Pocket Watch Collection

Value (2013) | $21,000 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
You have stories about each of these watches, which I would love you to tell me. The first one we were going to talk about is this one, which is in the nice box and has some engraving on it.

GUEST:
Yes, very nice. I got that at a Cleveland watch show in the late '70s.

APPRAISER:
The first thing that I noticed about this is the fact that it has these feathers engraved on one side. Those are known as Prince of Wales feathers. It's the emblem of the Prince of Wales. Turning the watch over, we can see that the watch has a presentation inscription. And it was given by, it says, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales to an American sea captain when they landed on their tour to the United States in 1860. Edward went on to become king of England around the turn of the century. But what's interesting about this watch also is if you open it up, we find that the watch revolves inside the case and converts from having a front cover to one which has only the back cover with the Prince of Wales feathers on it, and if we turn the watch over, the inscription has disappeared and it's now an open-faced watch. This was a popular kind of watch case in the middle of the 19th century known as a convertible case watch. It's very, very collectible. Now, what did you pay for this?

GUEST:
$1,500.

APPRAISER:
I think you did well. A watch such as this without the inscription is probably worth $1,500, but when you add the inscription to it, perhaps you might even double that price. Now, there are two other watches here that you brought as well. The first one we look at has a multicolor monogram. Now, if we open the front lid of this case, we can see that not only does the watch tell time, but it has a complicated dial. Can you tell me what this is?

GUEST:
It's a repeater.

APPRAISER:
A repeater is a watch that chimes the time.

GUEST:
Yes, very much so.

APPRAISER:
And up at the top near noon is a calendar dial. It tells you every month of the year for four years, right?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
What does that tell us? It tells us it's a perpetual calendar. A perpetual calendar is one that we don't have to correct if months have different numbers of days in them. This is a watch that's quite valuable and very much sought after by watch collectors. I would say this is a watch worth in excess of $15,000.

GUEST:
Well, that's great.

APPRAISER:
Now, the last one, up at the top near noon, it has a winding indicator. It tells you when you should be able to wind the watch. When you turn the watch over, and you can see that the back of the case has been cut away. Inside there, you can see all of the works of the watch. Not only have they removed most of the metal from the plates, but they've made the wheels out of gold. They've set the jewels in gold cups. It's an Elgin. It's a model eight, 18-size Elgin which has been skeletonized. It's been made as a presentation watch. And if this was not a skeletonized watch, it would still be worth, with a winding indicator, over $1,500. But with this kind of work on it, it could again be worth twice that.

GUEST:
Very surprised.

APPRAISER:
You're very surprised? I am, too. I'm surprised to see watches as nice as this. It's a great treat.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, NY
New York, New York
Value Update (2013)
$21,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$21,000 Auction
Event
Columbus, OH (August 14, 1999)
Period
19th Century

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