Monday, January 14, 2008

Daryle Lambert: Antique Watches and Time Pieces/ Vintage Watches

We can tell when shadows on the ground grow longer that time changes, but the easiest way is to look at our watches. And if you've got a watch or time piece passed down in your family, you might even discover you've got a valuable piece a collector might have interest in.

Collectors collect many different types of time pieces. There are pocket watches, waist watches, purse watches, and even watches that hang from your neck. These can be broken down into children's, ladies, and men's watches. Watches are made in America, Switzerland, Germany, France and many other countries. These pieces can be quite valuable. If you decide to deal in them, the added bonus is small enough that they don't take up much space in your home and are easy to ship. There are dealers who deal in nothing else but watches because it's highly profitable, and watches from the 1950's and 60's are quite collectible.

The most common collector watches are the cased watches, known as railroad watches. There is always interest in these when they come up for auction or are found at other sales. But you will find that there is a huge difference between the value of each time piece you see. Often, the ones that you come across are far overpriced, just because they are a pocket watch. On the other hand, because few are really knowledgeable about watches, they may price an expensive one at the same price as one that is very common. This is where your knowledge comes in to play. You will look at a huge number of common pieces for each rare and valuable piece you find.

What makes a watch valuable? First is rarity. Then, several other factors come into play such as the manufacturer, age, materials (platinum, gold, silver or other) condition, and whether or not it is all original or designer piece.

A friend of mine called once, looking for some help with a watch he wanted to buy. Since I don't generally deal in watches, but know a little, I was honest with him and told him so. I did ask what he had anyway and looked into it for him. He had a ladies watch, with a covered face and diamonds as decoration. He gave me some numbers off the piece, and I told him I'd call him back. I checked the best I could and discovered that the case was 22K Gold and the watch was made by a French company, and likely a designer piece. I promptly called him back and asked what they were asking for the watch. I got knocked off my chair when he told me $200. I told him to write the check. I think this watch could be worth well over $5000 today.

Although I don't deal in watches, I can still use my resources to gather information about something I'm not well versed in and still have some ability to make a wise decision. Based on the price of gold alone, this was a good buy.

With the price of gold and platinum where they are today, you must always figure in the value of the case, and then real money can be made just from the case alone, if it is 18K gold or higher. Any platinum watch will bring some money.

If you want to know more about collectible and valuable watches, start reading about the ones that appeal to you. These will be the ones you'll start with, and later, you'll be able to broaden your knowledge base. American Pocket Watches by Roy Ehrhardt & William Meggers, is a book I keep on hand for reference. This one is a great place to start. Time is on your side.

You might begin looking around at the
National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. Then do your own Internet search.

Today's Photo is from Farfo's Vintage Watches and is a 1960's Jaeger LeCoultre 18k Pink priced around $3800. When you look around the site you'll see some great examples and be able to read up on vintage watches.

Discover how the 31 Club, together with our book, can be the tool that helps you build more personal wealth dealing in the rare and valuable upper end markets, rather than the conventional methods of stock, bonds, and real estate investing. You won't find these kind of results with your bank or your stock broker! Find out more about joining our growing community of antique and art wealth builders here.

Read more about The Million Dollar Challenge 31 Club members are participating in.

If you haven't yet had a chance to see what we've got listed in the 31 Gallery & Marketplace, click on over and take a look. You might even find a real bargain. We've got many high quality items priced reasonably. If you have a high quality piece you'd like us to find a buyer for, why not consign your item to us. No high fees when you sell with us. Contact us here.

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  1. I have sevral railroad watches stuck in family lore (and actual physical care). This is odd, because I know of no actual family connections to railroads or railroad employees. My big interest in watches reside in those 50-year retirement watches, those rewardable gold watches, for long-term services rendered. Can't seem to pick up info anywhere on the value of these things.

  2. Hi
    It will depend on the works of the watch and how many jewels it has. The fact that it is a ceremonial watch won't add to the value much unless it is a well known person.