Wittnauer Pocket Watch, ca. 1925
This was a pocket watch that belonged to my father-in-law. He was a local businessman here in Knoxville and operated his business for 30-some odd years as a blind person, legally blind. He suffered from retinitis, so he progressively, from his 20s on, lost sight. It was in his collection when he died. He died of leukemia when he was 65 years old. His wife, my mother-in-law, gave it to me.
What we have here is we have an open face pocket watch, 14-karat solid gold case with a 14-karat gold chain, beautiful hands, porcelain dial, Arabic numerals, nice and clean watch. The movement is so beautiful. Everything is bright and shiny. This watch was made by the Wittnauer Watch Company circa 1925, located in Switzerland. Wittnauer later became Longines-Wittnauer, still located in Switzerland. And they've been making watches for over 125 years. And on the dial it's marked "Huguenin-Breguet," which, both of those companies were watch making companies in their own right in Switzerland. They would have retailed or partnered with Wittnauer to market and sell this watch. What makes this stand out is that this is what they call a repeater. This is a minute repeater and it will chime or ring on the hours and on the minutes. On the side right here, there's a lever. (chiming) Did you know this watch chimed?
No, I didn't, but because he was blind, he was interested in things like that. He had an electric watch that talked to him.
In today's market, this watch with the gold chain, a retail price, should bring about $7,500.
It's going to stay in the family, so the value is secondary, but it certainly is a surprise.
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.