much better condition without any real trouble whatsoever.
Always be on the lookout for counterfeits
Counterfeit luxury timepieces are some of the most popular things for modern snake oil salesman to peddle, and you’re going to want to be sure that you are on the lookout for anything less than completely authentic.
All kinds of online sites that promise dramatic discounts on luxury timepieces are selling phonies that look like the real thing except under incredibly close inspection. You’ll need to be aware of the true value of any luxury timepiece that you’re interested in buying, as it’s the only way you’ll be able to spot deals that seem too good to be true.
Ask for high-definition photos of the movements and close up shots of the rest of the watch, and you might even want to request a quick video that shows how smooth and sweeping the dials are. There are a couple of different things you’re going to want to be on the lookout for (the Internet is filled with online guides for spotting phony luxury timepieces depending upon model), so make sure that you cover all of your bases before you pull the trigger on a deal.
At the end of the day, finding the true value of a luxury timepiece can be a bit of an involved process. Thankfully, armed with the inside information above as well as the help you’ll be able to get online and from professional jewelers, you really shouldn’t have too terribly much to worry about!