6 Factors that Determine the Value of Watches

Perhaps you’ve wondered what your watch is worth, and why?

Many factors can determine the value of a watch, some common to all items you may want to appraise such as condition and rarity, and some unique to watches. The watch experts at online auction platform Catawiki shared a few factors that determine the value of watches and explained their significance.

watch auctioneers

Catawiki’s watch experts from left to right: Erwin Dekker, Michael Schumann, Berry Harleman, Jamie Brindle

1. Brand

Perhaps beginning with the obvious, well-known brands will come with higher price tags, even second-hand watches. Rolex, Breitling, Omega and other prominent luxury watch brands will maintain their value, partly due to the well-established brand name and partly due to the quality of their products. As a general rule, brands with their own movements or complications are not only more valuable but will also retain their value better over time.

2. Condition

How well the watch has stood the test of time, so to speak, is an important factor in determining value. A pristine condition watch will, of course, have a higher value than one in poor condition. It’s important to look for not only damage, scratches etc, but also if there are any missing decorative elements, embellishments or parts. Are all parts original? Does the watch function properly? Even the service history can play a role in determining the condition, and the value, of your watch.

3. Rarity

Not only watches produced in limited editions, but anything that isn’t seen much can be more valuable. Perhaps you’ve noticed that unlike other collectibles and investments, ‘age’ isn’t included in this list. An older watch isn’t more valuable by nature of simply being old however, age can affect the rarity which therefore may add value. If a watch has survived many years in good condition and is one of just a few of its kind left, this can also add value.

4. Patina

Another factor that will be affected by age is the patina of a watch and if it shows up in the right way, patina can add value. When a watch ages naturally, the patina creates colour on a dial for example, which makes the watch unique and gives it character. Collectors and watch enthusiasts appreciate this unique touch that can only come with age and therefore a proper patina will increase the value of a watch.

5. Completeness

If the accompanying box and papers are available, they will most certainly add value to a watch. A complete set will always be worth more than a watch on its own, missing the papers and/or the box.

6. Celebrity

Celebrity association also increases watch value. If a celebrity has actually worn the watch you are appraising, then the provenance will add value, but this is not the only time when a celebrity association will add value to a watch. Take for example the Steve McQueen Rolex. It’s really nothing more than a Rolex Submariner, and in the 70s, Rolex actually removed them from stores because they were not selling. After Steve McQueen was spotted sporting a Submariner in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’, the watches began selling again for around €1,600 in today’s currency. Nowadays they are worth up to €200,000 or more, all thanks to their celebrity association.

Armed with the knowledge of some of the main factors that determine the value of a watch, you’re ready to start buying and selling. Online auction platform Catawiki offers many weekly Watch auctions filled with a wide variety of luxury watches for all budgets.

Hopefully, this list has given you an insight into the world of watches valuation and sparked an interest to sell them from your own collection. At online auction platform Catawiki, their team of watches experts is standing by to see what watches you have to offer and to give you their own valuation. Who knows? You could be in possession of a treasure, just waiting to be sold at auction.

So, please ask a valuation on MeArto. After the estimation, you can put your watch at auction on Catawiki.

Registration for becoming a seller at Catawiki is for free, so even if your item isn’t sold for the price you had in mind, you won’t have to pay Catawiki any placing fees.