Luxury watches are something very special; an investment in quality which you can’t simply pick off the shelf in a supermarket or regular high street store.
A high quality luxury watch is likely to last a very long time so there may come a time when you opt to sell it to buy a different model instead.
If this is the case you will undoubtedly want to get the best possible price but how do you know what it is worth? Here’s a guide to how your luxury watch might be valued.
Model and serial number
Luxury watches are a booming market and there’s an increasing number of fraudsters churning out realistic-looking fakes and trying to sell them at a huge cost.
Although counterfeit watches are usually obvious to experts, to the average man on the street they can look very convincing, particularly if they come with a serial number.
Serial numbers can help to measure a watches value.
Each luxury watch will have its own unique serial number; you should never give this away to anyone before you sell your watch. This can be used by fraudsters to validate a counterfeit watch and help pass security checks.
When an expert values your watch they will look for not just the model number, but also the serial number.
The model number identifies factors which are generic to a particular period of production; it gives away the materials which were used, where the watch was made as well as the type of movement. The serial number is specific to the actual watch itself.
Both of these numbers are very important to an expert when determining the overall value of your luxury watch.
Although it may seem obvious that the condition of the watch would have an impact on its overall value, there’s more to it than simply being well presented.
Of course any superficial damage or dings could reduce the value of your luxury watch, but there are a number of other factors to look for too.
One of the first signs that a watch may be starting to deteriorate is if the bezel and crown are loose; these should be tight fitting and in pristine condition.
The bracelet is another place where the first signs of wear and tear can be seen; over-stretching and dirt collecting between each link can result in the price dropping. If you have had any of the links removed from the watch, providing you have kept them, the value will be unaffected. If you have had links removed but have not kept them, this will reduce how much you will get as the bracelet itself is part of the intrinsic value.
Type of movement
This is arguably the single most important part of the watch and has the largest influence on its overall value.
There are two types of movement: quartz and automatic.
A quartz movement is arguably more accurate but is not as valuable as an automatic movement, which is typically what is sought after by watch enthusiasts. Quartz movements last for approximately 15 years and watches with these are valued based on their metal composition rather than the internal mechanisms.
Automatic movements are an entirely different matter and have quite literally hundreds of tiny moving parts. Some are produced entirely by hand in-house by the watch manufacturer whilst others are shipped in from elsewhere. Unsurprisingly those watches with in-house produced automatic movements are valued higher as a general rule. Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron are a few of the watch makes which provide these type of unique bespoke movements.
What not to do
Don’t be tempted to value your watch by looking at models being sold on EBay. General auction sites aren’t the best place for high quality specialist items such as luxury watches.
In addition, there’s the chance that some of the watches which are up for sale may not be the genuine article so the price will be lower as rogue traders try to hook innocent buyers.
A specialist luxury watch buyer (e.g. we buy any watch) will be able to give you an accurate and honest opinion of the true value of your timepiece, and if you are looking to sell will be able to complete the transaction for you too.
Make sure you get your watch valued.
There are a number of different factors which influence the value of your luxury watch so it’s important to understand where it comes from and how it was made before you can start to estimate what its worth. You can also play your part by keeping it in immaculate condition and retaining the box and the authentication paperwork to pass on to the buyer.
Image credits: Foeock and PRIM hodinky