At Samuelson’s Buyers we frequently buy high-end luxury watches from makers like Rolex and Patek Philippe. We know exactly what goes into determining the value of a watch. Evaluating any luxury item is a complicated process, but for the most part, it comes down to:
- The watchmaker (the brand)
- The materials used to make the watch
- The type of watch it is
- The watch’s functionality (what it does and how well)
- How old the watch is
Today’s post will cover each of those elements in detail. If you have a timepiece you’re thinking of selling, follow along to get an idea of what your particular piece might be worth.
What Makes a Watch “Luxury”?
Before we get into the details, it’s important to understand exactly what the word “luxury” means, and why it applies to some watches and not others.
Luxury watches are…
- Timeless. A true luxury watch has inherent value that’s not based on trends. It can be worn for generations.
- Rare. If a watch is produced in mass quantities on an assembly line, it’s hard to consider it a true luxury.
- Precise. A luxury timepiece must be extremely accurate and function at the highest level.
- Beautiful. A watch is beautiful, not only for its precision and accuracy, but also for the elegance of its design.
- Iconic. Some of a watch’s value stems from the fact that everyone recognizes and agrees that it is valuable.
Part of what makes one watch more iconic than another is its maker. A well-regarded brand name can give a watch inherent value. Certain watchmakers are well-known for their exquisite craftsmanship. That good reputation carries a lot of weight when you’re trying to determine the value of a watch.
Just a few of the watchmakers we love to see are:
- Patek Philippe
- Many others
Materials of Luxury Watches
One of the most important factors in determining the value of any piece is identifying the materials it is made of. Most high-end watches include materials like precious metals, ceramic, stainless steel, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.
The rarer and higher quality the materials, the more valuable the watch. And not all precious materials are created equal. Just as some diamonds are clearer, bigger, and more expertly cut than others, some fine watches contain higher quality and more expertly utilized materials.
The Type of Watch
Mechanical watches are far more valuable than battery-powered ones, because it is so difficult to craft a mechanical watch that functions accurately under a variety of conditions. Doing so requires real skill.
Battery-powered watches are perfectly good watches — many of them work extremely well and look great. The reason they’re not considered luxury is that they’re easy to manufacture on an assembly line. They’re not rare and don’t require the same level of craftsmanship.
A Watch’s Functionality
For a watch to be considered luxury, it must work extremely well. The craftsmanship has to be excellent.
Luxury watches tell the time very precisely, but many perform other functions as well. For example, Rolex created the Sky Dweller for frequent global travelers. It displays two different time zones at once. The wearer can quickly and easily set local time with a simple mechanism that doesn’t stop the second and minute hands from moving while the hour is being adjusted — this preserves accuracy, even with frequent time changes.
That kind of attention to detail is the mark of true luxury.
A Watch’s History & Antiquity
Watches of any era can be considered luxury, but some antique watches gain value from being old and in good condition. Antique pocket watches and wristwatches that have been well maintained are often valued higher because of their age.
Does your grandfather’s 70-year-old gold Patek Philippe watch still tell the time accurately and look like it’s in good condition? There’s a chance it could be worth quite a bit.
Are You Ready to Sell a Luxury Watch?
If you live near Washington DC and own a fine watch you’re looking to sell, we would love to meet with you. At Samuelson’s Buyers we offer better prices than anyone in the DC area and we’ll give you payment in cash on the spot.
We’ll also talk you through our evaluation process and make sure you understand how we arrived at our offer.
When you’re ready, you can make an appointment to meet with one of our expert watch buyers at our private, secure location.
Give us a call at (301) 804-6176 to get started.
Patek Philippe photo: Rama
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