How Do You Know if a Watch is Valuable?

As the luxury watch market continues to thrive, now's the time to sell


As the luxury watch market continues to thrive, attracting new investors, new interest and fetching record-breaking prices, it is undoubtedly a good time to consider how to determine whether a watch is valuable.

While Rolex is the most well-known luxury brand in the watches market, there are other names which are potentially just as valuable, if not more so. Patek Philippe produces fewer watches each year compared to Rolex, which makes them harder to come by and therefore rarer. Other luxury brands that are considered valuable include Audemars Piguet, Omega, Cartier, Blancpain, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, IWC and Franck Muller.


An incredibly rare Rolex Precision Pre-Explorer ref 6150 watch


An incredibly rare Rolex Precision Pre-Explorer ref. 6150 watch

Sold for £19,000


Indeed, there are other brands out there that could also potentially hold value; in 1936 the founder of Rolex took over a brand called Tudor, which he utilised to produce a more affordable watch with all the reliability of a Rolex. These watches have been growing in popularity in recent years. 

Once the brand has been identified, the make, model and age of the watch needs to be established. Locating the reference number will help to confirm these details, sometimes located on the dial, often on the inside case or between the lugs, it is not likely to be obvious, so care needs to be taken when searching for this. Any original papers that have accompanied the watch will also contain this information. Use online tools or contact the manufacturer directly to translate this information. The rarer the watch, the more it is likely to be valuable, Special Editions and Limited Editions typically hold their value well as they are limited in supply.



A Breguet Classique Ref 5140

A Breguet Classique Ref: 5140

Sold for £5,000


The materials used and quality of the movement are also excellent indicators of value. Consider if the watch is made of solid gold, gold-plated, stainless steel, or another metal. The quality and complication of the mechanics as well as the presence of any jewels within the movement can indicate value.

Another important factor which will affect the value of a watch, is the condition. While a pristine example that has never been worn could potentially be incredibly in demand, a watch that has been worn by someone famous could be just as valuable even though the condition will be poorer. A watch that has been looked after and serviced by the relevant professionals will ultimately hold its’ value, however, it is worth noting that any restoration could be detrimental to the value of older luxury watches. Simply replacing a strap or a dial could have disastrous implications, therefore researching the watch and educating yourself about what it is and what makes it so valuable can alleviate this risk.



A triple date Omega calendar watch in 14kt gold

A triple date Omega calendar watch in 14kt gold

Sold for £3,200


If the watch has any accompanying paperwork or boxes, this will ultimately improve the value. A detailed record of the watch, the history and the components provide peace of mind for any potential owner, as well as some provenance.

Regardless of whether you intend to purchase or keep a watch as a family heirloom, or if you are looking at trading one in for cash or another model, we always recommend contacting an expert valuer for a professional appraisal.



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Do you have a luxury brand watch that you are considering selling?

With a global audience of over 10 million, Dawsons can achieve the best price at auction.

Please get in touch with one of our Specialists for sales advice, we would be delighted to help:

0207 431 9445 /