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What’s My Watch Worth? Assessing a Fair Value

Whether you are decluttering or downsizing, one thing is certain: That gold watch tucked in the back corner of your dresser is doing little more than taking up space. You haven’t worn it for years, and it’s definitely not sparking joy. By now you’re probably wondering whether you can sell it. And that begs the next question: “What’s my watch worth?”

The truth is, the value of pre-owned watches varies widely depending on the brand and precious metal content. As you’ll see, your watch’s true value just might surprise you.

What is My Pre-Owned Watch Worth?

You’ve probably heard a story about someone who bought a Rolex watch for several hundred dollars, wore it for years, and then sold it at an enormous profit twenty years later. That’s certainly the best-case scenario when it comes to selling your pre-owned watch. But it’s not an everyday occurrence. You see, there are many different kinds of watches, but only a select few brands (like Rolex) and watches made of precious metals really have any appreciable resale value.

At JewelRecycle, we divide watches into the following categories.

Fine Watches

Fine watches are watches that are both well-made and well-regarded. The worth of fine watches is derived from the value of the brand rather than the actual materials used in the watches themselves. Many fine watches don’t even contain any precious metals. In fact, they are likely to be made of stainless steel. Nevertheless, the worth of fine watches (including the brands below) often far outstrips that of less prestigious watches that do contain gold and other precious metals.

Only a select set of brands can really be considered fine watches. These include:

  • Breitling
  • Breguet
  • Cartier
  • International Watch Company (IWC)
  • Jaeger LeCoultre
  • Patek Philippe
  • Rolex
  • Tag Heuer
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Vacheron Constantin

Watches made by any of the above brands tend to hold their value — and may even go up in value over time.

Within the fine watch category, men’s watches are far more collectible than women’s watches. This is partly because women’s watch fashions change more dramatically over time. In addition, men are more interested in collecting vintage watches, whereas women tend to buy new in the fine watch category. To illustrate the point, let’s say you and your spouse bought matching “his and hers” Rolex Oyster watches a decade ago. If you go to resell them now, you’ll likely find that the “hers” watch is worth only hundred dollars, whereas the “his” watch may be worth several thousand.

What's my watch worth?

Fashion Watches

Fashion watches are watches made by high-end fashion brands such as Michael Kors and Gucci. Because these watches are so expensive in the retail market, many owners expect that they will fetch a relatively high price on the used watch market. The unfortunate reality is that fashion watches hold very little value — so little that not even pawn shops will typically buy them for much.

At JewelRecycle, we only buy fashion watches for their precious metal value (assuming they contain any). For example, brands such as Bulova, Geneve, and Citizen have historically produced fashion watches made of gold and other precious metals. These watches no longer have collectible value, as in the fine watch category. And that means they are simply worth their weight in gold, silver, or platinum.

Ordinary Watches

So-called “ordinary watches” are watches made by more common brands like Timex and Fossil. These watches aren’t particularly expensive when purchased new. As such, they are literally worth their weight in precious metals — nothing more. If they aren’t made with gold or another precious metal, these watches don’t have any appreciable value on the secondary market.

Pocket Watches

We don’t have to tell you that pocket watches are no longer in fashion. There are a select few collectible pocket watch brands that are worth more than their weight in gold. But most pocket watches are simply worth their precious metal value.

However, because pocket watches tend to be larger and heavier than wrist watches, some old pocket watches do have significant resale value thanks to their gold and other precious metal content. If you have an old or inherited pocket watch you no longer want, it’s quite possible that its present-day resale value will pleasantly surprise you. Keep in mind, though, that many pocket watches are gold-filled. As a result, they have little to no precious metal value.

Ready to Sell Your Fine Watch?

If you are interested in discovering the real value of your fine watch, JewelRecycle’s knowledgeable staff is ready to help. Bring in your fine watch as well as any original packaging and paperwork. Our in-house watch experts will inspect your item and make a competitive offer.

If you have a fashion watch, ordinary watch, or pocket watch you want to sell, and you aren’t sure whether it is made of gold or another material, simply bring it to us for inspection. We’ll use our nondestructive X-Ray fluorescence technology to determine the exact purity of your item and give you an estimate of the watch’s value. We will then take the watch apart in front of you and weigh the gold or platinum parts to come up with a final offer.

Want to learn more about JewelRecycle’s processGive us a call or simply come into one of our four locations — no appointment necessary.