Believe it or not, one of the hottest collectible markets in the world centers around luxury watches. And those who know what they’re investing in can make a lot of money. For example, take the Audemars Piguet model called “The End of Days” (it was a limited edition watch produced in 1999 when the Schwarzenegger film of the same name was released). It originally cost around $14,000, but when one hit the market recently, it sold for $85,000.
Most watches don’t increase in value like that, of course. In fact, most timepieces depreciate over time, just as a car would. However, some do appreciate in value; more importantly, there are a number of watch brands which hold most of their value over time. If you have a luxury watch and are thinking of selling it – or if you are just really curious what your prized timepiece is really worth – online watch appraisals are the quickest and easiest way to “put a number to the face.”
Why online watch appraisals? Quite honestly, it’s because a pawnbroker or the jeweler at the local mall hasn’t accumulated the in-depth knowledge required to fully evaluate an expensive timepiece. Only experienced professionals who appraise top-end luxury goods on a daily basis are familiar with the many brands and models of watches which have been manufactured over the years, and what they’re worth. Not all Rolexes, Patek Philippe, Hublot, Richard Mille and Breitling watches are the same; in fact, it takes years just to become completely familiar with each brand.
How Do You Appraise A Watch?
Appraising watches is very different than evaluating fine jewelry. There are well-established qualities, for example, for appraising a diamond – cut, carats, clarity and color. Authenticating and appraising a watch, though, requires intricate knowledge of brands and models, mechanics and craftsmanship, materials and the marketplace.
The first step we take when evaluating a watch is to authenticate it. Everyone knows that the luxury market is full of knock-offs; we want to know exactly what we’re working with before going any further. We’ll identify and authenticate the manufacturer, brand and model of the timepiece before moving on to an in-depth examination of the piece’s quality and works. (If you still have the watch’s original box, packaging material or manual, please send them along with the watch; not only will that help in the appraisal, but it often will add to the resale value.)
Next, we’ll look at the materials, quality and functionality of the timepiece. We’ll already know what the materials and quality of the watch should be, because we’ve authenticated it. But we’ll double-check to make sure there have been no modifications or alterations which would change the value of the piece. Then, it’s time to check the condition and the works – is the watch damaged or in pristine condition? Does it work properly, require small repairs, or need a major overhaul? All will, needless to say, affect the value of the timepiece.
Finally, we’ll assess the market demand for the watch. Unlike fine jewelry, there’s no firm baseline value to work with; a one carat emerald-cut VS1 diamond with G color will always have a certain value, while the worth of a Panerai Luminor 1950 watch will be largely dependent on current secondary market conditions.
With all of that information, we’ll prepare and you’ll receive your watch appraisal, along with our offer to purchase the watch. You can either accept the offer and get cash in as few as 48 hours, or have the watch sent back to you – all at our cost and completely insured throughout the process.
What Makes A Watch Valuable?
The brand/model and condition of a watch will primarily determine its value. The “condition” part is easy to understand, but here’s some information which might help when it comes to brands.
A number of high-end watch manufacturers are known for products which retain much or most of their value over the years. They include Patek Phillipe, Rolex, Richard Mille and A. Lange & Söhne. Other brands like Piaget and Tag Heuer lose much of their value as time goes on. Then there are manufacturers like Breitling and Panerai, where the residual value can vary widely. We want to purchase all of those watches, and will make the highest offer for them if you’re interested in selling your timepiece.
Other considerations which can increase the value of a watch include the materials used in its construction (for example, a timepiece with a gold casing is worth more than one with just gold plate, and a watch with an onyx face and platinum hands will certainly carry added value) and any special features it may have (such as perpetual calendars or mechanical winding mechanisms. These will all be taken into account in your watch appraisal.
Cash Value vs. Retail Replacement Value
People who have watches or other luxury goods appraised are often surprised when the value comes in at a much lower level than they anticipated. Often, it’s because of confusion between two types of appraisal values.
When you have an item appraised in order to insure it, it will be valued at an artificially high level which is called the retail replacement value. This figure indicates how much it would cost to go out and buy an exact replacement, on the retail market, for a watch which has been lost or stolen. For instance, if you purchased a Rolex for $15,000 you would want it appraised and insured for $15,000, so your insurance company would pay to replace it if necessary. That has no relation to the actual value of the item, or the price it would bring if it were to be sold on the secondary market – because the $15,000 retail price includes the costs of producing and marketing the watch, plus dealer markup and profit.
Watch appraisals done for clients who want to sell their timepieces (or just want to know their worth) will report the real cash value of the pieces, based on their true worth. The cash value of a watch will usually be much lower than its retail replacement value, because none of the extra retail costs figure into the valuation. The appraisal tells you what your watch is worth in real terms – not what a jeweler would charge for a brand-new replacement.
When you decide to have your watch appraised, make sure you use a company which has the necessary expertise to do the job, and will offer more for your timepiece than any other buyer. We believe Luxury Buyers fits that description perfectly, and hope that you’ll agree.