Sell Pocket Watches

A pocket watch is a bit off an oddity nowadays. It used to be the only type of watch men wore, but not since wristwatches became popular after World War I. They are still being produced today, but more of a curio than anything else. However, gold pocket watches can be quite valuable. If you want to make the most out of selling your gold watch, find out more about it. You may be able to do better than you expect. Of course, it may not be more than the melt price of the gold, but you never know.

A bit of history

The first mention of the pocket watch in history is in a letter written by Bartholomew Manfredi, an Italian clockmaker, to the Marchese di Mantova Federico Gonzaga, dated November 1462. In it, Manfredi offered the Marchese a better pocket watch than that owned by the Duke of Modena.  The pocket watch evolved from an awkward-looking timepiece worn around the neck called a clock-watch or Nuremberg egg, because it was shaped like an egg and made in Nuremberg.

Types

Your gold pocket watch may be either an open-face watch or a hunter-case watch. There are variations, of course, but these are the main styles.

Open-face

A pocket watch that has no metal cover is open-faced. It was also called a Lépine watch after watchmaker and Clockmaker to the King (Horloger du Roi) Jean-Antoine Lépine.  In most cases, the open-face watch has a winding stem at 12:00 and the sub-second dial at the 6:00 position. A sidewinder, on the other hand, has the winding stem at 3:00, which may be fitted with a conversion dial with the winding stem at 12:00 and the sub-second dial at the 3:00 position.

Hunter-case

Pocket watches with a spring-hinged metal cover are called hunter-case watches. The cover is to protect the dial and crystal from the elements during foxhunting.  The hunters needed an easy way to open their watches with one hand.  Another name for is savonette, a reference to its resemblance to soap, for which the French word is savon. Most antique hunter case watches have hinges at the 9:00 position, with the winding stem in the 3:00 position.  If you have something like that with you, the you know you have an antique. Modern ones typically have the hinges at 6:00 and the wind stem at 12:00.  All hunter-case pocket watches have the sub-dial at 6:00.

There are also hybrids, or demi hunters. It still has a metal cover but it has a glass panel in the middle so you can see the hands.  The hours are etched out in blue enamel on the outer lid so you can see the time without opening the cover.

Gold pocket watches

Gold pocket watches come in all these forms, but they are often distinguished in some way that affect their value, not the least of which is the gold content.  It is not easy to find the value of your gold watch however. Your best shot is to have it properly appraised by a watch expert

Sell options

Selling pocket watches is easy enough, especially if they are made of gold. However, even if it isn’t gold, you can still find a buyer if you know where to look.

Online

Many online watch buyers out there are after the gold in your pocket watch. They are only interested in the melt value, however, so any historical value your pocket watch has will be lost. On the other hand, your gold pocket watch may not be worth anything except for the gold, so you can still get a good deal.  You just have to make that the buyer has a good reputation and offers insurance against loss when you send it though the postal system, and that they have a post paid system for returning your watch when you don’t accept their offer.

Auctions

You can also sell pocket watches at auctions if you have something you think is worth a lot. The thing with offline auctions is once you put it up for sale, you can’t end it if you change your mind. Of course, you can put a reserve price, just like online auctions, but once the gavel goes down, it’s sold.  However, if you are decided to sell your pocket watch for whatever price it fetches, then you have a good chance of getting a fair price for your pocket watch. There are auction houses that specialize in pocket watches. You are more likely to find people that know about the true value of pocket watches.  Just make sure you’re well up on the commission and fees structure before you commit to anything.

Dealers

The easiest thing you can do is to go to a local watch dealer or pawnshop to sell your pocket watch.  Some dealers know a lot more about pocket watches than a private seller, and you may be able to get a good price if you get quotes from several dealers.  Shopping around gives you more options. The best thing is you can get spot cash for it. If you’re in a hurry, this is your best option.  Pawnshops are also good in one other way: you can pawn it instead of sell it, so you can get it back once you get past a temporary financial glitch. Of course, you will get much less if you simply pawn it than sell it, so if you have no intention of getting it back, selling is your best option.

Conclusion

The most important think about selling your pocket watch is knowing its worth before putting it up for sale. You can get a good appraisal without paying anything if you go to local dealers or pawnshops. It may be worth its weight in gold, or it could be a collectors’ item. You can probably get a whole lot more at auction if you are willing to wait.  If you are in a hurry, however, get the highest price you can get from the local watch buyer or pawnshop.