Late 19th-Century Antoine LeCoultre Perpetual Calendar Watch

Value (2008) | $35,000 Auction$40,000 Auction

GUEST:
This watch belonged to my grandfather. He was a watchmaker. And it got handed down to my father and then to me. And I've had the watch for about the last 40 years.

APPRAISER:
Where have you been keeping it?

GUEST:
In the safe. It hasn't seen daylight except for maybe today and couple of other times. And I know almost nothing about it, because I can't find a name on it, a maker's name.

APPRAISER:
Okay. It's a perpetual moon phase calendar watch. We would say it has a lot of bells and whistles, if you will.

GUEST:
We call it the fancy, no-name watch.

APPRAISER:
There you go. Usually a watch would have a maker's name somewhere over here. And a lot of companies did make them generically to be branded by the retail store later on. And a lot of times they went out and that didn't happen. It's a lever-set. You pull this lever down and then you set the time. You push the lever back in and then you can wind it. Over here on this subsidiary dial, we have numerical date. We go over here, you have the day, written in French. Down below, you have a classic subsidiary second hand, with the moon face. Then we go to the top. This is one of the best parts. It's a perpetual calendar, so it gives the months. Being perpetual, what it does is once every four years adjusts for leap year. It also has a nice little feature. You see this button up top?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's a chrono, so you could use it as a stopwatch. So we push this button... and we can see the second hand moving around. We push the button again to stop it. And then we push the button again to return. Now, it's also a repeater. I'm going to activate the repeater now. It's with this slide right here. You told me something when we were at the table. What did you say?

GUEST:
Last night in the hotel, I was looking at it, I didn't have my glasses, and I saw something underneath the dinger, but I couldn't read it.

APPRAISER:
Well, there was a company that did hide it under the hammer. I'll chime it again. So right under this hammer, the top one, it says LeCoultre.

GUEST:
Oh...

APPRAISER:
Antoine LeCoultre, he formed the company about 1833. He basically was in the business of making ébauches, which is the engine or the movement for the watch. But soon after that, they got into manufacturing watches. This was most likely made in the later part of the 1800s. It's what we call a hunting case, and it's very heavy, very solid. It also has an interesting feature, which a nice watch like this would. It has what we call wolf's teeth winding.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The teeth are like those on a circular saw. So you put all this together and now we know it's LeCoultre. Any feelings on what you think it's worth?

GUEST:
Oh, at the time, I thought maybe $5,000, because it's... I think it's a gold case, 18-karat. But no name, so I was thinking maybe $5,000.

APPRAISER:
You have to seriously consider this at auction today somewhere between $35,000 and $40,000.

GUEST:
No!

APPRAISER:
Yep.

GUEST:
Jeez. That's fantastic, huh? Wow. Thank you.

APPRAISER:
You're welcome.

GUEST:
Are you ser... really?

APPRAISER:
Yeah. Yeah, I'm not kidding you. Jeez.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Doyle New York
New York, NY
Appraised value (2008)
$35,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Event
Palm Springs, CA (June 07, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Form
Watch
Material
Gold

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.