My first small piece of advice is to keep your expectations really low. A common thought for a lot of people is that they maybe have something of really high value, but the reality is that in the huge majority of cases, the opposite is true. I guess it also depends on what you consider valuable. The simplest way to find out is to read the rest of this article, and then at least you will know whether to get it checked out, or just enjoy it for its antiquity.
Determining The True Value of A Waltham Pocket WatchIf you pop over to eBay you will find plenty of these for sale. A quick glance through those will quickly give you an idea of the real market value of these old pocket watches. They range as average prices from about $100-200, and these are for Waltham's dating back to around 1886. So, if you think that represents a great deal of money, then you can probably get that for many of the watches from around that time period.
When I checked eBay in March 2014, there were around 3,000 watches or parts for watches for sale. At the low end of the price point some of these were selling for around $50, and at the higher end there were asking prices of around $6,000 - $8,000. Please note that I said asking prices, as there were no actual bidders that I could see at the higher price points. These were for watches with 14K Gold cases and as such, the current price of gold, would contribute a lot to this higher price point.
I don't in anyway want to dampen your enthusiasm, especially if you believe you have something of high value. I think it is also important to keep what you can expect to get in perspective as well.
|On Sale at eBay from Harrington Antiques and valued at around $7,000|
What Makes A Waltham Watch Have Higher Value?The number one thing when determining value is always condition. A watch that is working will always sell better than one that needs repair. A watch with no scratches, no parts missing and with any type of supporting authentic material (such as the original sale's invoice) will certainly add value.
There are collectors out there who will buy pocket watches. They are on the look out for all types of antique watches like Waltham and Elgin. Collectors though tend to buy based on condition and that is why I stress that a working watch will always sell a great deal quicker.
If the watch has any type of gold content, then simply based on the price of gold alone you almost certainly have some value there. The other single thing that increases value is the year of manufacture. Watches from certain years are worth more than other years. Read this article on how to determine the year of manufacture of a Waltham pocket watch.
Limited editions also tend to be worth more than those that were mass produced.
Contact An AppraiserNow I know for certainty, that the only person who can give you an exact value is an appraiser. They are experts in this field, and ONLY when they have the watch in their hand, can they properly inspect it. Checking eBay for a similar watch will give you a strong indication as to what a watch like yours may be worth. However, the only real way to find out is to have it appraised.
That will cost you money to get that done. The average price to get any type of watch appraised is around $75. My advice would be to first check eBay and look for a similar watch. If it is less than $200 then to be honest I wouldn't get it appraised as you would just lose too much of the value.
If you can't find a match on eBay, then it should be worthwhile to think of an appraisal. Some places like pawn shops will give you a free appraisal, but they will never offer as much as you can get elsewhere. They are also not verified appraisers so you can't really use that as an appraised value. It would nonetheless give you an indication of value.