Watch Damage: How Will It Affect the Resale Value of my Luxury Timepiece?

Luxury watches are more than just an accessory to tell time. They are significant financial investments that you will be looking to protect. However, worn on a daily basis they are likely to sustain some wear and tear and it is important to understand what this will mean to the resale value of your timepiece.

How Watch Damage Will It Affect the Resale Value of my Luxury Timepiece?

How Does Watch Damage Impact Value?

There are various components of a watch that are susceptible to various degrees of damage. Below is a breakdown of the 7 most common areas prone to damage and the percentage that this may take off of the resale value:

watch anatomy

1. Watch Case- the protective metal case that encloses the works of the watch

The good news is that slight scratches to your watchcase will have minimal effect on the resale value- up to 5%.

Significant damage however (including nicks and dents) can require a tremendous amount of re-polishing which will physically affect the shape of your watch. The edges may need to be rounded and resulting in the watch no longer look brand new- up to 50%.

2. Bezel- the rim that fastens the watch crystal protecting the inner mechanisms of the watch

The bezel often takes the most abuse in a watch, especially rubberized bezels on certain brands that can sustain deep gouges. Should the watch require a brand new bezel- up to 60%.

3. Crystal- the transparent cover that protects the face of the watch

Most often made of sapphire crystal, these can still chip and even shatter. Chips can take off up to 10% off the resale price whereas a shattered crystal requires extensive work and can take off up to 70%. If the dial has shattered, glass can get into the movements and need to be meticulously removed.

4. Bracelet- leather, metal or plastic strap

It is important to keep all the links as each of these can cost anywhere from $60-$700 or more to replace. Wear and tear and deep gouges- up to 30%

5. Crown- button located on the outside of the case for winding the watch

A damaged crown can remove up to 20% of the resale value whereas a missing crown can remove up to 30%. When the crown is missing water and dust can enter the movement causing significant damage that requires extensive work.

6. Dial- the face of the watch

Older watches with a patina (thin green or brown layer on the surface of the metal) but an original dial retain their value. However, a refinished dial will drop in value by as much as 50% as it takes away from the authenticity of the watch. So although the dial may appear imperfect, it will fetch a much higher price at resale than if you replace the dial with a new, non-branded dial.

7. Movements- the mechanism of the watch that calculates the passing of time

Much like the dial, luxury watches that have had parts replaced with non-brand components decrease in value by up to 50%. It is important to remember that a collectible watch will be considered tampered with if all components are not specific to the brand. To ensure the highest possible resale price, avoid replacing elements with non-factory parts.

Top Tips To Retain Value To Your Watch, From Tom Pozsgay, myGemma' Watch Expert:

It is important to note that even if your watch has damage, it will still hold value and it is worth getting an estimate from an expert.

  • All watches should be serviced every 4-5 years. Neglecting to do so can take off up to 20% of the resale price. One of the rare exceptions to this rule is the Omega Coaxial that only requires servicing every 7-10 years.
  • Keep the box and papers as this adds up to 20% to the value of your watch.
  • Water damage renders a watch almost worthless as the repairs can cost as much as the original price of the watch. Make sure to screw down the crown when exposing your watch to water. When changing battery, ask that a water resistancy test be performed.
  • Keep hold of your service receipts and all links.
  • If you chose to replace a strap, do so with a direct replacement.
  • Keep your automatic watch on a winder as this keeps the oil moving and your timepiece prime condition.