I have received many requests to value watches on this website, and honestly that is an impossible thing to achieve, so instead I have created an Elgin pocket watch appraisal article for you to read. Placing any type of value on an Elgin watch just can’t be done with any degree of accuracy or confidence. The best experts in the world would not attempt this unless they had the actual watch in their hand and their trusty eye-glass with them.
As I said earlier what I can do is to explain how to do an appraisal of your antique watch. Hopefully this will at least help and guide you along the way but please be advised that if you want an accurate value then you need to take it to an expert and you will need an auction or real value quote and a quote for insurance purposes. The one for insurance purposes will typically have a higher value as it should cover the real cost of replacement.
Elgin Pocket Watch Appraisal Explained
All genuine Elgin watches will have two serial numbers, one on the case and one on the movement. The only one in terms of value that you should look at and write down is the serial number on the actual movement. When you have that then click on this table to get the year the watch was made. You now know the year which is always important in terms of value. Now as a sense check only I would next go to eBay or other shopping sites online and see if there are similar watches for sale and get indicative prices. Please be aware many people on auction sites always over value their watches so this should only ever be used as a guide. By now you should have some sense of value and hopefully you it is at the higher end of the value chain. This is a good starting point in your initial Elgin pocket watch appraisal.
For genuine collectors like me the only thing and the only details I am interested in are those of the movement. Many people believe that the case is the most important thing and when advertising focus on that. For real collectors this is useful information but we are much more interested in the movement.
Once I know those details then the next thing I want to know is does it run, does it keep time and how accurate it is. After that in terms of value I would like to know do you have the original box, a bill of sale or any letters that tell a story about the watch. I am also a bit of a case fan and that is usually the first thing you see and catches my attention.
It is however pretty meaningless when you are doing the actual valuation. Just pray that some person hasn’t tried to clean the case with the wrong cleaning agent.
If you have done this type of appraisal then you are very close to ascertaining a truer value. The general information captured above will quickly lead to an initial idea of value. Almost every single person I have ever met who has come across an Elgin over estimates its value. I don’t want to be a kill joy but you should be aware that in reality the huge majority of antique pocket watches have a value of around $50-75 and not the many hundreds the finder thinks it is worth. Sorry for the reality check but always better to think on the low side and maybe be pleasantly surprised.
Elgin Pocket Watch Appraisal – General Value Considerations
Although not always true in the vast majority of cases the older the watch the more valuable it will be. If you have the original box, bill of sale or associated information then this will always add value. Then you should consider the condition of the watch. In particular look at three things during your appraisal:
- Movement – It should be original with no replacement pieces ideally. Look for wear and tear as a well looked after watch is always more valuable than one with worn down parts. Does the movement work and does it keep good time?
- Dial – Look for cracks, fading of the dial face or discolouring. With dial faces get a strong magnifying glass and look very closely for hairline cracks or stressed areas.
- Case – Again with the case look for scratches, chips, dents and general condition. What is the case made of? Inscriptions will likely reduce value unless for someone famous.