Should You Recycle, Keep, or Sell that Old Gold Watch?

If you’ve ever spent time perusing old watches at pawnshops or antique malls, you already know that the variety of brands and styles is staggering. There’s a reason for that. Hundreds of thousands of gold and gold-filled watches were manufactured in the days before the world went digital. Some were wristwatches, others pocket watches. Some ladies’ models were even made as brooches or pendants. Some were made in Switzerland, others here in America. They can be made of rose-colored gold, or yellow, or white. Yes, the variety is bewildering.

 Gold-filled pocket watch cases that Specialty Metals customers have shipped to us for recycling and refining.

Gold-filled pocket watch cases that Specialty Metals customers have shipped to us for recycling and refining.

Even if you don’t buy an old gold watch, you could own one anyway – possible more than one. You might have inherited them from elderly relatives. Maybe you got one as a gift when you graduated from high school. Older watches with gold and gold-filled cases just kind of show up. But what are they worth?

Be on the Lookout for Luxury Brands

Chances are you’ve heard of the luxury watch brands like Omega, Rolex and Patek Philippe. If you have one of those, you’re not going to melt it down. But other highly sought-after collectible brands might be less familiar to you, including Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-Lecoultre and Audemars Piguet. If you own any watch from an unfamiliar maker, it’s worth doing a bit of online searching – both at eBay and on the sites of watch dealers – to get an inkling of whether you have something that could command big prices from collectors. You can call us too, at 800-426-2344 and we can give you a free over-the-phone opinion about whether your watch could be worth significant money to collectors.

Don’t Overlook Non-Luxury Brands

There is money to be made recycling the gold that is found in watches in this category. Forty or 50 years ago, many American watch companies like Gruen and Waltham made watches with cases that were gold-filled (i.e., plated with thick layers of gold that are worth recycling). Still other American companies imported Swiss watch movements and put them in gold-filled cases. Less-than-high end watches with gold-filled cases are often good candidates for recycling. Again, call us at 800-426-2344 for some immediate advice.

Look for Stamped Hallmarks

In many cases, old watches will have markings that indicate whether their cases are made of pure karat gold or whether they were gold-filled with karat gold. Again, give us a call at 800-426-2344 and we will be happy to explain what those little marks and numbers are telling you about your watch’s potential value.

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