Top 10 Watches to Pawn in 2021
January 5, 2021
Are you aware of the value of the classic watch you have stashed away at home? Classic watch brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling and many more represent not only a beautiful item to wear or store away for safekeeping, but also a valuable asset to use against a cash loan.
Classic watches such as these hold their value thanks to their reputation, design, quality of workmanship and exclusivity, while results at auction are testament to their desirability and lasting appeal.
New Bond Street Pawnbrokers are specialists in assessing your classic watch and will be able to offer a cash loan against its value. The team are experts in many brands and can advise on the factors that will determine an individual piece’s value, and current market trends.
Of course, each brand has its own unique identity and features, and there will be many factors within each of these that have an influence on your watch’s value. Let’s take a look at some of the best-known watch brands for an idea of what our experts will be looking for.
Rolex’s iconic status means it is a safe bet for achieving and maintaining an excellent value. The Submariner, Daytona and Rolex GMT are highly desirable models, or if you have a model that is no longer in production, for example the 16800 Submariner, you will find that it fetches a higher value. Association with celebrity is also a sure way to increase value. A rare Daytona model belonging to Paul Newman fetched $17.8 million (£13.8 million) in 2017, breaking all previous records for valuable watches.
This Swiss brand combines style with exquisite technology, resulting in a failsafe investment piece. In 2015, an extremely rare 18 carat gold perpetual calendar watch made in 1957 fetched 545,000 USD (£425,000) at auction, almost doubling the expected sale price. This brand is known for some of its very rare vintage chronograph pieces, of which only 286 were made between the 1930s and 1950s.
The Patek Philippe brand represents some of the most innovative pieces ever made. The Sky Moon Tourbillon in pink gold was the brand’s most expensive and complex watch ever produced when it launched in 2001, and their rarity at auction makes these watches both highly desirable and valuable. If you have one of these stylish pieces in your cupboard, it’s well worth having it valued as an asset against a loan.
Breguet watches boast an impressive technological standard and unique touches, such as the “secret signature” which is engraved on the dial but only visible when looked at obliquely. Even if your Breguet doesn’t quite match the 102,500 Swiss francs (£80,000) a 1952 precursor to the Type XX fetched in 2018, you will be sure that the value of your piece will benefit from the cachet this brand carries.
Known as the pilot’s watch of choice, this brand has close links to the aviation industry and bears many advanced technological features. A Navitimer model went for 27,500 USD (£21,000) in December 2018, reflecting the brand’s desirability and everlasting appeal.
Considered one of the world’s top luxury brands, if you are fortunate enough to own a Cartier watch you are in possession of a valuable asset that can be used as collateral for a high-value loan. Vintage Cartier watches always do well at auction, as do more contemporary models – in 2018 the hammer went down at 21,250 Swiss francs (£16,800) on a Cartier Tank mono-pusher chronograph that was one of only 100 made ten years previously.
Although well-established, this elegant brand is known for its contemporary but classic look, with some unique touches. The brand boasts some showstopping models, for example the Imperiale Quartz 28 mm white gold ladies’ wristwatch, which is set with pavé diamonds and fashioned from 18 carat white gold. If you are the proud owner of this or any other Chopard model, you are sure to have in your possession a valuable and unique asset.
Perhaps lesser known than some other high profile brands, the IWC does not, however, disappoint with its collections of luxury watches, mainly associated with sport and adventure. The Portugieser’s clean dial and unusually large face are reminiscent of the 1930s and it is considered to be its iconic model. Because they were initially made only in small numbers and still today conjure up a feeling of exclusivity, the Portugieser remains highly desirable and a valuable asset.
Another fine Swiss brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre is renowned for some unusual and highly technical methods of embellishing their classic watches. In “snow-setting”, diamonds are painstakingly placed on the watch to create the look of shimmering snowflakes as they appear in nature. This attention to detail is reflected in the prices this brand fetches at auction: in 2011 a QP Staybrite sold for 70,000 euros (£62,500).
This classic Italian watchmaker has long been associated with the military, divers and all-round adventurers, while the limited editions that Panerai produce keep their value high. A Luminor Submersible 1950 Bronzo sold for 187,500 Hong Kong dollars (£18,614) in November 2018, its distinctive bronze case reminiscent of underwater adventure.
Closely associated with iconic sporting events and stars, Richard Mille watches even use high-tech, ultra-durable material usually associated with aerospace in their designs, taking this brand to another level, while futuristic designs make them instantly recognisable. Despite only being established in 1999, thanks to their uniqueness Richard Mille watches do sell well at auction and will offer you a great asset against a cash loan should you wish to make the most of your distinctive timepiece.
Taking design to a futuristic level, Urwerk watches are the epitome of the unexpected. A brand created in 1997, these watches are constantly evolving with innovative and surprising new features – rotating complications to indicate the time and numerals projected through optical fibre. Despite being a relatively new brand, Urwerk watches have excellent resale value for their quirky appeal. Rare early prototypes are particularly sought-after, for example, and UR-102 Nightwatch fetched $17,500 (£13,600) at auction in June 2017.
Vacheron Constantin have been making watches since 1755, and so this long-established brand is rightly considered one of the classics. Any of their watches represents a sound investment and asset to trade against a loan, in particular the rarer examples such as the 260th-anniversary edition released in 2015, the Reference 57260. In 2005 a Reference 57260 owned by King Fouad I of Egypt fetched a stunning $2.77 million (£2.15 million), giving an indication of how highly this brand is regarded.
A. Lange & Söhne
This German company is unique in that it was originally established in 1845, ceased trading in 1948 after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic, but was resurrected in 1990 following German unification. Models are described as simpler looking than their Swiss counterparts, bearing a distinctively German appearance. A reliable investment, these fetch excellent prices at auction – in 2018 a “Homage to Walter Lange” model reached $852,525 (£660,000), one of the highest prices ever achieved for this brand.
If you are seeking a cash loan against your classic watch, you will find the experts at New Bond Street Pawnbrokers the go-to specialists to assess its value by looking carefully at its condition, age, rarity and provenance – so be sure to bring in any original documentation such as receipts, service history and certificate of authenticity. With over 25 years’ experience in classic watches and other luxury goods, you can be assured of a professional, specialised and friendly service that takes your individual asset’s unique features into account.
How do pawnbrokers assess the value of your watch?
There’s no one single consideration that pawnbrokers refer to when deciding how much a pawned item is worth. They tend to take a wide variety of factors into account, specific to that time.
When you take a luxury watch to a pawnbroker, the first thing they’ll consider is its market value.
Although around 85% of people reclaim their pawned possession after they’ve paid a pawn loan off, a pawnbroker needs to think about what happens if someone can’t afford to pay the loan back. The pawnbroker will then have to sell the item in order to recoup the money lost.
Assessing the watch’s market value determines what the watch could be sold for if the pawn loan isn’t paid back. A pawnbroker will use a number of factors to work out market value, including tapping into their own industry knowledge and expertise, as well as referring to current watch price lists and similar items for sale on sites such as Amazon or eBay. In some cases, if the luxury watch is rare or very unique, the pawnbroker may need to draft in expertise from a specialist to evaluate its market worth.
Bear in mind that the market value of your luxury watch won’t equal the amount you’ll be allowed to borrow from a pawnbroker. In most cases, a pawnbroker will only offer you around 60-70% of the actual value of your watch. Plus, there’s also the interest on top of the loan to consider.
Demand and supply
How much a pawnbroker will let you borrow against your luxury watch will also be influenced by demand and supply factors. If the market is already saturated with this brand or model of watch, its value amount will be lower than a watch that is highly sought-after and in short supply. Demand and supply trends can change over time, so if you pawned the same watch a few years ago, bear in mind that its value may fluctuate if market variables have since changed.
Pawn loan values will also be decided according to the specific brand and model of the watch. More exclusive models will command higher values, especially those that are considered investment pieces or from limited edition stock. Brands such as Rolex are always in great demand from collectors, for example, so you can expect a good financial return in this instance.
Before deciding the loan value against your luxury watch, a pawnbroker will scrutinise it thoroughly to check its condition. Precision is vital in many luxury watches and any malfunction with the timekeeping or its components could impact on its future saleability, therefore lowering the loan value. In some cases, if the watch is highly sought-after, minor imperfections may not impact the loan value too much, especially if these can be repaired. Watches that have been cared for and stored properly will often command higher values than those that haven’t.
Pawnbrokers will also assess the watch’s authenticity before agreeing a pawn arrangement, so relevant documentation may be required. If the watch is deemed to be a fake, don’t expect a decent pawnbroker to do business with you
Your personal situation
It’s not just the attributes of the watch that a pawnbroker will consider when deciding upon a value figure for your loan. They’ll also weigh up the likelihood of whether you’ll pay the loan off and redeem the watch, or whether they’ll end up having to sell it on.
Pawnbrokers make money from the interest of the loan. They want to see customers pay the loan off and claim back their item, rather than having to try and sell it on themselves.
Therefore, if they think that the customer stands a good chance of paying the loan off, they may offer a more generous loan value than one who doesn’t. How can a pawnbroker know what to expect? If the customer is a repeat one, who has pawned the watch before, there’s a good chance they’ll repay the loan and reclaim their watch again. In fact, 80% of people who use a pawnbroker do so at least twice per year, typically using the same pawnbroker.
The pawnbroker will also assess whether the customer actually wants to retrieve the watch, basing the loan value on how important or sentimental the watch is to the person. If it’s a family heirloom, the customer is more likely to want it back after the loan period compared to someone who’s pawning a watch given to them by an ex-partner, for instance. Again, higher loan values may be offered if the watch is of personal value to the customer, as they’re more likely to pay the loan off.
In order to ensure you get the best deal when negotiating a pawn contract for your luxury watch, it’s always a good idea to choose a reputable and professional pawnbroker in London, such as New Bond Street Pawnbrokers.
Some of the many watch brands we loan against include: A. Lange & Sohne, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Tiffany, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Rolex to name just a few.
If you need to get your hands on some cash quickly, pawning a luxury watch is one option to consider. But, how does a pawnbroker work out how much to lend against your timepiece?