It’s time to pawn that watch
Watches have been sold in pawn shops for decades now given their value and collectors demand for refined, well-crafted pawn watches. Certain watches have thus been seen as investments and that when the owner feels the time is right and the value is right, they frequently turn to pawn shops to realise the return that they get on the initial purchase of the price and they time they have carefully kept the watch. Unfortunately this does not refer to mass produced watches that are a dime a dozen in the shops and on peoples wrists, but rather to watches that have been manufactured by designers, high-end specialist watch manufacturers as well as rare and vintage watches that have retained their quality and appeal.
Watches are similar to jewelry in that they are often bought for two purposes. The first purpose is of course for aesthetic purposes. To be worn and shown off. The second reason is for investment purposes. Just as a piece of jewelry made of high karat gold and large, clear diamonds has a specific value, so do certain watches that have been crafted by bespoke watch makers in Switzerland or France and are made or plated with precious metals and sometimes set with high-value gemstones. Pawn shops are particularly interested in high value watches of certain designer brands that have established themselves as a master craftsmen and watchmakers of a number of decades. There are in fact watches circulating today that are worth significantly more than your average new Ferrari or Rolls Royce. Two years ago a PatekPhillipe watch, manufactured in 1981 was sold for $1.7 million while a Rolex chronograph watch manufactured in 1942 was sold for $1.2 million by the same auction house.
If you are looking to pawn watches then don’t think that watches made in the last decade with high original purchase prices are in demand. In the same way that jewelry is often passed from generation to generation either as a family heirloom or as an original investment fifty or sixty years ago, watches have also been passed from generation to generation with the hope that they will fetch a large resale value at some point. Many men have a fifty year old Rolex Oyster kept safely in a safe or safety deposit box. If this particular watch has been kept carefully, maintained in working condition and the shine and state of the metal and jewels still reflect light as if they were new.
Watch collecting has become increasingly popular over the last two decades and there are many opportunities to look for and discover collectable watches. Auctions have been established around the world that specialise in specific watch categories. Watches that are more than 25 years old are sold at a specific auction in Geneva, Switzerland while an auction in Hong Kong specialise in more modern watches that are embellished with jewels. Many watch collectors even focus on seeking out watches at flea markets and garage sales to look for the bargain timepiece that will hopefully fetch significant value in the future.
Brands that can often be relied on to hold or increase in value include Rolex and Breitling. These are the more well-known brands but other brands including PatekPhillipe, Cartier, Frank Mueller and Tag Heuer. There are of course other brands that are considered valuable and if you think you may have one of these brands and are looking to sell the watch then you are well advised to go and read more on particular brands that are considered collectors’ items. For example, even early Swtach watches have collectors value. Many of these early functional Swatch watches are rare as they no longer work, were discarded or just never kept in good condition. Of particular interest to collectors are the limited edition early Swatch watches. Given their limited manufactured numbers and unique design credentials, they have increased in value lately due to their popularity amongst collectors. It is the rarity factor that is most often responsible for the value of a watch.
Even within the different brands though, there are categories of watches that have more value based on certain characteristics. Older watches from the 1960s and 1970s with chronograph functions are seen as valuable. Even watches from the 1980s that have a moon phase function can have significant worth. The appeal here is that a mechanical watch is a complicated piece of engineering and design even when just keeping time. When additional mechanical functions are added, the watch becomes complicated. For a forty year old watch to be in good condition and is still functional, then the watch becomes an engineering and design work of art. And this is where real value has been created.
Over the last decade, collectible watches have been seen as an important investment category with the real chances of growth and appreciation. If you are lucky enough to have bought a watch before the turn of the century or have been handed down a vintage watch or watches, then you are probably sitting on an asset that now has real value. An ideal outlet for cashing in on this return or using the watch to obtain loaned cash at cost effective rates, is to pawn watches. There are number of pawn shops across the country that specialise in high value items including rare, vintage and collectible watches. These pawn shops have an ambiance and image that is part jewelry store and part financial institute. If you have not visited a high end pawn shop lately or ever at all, then you will be pleasantly surprised. These pawn shops are well lit, comfortable and approachable. They look professional with a high-end business environment. They are certainly not the stereotyped back street, small, smoky shop that the media has led you to believe they are. You are likely to find minimalist display cabinets and couches that put the customer at ease.
If you have decided to pawn watches then make sure you have done your homework. One of the most important steps on the customer’s side is to know that they have a watch of value. This step is simply to ensure that expectations are likely to be met. You certainly don’t want to walk out of a pawn shop realising your watch had little or no value attached to it. There are a number of websites for watch collectors that detail the brands and characteristics of watches that will determine value. Match these brands and characteristics with the watch or watches you have and you will quickly determine whether you will get a return on your watch collection. If you establish that you do have a watch that is likely to have some value associated with you, then you can make the decision as to whether you want to pawn the watches.
Good pawn shops that have an area of specialization in watches, will have expert watch evaluators. These experts will have spent years honing their skills at valuing watches and understandings of the watch collectors market. The value given to your watch by the pawn shop will not be thumb-suck but will have been given based on a number of characteristic and attributes of the watch, from the manufacturing company through to the condition of the bezel, strap and originality of parts. Having done your homework though, you will probably have a ball park figure in mind for the value and your negotiations with the pawn shop will not be one-sided.
A sale of your watch or watch collection is not the only option you have when dealing with a pawn shop. Reputable, high end pawn shops also offer pawn loans. A pawn loan involves you passing your watch or watch collection on to the pawn shop where it is to be used as collateral against a financial loan passed on to you. This may be an ideal transaction for you as you retain ownership of the watch or watch collection provided that you pay back the loan and associated interest. The benefit of a pawn loan is that the interest charges that are paid on top of the capital loan can be significantly lower than the interest rates provided by banks and other financial intuitions as collateral has been provided thus mitigating a large amount of risk on the loan. If your watches have sentimental value or you believe they will appreciate in value, then a pawn loan may be the ideal option.
Watches have become a good investment category. You may know this already and have been collecting watches for some time or you may have been passed on a family heirloom that has real financial value attached. Whatever the circumstances, there is an option open to you to pawn watches to realise the value associated with your watch or watch collection. Pawn shops are no longer the scary places that were once perceived to be. You will find a friendly, business-like, professional atmosphere where you can pawn watches in comfort and ease.
Style and Investment. Is this your watch?
A watch can often be more than just a functional and style product that sits on your wrist. Watches have, over the last decade, become important investment products, that mature in value with time. Not all watches fit this category, but if you have always had an eye for style, the unusual, the rare and iconic designers then you may be sitting with a watch on your wrist or amongst your watch collection that has, at minimum, retained value since you purchased it or if you are lucky, increased in value over time.
Watch collecting has become an increasingly popular trend over the last ten years and more and more people are investing in watches that are more than just stylish icons, but will bring about a significant return in the future. There are now watch collecting conventions, watch auctions in major global cities and magazines detailing watches and watch brands that from history that are now collectors’ items. Auctions are held in cities such as Geneva, the watch center of the world, and Hong Kong. These auctions even focus on different watch styles and function with some auctions focusing on the more vintage watches from the 1930’s and 1940’s while others focus on more recently manufactured watches from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Major auction houses have quickly entered the watch auction market and Christies and Sotheby’s are regularly selling watches for hundred thousand dollars and upwards. Most major brands are in demand as investment watches. You can safe to assume that Rolex and Patek Phillipe watches will at minimum retain value and very likely increase in value over the next few years. Buying a new Rolex or Patek Phillipe watch can thus be seen as much as investment as a style statement. Other brands are less worthy as investments when bought new but there is a thriving second hand market for most brands of watches and where the watches have a certain set of characteristics, you can probably bet on the watch being a solid investment. Almost any brand of watch has seen investment and collectable activity. More common brands such as Seiko, Citizen, Tissot and Pulsar have seen investment and collectable activity in the second hand market. Surprisingly certain Swatch watches have become important collectible items although you would have to have been buying Swatch watches from the first few years of them entering the market to have picked up a watch that has value today.
Defining what will make a watch a worthy investment is difficult to define. One characteristic that is most frequently required is rarity. Many watch manufacturers will have produced limited additions that were produced in very small volumes. If the watch was made by a well-known watch designer from the 1930’s through to the 1970’s and has been kept in good condition, then you could well be on to a watch of value. To put this in perspective, a Patek Phillipe watch manufactured in 1942 recently fetched $2.77 million in an auction. Possibly not the ballpark that you may be playing in, but an indicator that you should be holding onto brand name watches and keeping them in good condition for a possible future sale. Other characteristics that can set up your watch as an investment is age or its vintage nature. Not all watches from the early 20th century will fetch a high value. Those with unique functions that were a first for watches at the time are often looked out for by collectors. Early digital watches, manual watches that had a chronograph or moon phase function and watches that were manufactured as limited editions or commemorating a particular event are often a good bet to collect high values in second hand sales. The mechanical nature and complexity of a watch can also earmark it as a collector’s item if it was manufactured by one of the exclusive watch designers. Lastly a watch that has been hand-made, and yes there are companies that still hand make watches in very limited quantities, can very quickly mature in value within a few years.
If watch collecting and investing is a hobby of yours already or you are wanting to start this hobby then you will likely want to start off in the second hand watch market rather than paying top dollar for a new piece that may or may not mature in value. Many watch owner’s pawn watches to pawn shops and pawn shops are thus one of the best places to start looking to start your collection or broaden your current collection. Pawn shops have been quick to adopt to newly emerging collectibles and reputable, high-end pawn shops will often have an extensive range of second hand watches that their customers have pawned. If you are looking to buy pawn watches then head down to your nearest pawn shop to have a look at their current collection. Bear in mind that reputable high-end pawn shops are very discerning in the products they accept and you will be paying market value for a timepiece that may be seen as collectible and an investment. On the other hand you will be buying a watch that has proven value and will likely fetch greater value in the future.
If you are a watch collector or you think you have a watch or watches that may fetch some value then heading down to your local pawn shop to pawn watches is a very worthwhile exercise. One opportunity that you should look out for is that watch that was handed down by grandparents or great grandparents through the family. Some people have a Rolex or Tag-Heuer that was passed on that could now fetch significant value at a pawn shop. Others may have been given a designer watch as gift or purchased it themselves for a special occasion. If you would like to put this watch or your collection of watches to good financial use then you can pawn watches at a pawn shop. A pawn shop owner or manager will buy your watches for a market related value that is related to supply and demand within the watch collectors and investors market.
You may feel nervous to pawn watches at your local pawn shop given the unfortunate negative reputation that pawn shops have. There is however little to fear. Pawn shops have undergone an image change of late to rid themselves of their wrongful reputation and to broaden their services to more of the American public. To do this, they have updated and upgraded the look and feel of their physical stores to ensure a professional yet comfortable environment for potential customers. They also strictly adhere to enforced federal and state legislation that has been put in place to both protect customers of pawn shops and to prevent the movement of stolen goods through pawn shops. This has result in pawn shops now becoming more attractive as traders for second hand goods and a safer, simpler and quicker alternative to other second hand traders, particularly those found online. The image change as also resulted in pawn shops differentiating between themselves with some focusing on a more discerning, exclusive customer base who are looking to trade in high value items such as vintage, rare and collectible watches. If you are looking to pawn watches then a reputable, high-end pawn shop is probably the best place to sell your second hand watches.
A good pawn shop will have expert assessors that have extensive experience in valuing items that are very varied in nature. Assessors will have knowledge of the supply and demand of collectible watches and will have done widespread research into what characteristics are valued in collectible watches and what these values are. They will often have a network of watch collectors that they can tap into to both understand the markets and sell pawn watches to. Selling your watches to a pawn shop thus has extensive benefits in that you will be getting an accurate, honest valuation for your watch and will, if you choose to sell, get a sellers price for your watch or watch collection.
There is a second option to pawn watches and that is to take out a pawn loan. As mentioned previously, some people have watches they have been handed down from family members or have bought watches for special occasions. You may not want to part with these watches permanently as they have sentimental value. In this case, you can still put your watch to good use by using it as collateral for a pawn loan. A pawn loan involves you handing over the watch to a pawn shop for a short time period while you pay back the cash loan given to you by the pawn shop. The pawn shop will securely store and insure your watch while you pay back the loan and interest over a period between thirty and ninety days. Once you have completed the payback of the loan, you get your watch back. In this way you get cash to use as you need while still retaining ownership of the watch.
It is time to think more about your watches. They may not just be an expression of your style but could be an important investment. To establish if this is the case, visit your local pawn shop and ask them about their pawn watches service.