If you've arrived on this page, it's probably because you're looking for an easy way to determine the value of your antique watch. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way to determine the value of an old watch unless you are a watch expert, and even then it can be tricky! Vintage watches are a unique and relatively complex mechanical antique that can span a range of several hundred years of production, with millions of watches produced and thousands of variations Whether you are a buyer or seller of vintage watches, knowing what you're looking at and having a good understanding of the factors which affect the fair-market value of a watch could make hundreds or even thousands of dollars difference in the price you pay or receive.
While we are primarily concerned with evaluating vintage pocket watches, these same general rules apply to any antique watch, including vintage wristwatches. We hope that the information we've provided helps you learn more about your watch, and helps you become a more informed buyer or seller of vintage watches. If you don't know what your watch is, there's no possible way to know what it's worth.
If you're buying or selling a car, it's not enough just to know that it's an old Ford. You would need to know the year, model, engine size and type, whether it's an automatic or manual transmission, how many miles it has on it, what kind of condition it's in, what special features it had that made it more or less collectible, etc.
The same is true for vintage watches. In order to accurately determine value, you must first determine who made the watch the manufacturerand as much information as possible about the model, grade, age, size, quality and unique features of your watch.
Click here for our article on watch identification. Buy from Amazon. For many American watch brands, the age can be determined using the serial number from the movement the "works" of the watch. You must use the serial number from the movement, not the serial number from the watch case!
Our Company History Pages have serial number information for most of the more common watch brands. For some watches, particularly Swiss or European watches, it is much harder to determine the age of the watch because there are no serial numbers.
Most Swiss pocket watches did not have a unique serial number which can be used to date the watch, and for those watches the age must be estimated by the style of the movement and the way the watch is constructed.
Incabloc shock protection system
Unfortunately, this requires a fair amount of experience and understanding of how watches were made over the years. Several of the books and vintage watch pricing guides on our Watch Books page can help you learn to identify various movement types and styles. Some watches were very cheaply made, while others used the best materials, and were very finely finished.
Determining the overall quality-level of your watch is a key to understanding its value. One general rule-of-thumb is jewel count; the higher the jewel count, the higher the quality.
Most antique watches with a few exceptions have a minimum of seven jewels, and for standard movements the highest jewel counts were 23 or 24 jewels. Below 15 jewels is considered a lower-grade watch. Sometimes the number of jewels is clearly marked on the movement, as in "19J", and sometimes it can only be determined by a watchmaker examining the watch. See our article on Watch Jewels if you're interested in learning more about why jewels are used in watches.If you're new to vintage watch collecting, you may not know what types of watches to look for and which would be best to avoid.
You're also probably not an expert in assessing the internal condition of a vintage watch Or, perhaps you're looking to have your vintage watch repaired and want to know if it's "worth it" to fix your watch. While that's a question that only a watch's owner can ultimately answer, as a general rule we don't encourage the purchase or extensive repair of low jewel-count watches unless they hold special sentimental value for their owner.
In many cases, the cost of reparing a seven-jewel watch can exceed its worth. Now before we get a bunch of angry email from proud seven-jewel watch owners, let me say that there are some fine examples of seven-jewel watches out there that have been used little and are in excellent condition. And there are many beat-up, non-working seven-jewel watches that are still prized family heirlooms just because it was great-grandpa's watch.
Most vintage mechanical watches made in the last years are designed with a "jeweled lever escapement. Jewels are used in a watch as bearing surfaces at key points of friction. A polished jewel is good for this purpose because it is very hard and can be made very smooth, thus reducing friction and wear.
In a jeweled lever watch, the first seven jewels employed in the construction of the watch are typically : 2 balance hole jewels, 2 balance cap jewels, 2 pallet jewels, and one impulse or roller jewel; that is the jewel arrangement you'll find on virtually every seven-jewel pocket watch. The pallet and roller jewels are key parts of the escapement. They control the release of energy from the watch's mainspring, through the gear-train, to the balance, allowing the energy to "escape" in a controlled fashion A jeweled bearing, which supports the "axle" staff of the balance or train-wheel, allows the wheel or balance to run with minimal friction as the polished wheel-pivots only make contact with the hard surface of the polished jewel.
In a seven-jewel watch, the only moving wheel that runs in jeweled bearings is the balance wheel. All of the other gears in a seven-jewel watch are not supported in jeweled bearings; the steel pivots turn in a hole in the brass plate instead of a jewel, and are thus subject to greater friction and wear. Since the hardened-steel wheel-pivots are much harder than the surrounding brass, the wear is concentrated on the brass plate. Asymmetrical jewelling on Elgin Mod 5 shows difference between jeweled and non-jeweled wheel-bearings.
The gears on an old pocketwatch operate under a lot of spring tension, especially on 12, 16 and size pocket watches with strong blue-steel mainsprings. As the watch is running, the gears turn round and round, and the steel axle of the gear under all that spring tension gradually wears away at the side of the hole that it rests in. This is even worse if the watch is run without adequate lubrication, or if abrasive dust or grit gets into the movement.
Some lower-grade Elgin watches seem to be particularly susceptible to this problem. The oil-sinks the little "well" in the plate that keeps the oil around the pivot on those watches are a little too deep, which makes the bearing surface of the hole quite thin.
As a result, these plates can wear out quickly if run dirty or without adequate lubrication as shown in the photo. The wheel pivot will eventually enlarge the hole in the brass plate just like a tiny file, and since it's being pushed by spring tension, it will tend to elongate the hole in one direction until the hole is no longer circular When the hole becomes oval or egg-shaped, the axle of the wheel begins to wander off vertical, and the wheel depth how one gear meshes with the next is affected.
When this occurs, friction can increase and power-transfer from the mainspring to the escapement becomes much less efficient. The gear-train is no longer able to do its job. In severe cases, the gear train will bind and the watch will no longer run. The problem of enlarged plate holes does not occur in watches with higher jewel-counts, because these watches use jeweled bearings on most or all of the gears. The jeweled bearing presents a hard surface which does not wear like the steel-on-brass grinding which occurs in a non-jeweled bearing.
Enlarged plate holes This same problem can occur in old. Unfortunately, the "seven-jewel problem" isn't a simple problem to correct.
Over the years, watchmakers have made numerous attempts to deal with enlarged, ovoid plate holes.Technos 17 jewels vintage wrist watch 1950s
Sometimes we see watches where the holes have been "punched"A password reset email has been sent to the email address on file for your account, but may take several minutes to show up in your inbox. Please wait at least 10 minutes before attempting another reset. Lost your password? First Name. Last Name. Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email. Email address. Registering for this site allows you to access your order status and history.
We will only ask you for information necessary to make the purchase process faster and easier. Higher grade watches have traditionally used a jeweled movements, which means that jewels originally natural ruby, now synthetic ruby were actually used in the movement.
These jewels are functional - they are used as the bearings for the wheel trains and in high wear parts such as the escape lever and impulse jewel. A lower-end movement from before would typically use 5 or 7 jewels; this end of the market has pretty much been taken over by quartz. Nowadays, most manual wind watches will have a standard complement of 17 jewels, which are:.
Sign in close. We've sent you an email with a link to update your password. No account yet? Create an Account Login. Shopping cart close. No products in the cart. By Emi Gurra. Nowadays, most manual wind watches will have a standard complement of 17 jewels, which are: 1: Impulse jewel the part of the balance wheel assembly which receives a kick from the escape lever Balance staff pivot bearings two pairs - in combinations of one pivot jewel i.
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The "Problem" with Seven-Jewel Watches
Unanswered Questions. Wiki User A 17 jewel watch is worth different amounts, depending on the make and condition. As ofa 17 jewel watch will most likely bring no more than dollars.
What is the value of a lady's 23 jewel watch? Asked in Pocket Watches How much is an Arnex 17 jewel incabloc pocket watch worth? Asked in Wristwatches How much is a omega seamaster 17 jewel calibraton watch worth? Asked in Timex What is the value of a timex 17 jewel watch? A Timex is not an expenisve watch so it is worth Asked in Pocket Watches What does a Elgin pocket watch sell for 17 jewel? The price for an Elgin 17 jewel pocket watch varies by condition.
Asked in Wristwatches How much is a majestime 17 jewel watch worth? This will depend on the condition and age of the watch. There are examples available on eBay and other auction sites. You can also take it in to get appraised. Asked in Pocket Watches Identify your 17 jewel Swiss pocket watch?
Asked in Pocket Watches How much is a sekonda 18 jewel pocket watch stainless steel case worth made in ussr? Asked in Wristwatches How much is your gloriosa 17 jewel watch worth?
Asked in Wristwatches What is the price of a vulcain 17 jewel watch? Asked in Jewelry, Wristwatches Is their a 75 jewel watch?
How to Determine the Value of Your Vintage or Antique Watch
You'll receive email and Feed alerts when new items arrive. Turn off email alerts. Skip to main content. Refine more Format Format. Items in search results. Search refinements Categories. Pocket Watches Wristwatches 8. Necklace Watches 1. Format see all Format. All Listings filter applied. Buy It Now. Brand see all Brand. Alsta 1. Arnex Avia 1. Candino 2. Material see all Material. Gold Plated 8. Silver Plated 2. Not Specified Closure see all Closure.All Rights Reserved.
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Hottest Questions. Previously Viewed. Unanswered Questions. Mechanical Engineering. Is a 23 jewel watch better than a 17 jewel watch?
Wiki User What is the value of a lady's 23 jewel watch? A 17 jewel watch is worth different amounts, depending on the make and condition. As ofa 17 jewel watch will most likely bring no more than dollars.
Asked in Pocket Watches What does a Elgin pocket watch sell for 17 jewel? The price for an Elgin 17 jewel pocket watch varies by condition. Asked in Pocket Watches Identify your 17 jewel Swiss pocket watch?
Asked in Wristwatches What is the price of a vulcain 17 jewel watch? Asked in Wristwatches How much is a omega seamaster 17 jewel calibraton watch worth? Asked in Timex What is the value of a timex 17 jewel watch?
A Timex is not an expenisve watch so it is worth Asked in Wristwatches What is the value of your old rodania watch? Asked in Pocket Watches Arnex 17 jewel incabloc pocket watch? Asked in Pocket Watches How much is an Arnex 17 jewel incabloc pocket watch worth? Asked in Wristwatches How much is a majestime 17 jewel watch worth? This will depend on the condition and age of the watch. There are examples available on eBay and other auction sites. You can also take it in to get appraised.
Jewel Ens died on Asked in Wristwatches How much is your gloriosa 17 jewel watch worth? The shaft ends of the faster moving wheels and gears have conical points that ride in small jewels ruby usually. This assures minimum friction for the movement. The "odd" number jewel is at the back of the second hand.