Demand, supply, desirability, condition, and value must be the prime factors in appraising a watch. Demand maybe the most important. Demand can be determined by the number of buyers for the particular item. The watch may be rare (only one or a few produced or still in existence) but the number of collectors may be even more rare and those collectors just as hard to find. A simple but true axiom is that value is determined by the price someone is willing to pay. What is it worth to you? In order to obtain a better knowledge in appraising and judging watches, the following guidelines are most useful. Consider all these factors before placing a value on the watch. There is no rank or priority to the considerations listed.
1. Demand: interest-high or low, desirability is very important. How many collectors want your rare watch?
2. Supply and Availability: How rare or scarce is the watch? How many of the total production remain? Survival rate is key.
3. Condition: the case, dial and movement are all extremely important.
4. Low Serial Numbers: the first one made would be more valuable than later models.
5. Type of Escapement: also technical design of movement and uniqueness.
6. Historical Value.
7. Age: How old is the watch?
8. Case: Is it in its original case? Original dial? Very important.
9. Is it an early handmade watch?
10. Complications: Repeaters, for example.
11. Value: Metal content, style or type of case, beauty and eye appeal.
12. Parts: Size, number of jewels, type of plates (3/4, full and bridge), type of balance, type of winding (key-wind, lever-set, etc.), number of adjustments, gold jeweled settings, damaskeening, gold train.
13. Grade: What grade of condition is it? Pristine, Mint, Extra Fine, Average, Fair, or Scrap? You must determine condition and value or price.
14. Identification: Easy or difficult?
15. Future: Potential as an investment.
16. Quality: High of Low grade or low cost production watches (dollar watch). How much will this watch scrap for?