Need appraisal on my grandmothers old bulova watch, serial # 1518119. It has links as its bracelet and is attached to the watch on its side with clips
Without more information, such as a picture of the watch or more information about the case, it is difficult to provide a value for this item. In general, vintage fancy ladies watches (the kind that are approximately the diameter of a U.S. nickel or smaller) are not very collectible. As recently as a few years ago, these were bought and sold in bulk for only a few dollars each. In nice cosmetic condition and running properly, a Bulova ladies fancy dress watch in a steel or gold-plated case might retail for between $15-50 at an antique mall. They might sell for somewhat more at a jewelry store that stands behind the accuracy of the movement, but because the inventory of these watches is so large and demand is fairly small, prices for these watches remain much more modest than similar age men's mechanical wristwatches.
Some valuation exceptions do apply. Certain brands of watches, such as Rolex, IWC, Blancpain, and other premium brands, are worth much more than common brands like Bulova. Ladies watches with sweep second hands, as opposed to fancy watches that just have hour and minute hands, are more desirable and are also worth somewhat more than average. Also, watches in solid gold, platinum, or silver cases--or watches with diamond chips or ornate cases--are also worth at least their "melt value" as scrap metal or have an independent value as fine jewelry. All precious metal cases must be labeled; if they are not labeled on the outside of the back cover, they should have be marked on the inside of the back cover (you'll need to carefully take the movement out of its form-fitted case to see this). Be aware that "14k RGP" or "rolled gold plate" on the case means it is not solid gold. Similarly, cases that are "warranted" for 10, 15, 20, or even 30 years are also gold-plate, not solid gold.
Today, with the increase in gold prices, many people have been buying these watches to melt down the gold-plated or gold cases for their gold value, throwing out the watch movements and watch bands. This may have a long-term impact of raising the value of these watches in the long term, as this is decreasing the supply of available watches of this type (it's also frustrating to watch collectors to see the watch movements discarded, as these are valuable sources of replacement parts that are no longer made). However, tens of thousands (more likely hundreds of thousands) of these watches exist in the United States alone, so there is little likelihood that these will become scarce in the immediate future.
May 09, 2011 |