Below we have some great guidelines, but -- as always -- we
recommend you consult with an expert before
"blowing" too much of your hard earned money on any
the information below was gathered from the Antiques
Roadshow Primer, but it is not complete. If you want more
of the same type of information, we highly recommend you
purchase the book at pbs.org.
There are four criteria for
determining if a clock or watch has value: mechanical
complexity, reputation of the maker, aesthetics and
condition. While mechanical
complexity, the reputation of the maker, and a fine aesthetic
all contribute to the value of a timepiece, first and foremost
is condition. Collectors want their timepieces to be in
original condition and, ideally, to work.
If the movement of a timepiece
has been extensively repaired, if crucial mechanical parts are
no longer the original ones, or, most disastrously, if case
and movement were not born together, value will be
Often, clocks or watches that
strike the hour, the quarter-hour, the minute (in ascending
order of value) also play music or incorporate moving figures
and are more valuable than any ordinary timepiece. It can be
very expensive to repair such timepieces, however, and never
easy to find knowledgeable and competent repair persons.
Old clocks that have to be
wound daily are not as desirable as eight-day clocks. Although
clock winding may have once been a comforting daily ritual,
the. average modern purchaser of an antique clock can seldom
find the time for such routine.
Most clocks -- tallcase,
bracket, carriage, shelf, and banjo -- are signed or
labeled by their makers. The signature of the clockmaker will
be of only documentary interest, however, unless it is that of
an important maker, for only an important maker's name will
increase the value of a clock.
Dials should not be crazed or
cracked, although replacement hands, if not glaringly obvious
(out of scale, out of period), do not seriously affect value.
Any timepiece with a replaced movement, either battery-driven
or electric, is worthless as an antique.