When you find yourself in front of a watch, perhaps in a second-hand market where even the seller doesn't exactly have an idea of its value, it can become possible to make a bargain - or to make a big mistake.

That's why it is helpful to know the basics for evaluating a used watch - maybe even broken - to understand when it is the case to buy it or leave it where it is. This is actually not that impossible, and in this article, we'll explain the A-B-C.
Are you ready?

How to estimate a watch value

The tools to use

First and foremost, you need to purchase a few tools to help you with your assessment "work." And lucky for you, they don't cost that much so that even people who want to build their watch collection - and those with limited resources - can easily afford them.

First, you need a good quality lens or - even better - a watchmaker's monocle. These lenses are available in various magnifications: if possible, take a set. When going around the markets, you will need an intermediate magnification lens (a 7X will be OK).

The other tool you need is a case opener. There are several box openers, but there are two main types. The first is the knife for pop-up closures, and the second is the wrench for screw-in closures. In either case, bring them along after you've had some practice on opening old watches, so you know exactly what to do to open a timepiece without ruining it.

A little trick is to always use plastic wrap, like the kind used to hold papers and organize them in binders, between the case opener and the case. If, by chance, the tool slips, this will allow you not to ruin the metal surfaces with unsightly scratch lines.

Examining the movement of the watch is very important to be able to understand the value and assess the originality. So, if the person selling it to you does not want to open the case to show you the movement, either pull a lot on the price or let it go.


The Davosa-USA.com website is NOT affiliated in any way with Audemars Piguet, Franck Muller USA, Inc. Richard Mille or Richemont Companies, Seiko, or any other brand which is not Davosa Swiss. Rolex is a registered trademark of Rolex USA. Davosa-USA website is not an authorized dealer, reseller, or distributor for Rolex and is in NO WAY affiliated with Rolex SA or Rolex USA or any other brand besides Davosa Swiss.
March 06, 2022 — Davosa Editor


Philippe Trifaut said:

Very useful article and I learned a lot

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