Tips on Collecting Clocks and Watches
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Tips on Collecting Clocks and Watches

- By Keith Lehman (PA) 6/28/17

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Besides being the WatchNews Editor, I am also the Creative Services Production Leader, photographing, designing, and laying out many projects. A recent project was to reprint the “Tips on Collecting Clocks and Watches” booklet given to each new member of the NAWCC.

Initially, I was asked to simply locate the original document and set it up for an outside printer. When I saw the original booklet, I knew a redesign was in order, because the cover did not reflect the interests of our members nor the title and subject matter of the book.

To remedy this, I asked Museum Director Noel Poirier what the most sought-after and collectible pieces in the National Watch and Clock Museum are. He suggested the following: a Joseph Ives shelf clock, a Hamilton Piping Rock, and a William Wallace Dudley Masonic pocket watch. I also included a digital and Apple Watch to reflect the modern tastes our members may have. We chose the cover color to attract more purchases in our Museum Gift Shop.

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Written by Doug Cowan, Bill Meggars Jr., Dave Weisbard, and Bruce Shawkey, this book is full of useful tips for the new collector. The list below from the book was intended for newbie pocket watch collectors, but these tips also can be applied to wristwatch collectors:

  • Buy the book before the watch; you can’t have too much knowledge.
  • Don’t flounder; pick a subject or an area in which to collect.
  • “Pretty and running” is a safe place to start, but boring eventually.
  • Rarity alone doesn’t create demand, and without demand, value is nil.
  • First made is like first born, so low serial numbers are desirable.
  • Condition is vital; rough watches are easy to buy and hard to sell.
  • Originality is vital; movement, dial, and case must belong together.

The following passage is in the Wristwatches section of the book: “Most pocket watch collectors only collect American brands, while the field of Swiss brands is wide open to the wristwatch collector. Others collect by a certain era of wristwatch (pre-1920s, 1950s, etc.) without regard to brand. Others like to collect wristwatches with certain complications, such as chronograph, alarm, multi-date with moonphase, and so forth. Others focus on military wristwatches. The list of ways to collect is nearly endless, and fortunately, there is something for nearly every budget.”

The redesigned cover better represents the content of the book and will attract more buyers. This book is currently available only to new members but will be on sale soon in our NAWCC Store.

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