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Hello, I'm wondering if anyone could advise me as to the history, value, and care of older "Patek Philippe(sp)" pocket watches? My own research indicates exhorbitant (and dubious) values. The watches currently reside in a bank safebox, so unfortunately no pics today. I will try to have my dad get the model #s and approx. period of manufacture ready for a future post. Thanks in advance.
 

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Hello, I'm wondering if anyone could advise me as to the history, value, and care of older "Patek Philippe(sp)" pocket watches? My own research indicates exhorbitant (and dubious) values. The watches currently reside in a bank safebox, so unfortunately no pics today. I will try to have my dad get the model #s and approx. period of manufacture ready for a future post. Thanks in advance.
Well, there are no cheap Pateks :-d But we don't do valuations... history, well history is something else.

I'd start digging around on Amazon for some books. Pateks are featured in some... you might learn a lot!

For insurance purposes, you should have pictures. Movement pictures are important. Of course, there is no reason once you have taken the pictures to document for the insurance company that you couldn't share them with us :-!
 

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The Patek Philippe serial numbers are available and up to 1925 were pretty straightforward. After that, well....
http://www.brittons-watches.co.uk/NEW_SITE/history_dating/Date_Patek.asp
We don't attempt valuations here but as Eeeb pointed out, if you have a Patek collection that is something rather special.
Even with a Patek Philippe though, condition is very important as far as value goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've never lain eyes on these pieces, and so can't comment on condition. My dad saw an antiques show that featured one on pbs recently. He was astounded at the expert's valuation and called to tell me he had some stored with other things "at the bank" (I'm assuming he meant in a safe deposit box) and asked me to do the necessary research, so here I am. I remembered watchuseek from my last foray in here, and all the great advice I received then. In a round-about way these revelations concerning the Patek watches and others are all coming about as a result of an illness in the family, so I feel like all the horrible stuff is in some small way being tempered by happy news. Thanks!

The Patek Philippe serial numbers are available and up to 1925 were pretty straightforward. After that, well....
http://www.brittons-watches.co.uk/NEW_SITE/history_dating/Date_Patek.asp
We don't attempt valuations here but as Eeeb pointed out, if you have a Patek collection that is something rather special.
Even with a Patek Philippe though, condition is very important as far as value goes.
 

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Hi -

Sorry to hear about an illness in the family, that's always worrisome.

Please do read our note about valuations.

Let me expand on that briefly, as Patek pocket watches are fairly rare and almost invariably valuable.

For highly collectible watches, it's critical to have as much of the new watch as possible: the perfect collectible would be still in the original shopping bag, complete with receipt, a picture of frozen time, as it were. Those are the watches that command the best prices.

The difficulty will be, if you decide to sell the watches, in finding the right buyer. While it might seem like a good idea to sell on eBay, I wouldn't: if your Pateks are in great shape, you might want to see how the high-end auction houses could help you.

Without having seen the watches, there's no way in knowing what they are. They could be, given the name, worth a significant amount of money, though (but don't get your hopes up!), and you can maximize what you might get for the watches by getting professional to help you...

JohnF

PS: Do let us know what you have! Pictures! :)
 

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Absolutely agree with JohnF.
One more thing. Do not attempt to wind or run these watches if they have been sitting for years in a safety deposit box. That will do more harm than good.
They will need service by a real professional as part of your preparation to sell (if that is what you have in mind.) If not serviced plan to deduct a fair bit from the selling price.
You might want to contact Patek directly if you have the serial numbers. They usually can help with model info etc.
http://www.patek.com/patek-philippe.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi -

Sorry to hear about an illness in the family, that's always worrisome.

Please do read our note about valuations.

Let me expand on that briefly, as Patek pocket watches are fairly rare and almost invariably valuable.

For highly collectible watches, it's critical to have as much of the new watch as possible: the perfect collectible would be still in the original shopping bag, complete with receipt, a picture of frozen time, as it were. Those are the watches that command the best prices.

The difficulty will be, if you decide to sell the watches, in finding the right buyer. While it might seem like a good idea to sell on eBay, I wouldn't: if your Pateks are in great shape, you might want to see how the high-end auction houses could help you.

Without having seen the watches, there's no way in knowing what they are. They could be, given the name, worth a significant amount of money, though (but don't get your hopes up!), and you can maximize what you might get for the watches by getting professional to help you...

JohnF

PS: Do let us know what you have! Pictures! :)
JohnF, thank you for your concern as to our health crisis. We remain hopeful.

My dad, who's been divesting lately, mentioned retreiving the watches to have them mailed up here. I've urged him against doing this. I will probably go down this or next month to retrieve them myself, at which time they'll get stashed in my bank safe deposit box where; I imagine, they'll be for the next 50 years...with the exception of the few occasions when we take them out to oooh and ahhh over them. Regardless of whatever condition they're in, they are family heirlooms and will be treasured and enjoyed as such.

As for selling - things in my family tend to get passed-down, not sold. My grandmother sold an old and apparently valuable doll in the 70s and the recriminations about it didn't stop for years. And my father waited years before he trusted my older sister's husband enough to start including him in on what gets passed down. By their 20th anniversary, I guess he had to admit that a sufficient amount of time had passed.

I will post pictures/info. as soon as I have something useful. Thanks again for the helpful advice.
 

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they'll get stashed in my bank safe deposit box where; I imagine, they'll be for the next 50 years...with the exception of the few occasions when we take them out to oooh and ahhh over them.
Well..granted these are likely valuable timepieces but you are visiting in a watch lovers' forum here. So...
In my view the place for such wonderful family heirlooms is not in a safety deposit box, but in a beautiful display case in your home. Further to this viewpoint, if you can afford to get them restored to working order, that should also be an objective.
If you plan on selling them, by all means store them in a safety deposit box. Then all you care about is maximizing your return. But as a piece of family history they deserve better.
We are talking about one of the finest time machines in the world - something that will give immeasurable joy to generations to come if it's passed on as a fully capable, running object.
I spent lots to get my grandfathers' pocket watches running again- and they were not Pateks.
 

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With most watches - and especially Pateks - , it depends on exactly what you have and what state it's in. Patek Philippe have made rather less than one million watches of any type in their entire history (a decade or so ago, the count was at under 600 000). Any one of these is going to be fairly valuable. If the watch is special - e.g. chronometer pocket watches made for observatory accuracy competitions, something with a complication, etc. - the price soon rockets. Although it's most unlikely that your watches are in that league, the most expensive watch ever was the "Henry Graves" complicated PW by Patek Philippe. At auction about five years ago, it fetched 11.5 million US$! (Curiously enough, it has been resold since then - at "only" about 2 million! Shows you that you have to hit the right day with the right people there as well.....)

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
With most watches - and especially Pateks - , it depends on exactly what you have and what state it's in. ... Although it's most unlikely that your watches are in that league, the most expensive watch ever was the "Henry Graves" complicated PW by Patek Philippe. At auction about five years ago, it fetched 11.5 million US$! (Curiously enough, it has been resold since then - at "only" about 2 million! Shows you that you have to hit the right day with the right people there as well.....)

Hartmut Richter
?????? 11.5 million???
Well, not having set eyes on them, I can't vouch for their condition, thou I think it's a safe bet the watches my dad--who's fairly knowledgeable about antiques--refers to as "those old things from your great-g-grandad" don't come close to that valuation! And, if they're truly Patek's, then I suppose I should start being a little more cautious about broadcasting that fact.

Thank goodness for Antiques Road Show! It must have been kismet that my dad saw the show when he did and asked me about it. I'm so glad he didn't just stick them in the mail box!

Okay. So, I suppose my first order of business is to find a reputable and knowledgeable watch repairman! :-!
 

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Well, that 11.5 million$ watch was a grande complication with about 24 features (minute repeater, chronograph, perpetual calender, display of night sky over Geneva, etc. etc.....). Yours are unlikely to be in that league. Still, if they aren't ordinary pocket watches but have complications, prepare to be at least mildly surprised!

Hartmut Richter
 
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