Where do I get a pocket watch appraisal done?
I find that most people just want to take their pocket watch, clock or whatever they may have, along to a local antiques appraiser who can take a look at it for five minutes, then give an accurate valuation as well as divulge all manner of tidbits of information, for example who made it, where it comes from, how old it is, and most importantly of all, what it's worth. If only it was that easy!
Now don't get me wrong, there are people who can do this just by looking at a particular timepiece. But they are the exception. Most times any pocket watch appraisal will entail a fair amount of digging to get to the bottom of exactly what has been presented to the appraiser, especially if, as often is the case, various markings aren't where they are supposed to be.
Can my Pocket Watch Appraisal be done by email?
This is a tricky one. If certain conditions are met, namely that sufficient high quality (did I stress that enough?) pictures are given then in my opinion, yes an appraisal can be done via email. There are those people who simply refuse to accept that however, and I willingly accept that it is much more difficult than having the actual item in your hands. The ability to look for minute details in places where the owner simply would not think of taking a picture of cannot be understated. If all you need is a rough idea of what your item is worth, this could be a very cost-effective way of getting a cheap but reliable watch appraisal.
If however, you are after a detailed watch appraisal, ideally you should take your antique pocket watch, clock or antique to someone close by who can do a proper inspection in their own time. If there isn't someone close to you then you can always mail the item to the appraiser, but of course this has its own disadvantages.
Are there some appraisals I should avoid?
A good question, and the answer is a definite yes. If you find an 'expert' who wants to charge you based on a percentage of the items worth, turn around and walk out! There is a very definite conflict of interest with this method, so give this one a wide berth. Also, I have been told that some people will only give verbal opinion of your pocket watch value and won't put anything in writing. That's fine, but only if there is little or no fee involved and the information you are after is only of a casual nature. Otherwise always insist on a full written report if you want an appraisal of any quality.
For an online appraisal, I am listing one that is well visited and appears to be very well priced. The online pocket watch appraisal service is by ValueMyStuff.com (link opens new window), which has a price of only $15 for a single appraisal, or if you have more than one item, $35 for three appraisals.
If you use this service, please let me know what your opinion is, thanks.
For a professional appraisal service, which will obviously cost significantly more than the one above, I suggest you check out the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) Appraisal Services page. Presumably they have actual experience of those whom they are recommending, but please make your own enquiries.
Do you know of a good Pocket Watch Appraisal service?
If you do, please contact me here.