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TDC

Why are Pocket Watch Prices so Varied?

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I've been glancing at pocket watches from time to time, and have noticed that prices vary like mad.  There are plenty of nice looking Longines and Omega pieces for example that regularly sell for ~£50 on ebay, even some Rolex pieces make only a few hundred.

I know there are plenty that make extremely good money, but generally speaking it looks like they make little more than scrap value unless super rare.

Is it simply that they are out of fashion?

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You cant judge by ebay, it is the Meka of clones, fakes, bodged together and diy repaired junk on earth.

If I wanted a genuine pocket watch with a genuine 6497 movement that had paperwork and proof of servicing etc,

it would cost me a fair old bit im sure...

 

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Pocket watch collectors generally fall into two camps.  One person wants it for a wedding, and an ingersoll will be fine.  The others are serious collectors who want old, gold and as complex as possible.  The middle ground for decent but plentiful watches is swamped, with more sellers than buyers, which keeps prices down.

I've started buying a few pocket watches and stop watches, purely as they interest me.  But there is masses of choices every week.

The ones to look for in my humble are military or railway pocket watches

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I couldn't help but feel one day they would be more desirable and prices may rise- as with classic cars which passed through the unfashionable phase and now command strong money, although you don't tend to get many Indian/Chinese copies of Mk1 Escorts, Quattros and Series I Land Rovers!

I hadn't realised there were plenty of fakes around but it makes sense, easy to make/copy as the parts are crude compared to todays fancy almost microscopic components, and unless you're looking at watches made of gold there may be nothing else obvious to tell them apart to a novice buyer- i.e. those buying for special occasions as mentioned above.

When it comes to buying a nice one (which I plan to for my son when he is Christened) I will not be buying through eBay, but it is interesting to look!

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On 19/08/2019 at 18:05, TDC said:

I couldn't help but feel one day they would be more desirable and prices may rise

I inherited a silver pocket watch from 1881. It's a beautiful thing made by a small family firm, but there were hundreds of watchmakers like that, buying in movements and cases. Unless someone had an interest in that particular watchmaker, I can't see it ever being valuable.

I also inherited a wristwatch by "Sir John Bennett Ltd" from 1925. His company made pocket watches in the late 1800s and they come up on Ebay from time to time, but often it's an unsigned movement in a genuine case, or only the dial is signed. It's a bit of a minefield.

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a swiss made pocket watch with a stainless steel case new was over 300 bucks.    a good time keeper for hunting or working in   heavy equipment,   rather than a plastic, electronic, cell phone.    i wounder if the good ones are  still being made?

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2 hours ago, vinn said:

a swiss made pocket watch with a stainless steel case new was over 300 bucks.    a good time keeper for hunting or working in   heavy equipment,   rather than a plastic, electronic, cell phone.    i wounder if the good ones are  still being made?

I've got to say I know of nobody who still uses one other than during formal occasions but yes i guess there are still applications where a robust pocket watch is better than one on your wrist, such as mechanics, welders, plasters- all people who you could not imagine entertaining the thought of using a pocket watch :laugh:

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6 hours ago, TDC said:

I've got to say I know of nobody who still uses one other than during formal occasions but yes i guess there are still applications where a robust pocket watch is better than one on your wrist, such as mechanics, welders, plasters- all people who you could not imagine entertaining the thought of using a pocket watch :laugh:

     i don't count battery operated pocket watches.     they are very comon and very low priced.  i'll try to post the name  of a modern  jeweled pocket watch.  vin

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On 19/08/2019 at 18:05, TDC said:

I couldn't help but feel one day they would be more desirable and prices may rise- as with classic cars which passed through the unfashionable phase and now command strong money, although you don't tend to get many Indian/Chinese copies of Mk1 Escorts, Quattros and Series I Land Rovers!

I hadn't realised there were plenty of fakes around but it makes sense, easy to make/copy as the parts are crude compared to todays fancy almost microscopic components, and unless you're looking at watches made of gold there may be nothing else obvious to tell them apart to a novice buyer- i.e. those buying for special occasions as mentioned above.

When it comes to buying a nice one (which I plan to for my son when he is Christened) I will not be buying through eBay, but it is interesting to look!

You have a long wait if you are expecting a price rise.

I have collected pocket watches for years one of the oldest and nicest I have is a full box and papers Hamilton but I dont see that fetching anything significantly more than I paid over 10 years ago.  Yes, ebay is swamped with pocket watches mainly because they were made in large numbers, they are a paint to get rid of, often found in car boot sales (Read ebay sale "Found at estate sale" because it sounds more posh than the local flea market) many are broken and will cost a fair bit to repair (Not impossible and many not too difficult because of the size of the movement) 

Most of what is found on ebay is sold as scrap for the silver or in some cases gold.  There is nothing wrong with buying from ebay, there may be plenty of fakes knocking about but if you are looking at certain brand names rather than good historical pocket watches you will get your fingers burned just as you would looking for a wristwatch.

What you will find mostly on ebay is the mass produced pocket watches, get them cleaned and serviced and you have a nice vintage piece.  When buying one of the more higher end pocket watches you are probably best seeking out someone who knows what they are dealing with (And the price may reflect this)

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