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Hello. I have a question. I am going on ebay and see a lot of watches that do not work for 10 bucks or what ever. They do not work and are for parts. Is it worth buying part watches even though there are no watches to match. I know what you are thinking " Buy watches that you are interested in collecting" the only problem is that I do not know what I will get. And what watches are most valuable as part watches for rare parts? I I collect watches nobody here (La Rose, Solar, Lorie) has ever heard of but am becoming interested in more common pieces like Omega, Brietling, Hamilton and Weslox.
 

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I have bought and restored a number of 'parts' watches. Often sellers prefer to list faulty but otherwise mostly complete watches for 'parts' to avoid having to deal with buyer's false expectations. Some of them can be reasonable deals, if you can repair them yourself (for fun, not profit). To pay someone else to repair them is poor economics.
 

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I've bought allot of "parts watches" for parts or in some case betting that they can be fixed. Most of the time they are complete, but on occasion I've gotten watches which were not disclosed as incomplete which were significantly incomplete. In one case I bought a rare watch ('69 Zenith El Primero) as an incomplete parts watch with the intent of putting it together over time. Took me over a year to collect all the necessary and correct parts. Well worth it. I've never seen one for sale, except for the parts watch I bought. I've also failed to get some "basket case" watches, which I was surprised were so heavily competed for.

But, with respect to your question, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you're interested in. Then you need to do a bunch of research to figure out how valuable parts will be. I've learned allot by watching Ebay auctions for years. It is a great way to get insight into what is available, what is in demand and probably most importantly what is really rare. Value is all dependent on how much you want a watch or what use you have for parts.
 

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Depends on the watch, I suspect. For the watches I'm interested in - late American Elgins, especially the Durabalance automatics - parts watches are a great help. In fact, this watch...

760SS.jpg

was a non-runner I picked up for $18. I picked up another non-running movement for 20, and shipped them both off to the watchmaker, and got back a running, serviced Lord Elgin 760 automatic. Because I sent the parts watch, restoring it cost only the same as a COA.
 

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For me personally, they are well worth it. However, if you see one you like, and it doesn't run well or is a parts watch, it can be cheap enough for speculation. When you get it you may find it is repairable. Or, if you find another of the same, as Gene says, you can get a running watch out of the two. Watchmakers are always looking for parts watches, some models more than others.
 

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Depends on the watch, I suspect. For the watches I'm interested in - late American Elgins, especially the Durabalance automatics - parts watches are a great help. In fact, this watch...

View attachment 370591

was a non-runner I picked up for $18. I picked up another non-running movement for 20, and shipped them both off to the watchmaker, and got back a running, serviced Lord Elgin 760 automatic. Because I sent the parts watch, restoring it cost only the same as a COA.
Sorry for my ignorance: what is a COA?
 

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COA = Clean, Overhaul, Adjust.

US term for a service.;-)
 
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