The value of an antique pocket watch often comes down to manufacturer, condition, type of metal used and the numbers of a particular watch made. In 2010, demand for pocket watches was increasing while supply was decreasing.
To find out how much your pocket watch is worth, you need to know who the manufacturer is and how old it is. This is easier said than done, because millions of pocket watches were manufactured since they became popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the best resources to use to identify your pocket watch is The Complete Price Guide to Watches by Cooksey Shugart, Tom Engle & Richard E Gilbert.
Several elements go into determining the value of a pocket watch, including what the watch is made of. Gold and silver watches are more valuable than those made of brass, for example. Condition and quality of workmanship are also key factors. Finally, the watch's historical value and rarity complete the picture of value. A lower quality watch once owned by a famous historical figure would be worth more with provenance than the watch by itself.
The most valuable pocket watch created was designed by Patek Philippe, who created the watch in 1932 for New York banker Henry Graves, Jr. The watch was sold in 1999 for $11 million. While most pocket watches don't have that kind of value, any watch manufactured before 1800 is extremely rare and, depending on other factors, likely quite valuable. One of the best ways to determine the value of your watch is to see how much it has sold for recently at auction.
Claire Blackwood worked as a journalist for 12 years in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Washington D.C. She's worked as beat reporter, as well as a national editor for a business magazine based in Washington. Blackwood is also the author of several novels under the name Jane Goodger. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Rhode Island College.