Call 949-679-2300 or Toll Free 800-688-2994


Valuation of a Watch is Based on the Movement, Case, Condition and Manufacturer


Movement Value

The first mistake most people make when determining the value of a watch is to judge the watch by its cover. The case of most watches is actually constructed by a separate manufacturer. The inner workings of a watch, or the movement, is almost always designed and constructed by a company different than the case manufacturer. Make sure to locate the manufacturer and model number of not just the case, but the movement of the watch as well.

Removing the Movement

As with any finely made item, handling a watch is best left to professionals. If the manufacturer and model number are not on the dial, which they usually aren’t, individuals must remove the movement from its casing. To do this, professionals are able to effortlessly pop the movement out of the case by locating a small rounded indentation near the bottom of the dial. Make sure to avoid forcing a tool into the grooved area when removing the movement. If any difficulty is encountered, it is best to take a watch to a professional. Anyone buying a watch through an online marketplace such as eBay, should simply ask the seller for the movement manufacturer and model number if applicable.

Movement Condition

The condition of the movement of a watch is of the utmost importance when valuing such an item. Movements such as quartz movement watches that have missing gears and springs, are damaged and could potentially require expensive repairs. Those shopping for a watch should ask sellers whether or not the movement of the watch is in good working order. Just a slight amount of damage can turn a fine timepiece into a worthless shell of a watch.

Movement Design

The design of the gears and movement pieces in a watch can make all the difference when it comes to value. Some watches worth a fortune are usually designed with ornately decorated gears that rival the design of even the most aesthetically pleasing case. When determining the value of a watch, note any extra embellishment within the gears in order to determine an exact and accurate pricing range.

Case Value

The movement of a watch is usually the most valuable element of a watch, but cases should factor into an evaluation as well. Whether it is a hunter case or an open face case, a watch without a quality case is almost always less valuable. Locating the manufacturer of the case of a watch is usually much easier than pinning down a movement manufacturer. Look for a name on the back of the case or near the bottom of the watch. Next, determine what type of material the case is constructed from.


Locate the name of the manufacturer on the case of the watch. Usually, this name is simply imprinted on the back of the watch or on the face of the case. Once the name is discovered, use an online marketplace such as eBay, to determine the value of similar cases. Alternatively, individuals can purchase several books that explain the value of certain watch case, and watch movement manufacturers to aid them in their research.


As would be expected, watch cases that are made out of more valuable materials are often worth more than those made with semi-precious metals. A watch movement that is housed in a gold case is likely to be worth much more than a watch housed in a brass case. Any hint of gemstone, or other valuable material, is an adequate indicator that a watch might be of high value. Remember, however, that the movement of the watch is usually the focal point of the watch.

Working Condition

Even if a watch watch is housed in a case of gold or silver accompanied by an ornate, finely tuned movement, the value is often determined by condition. The easiest way to tell whether or not a watch is functional, is to wind it and wait. If a watch keeps time and both hands tick by slowly and smoothly, the watch is most likely in good working order. Even if the hands of a watch do not move, listen for some ticking or humming. A clear tick and a bright ringing noise are good indicators that the watch is in fairly good working order. To fix any mechanical issues, consider visiting a professional watch repair shop.

Physical Condition

Although the value of a watch does tend to hinge on its working condition, physical and aesthetic issues can also damage the value of a watch as well. Any sort of small chip or crack, can drastically reduce the overall value of a watch. Watches that show clear signs of repair, however, are also less sought after, and are therefore less valuable.

Damage to Look for in Watches

The most damaging type of physical condition is water damage. A watch that is labelled as having water damage is likely to rust, and therefore should be avoided altogether. Individuals who own a watch with rust damage are likely to be disappointed by the watch’s value as time goes on. Also, make sure that the case of a watch is not worn down to the base metal, and that it is void of any dents or cracks.

A few things to remember before bringing your watch to Vasco Assets:

  • Bring all factory box and papers
  • Extra links or bands
  • Receipts
  • Appraisal paperwork
  • Repair paperwork