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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at purchasing a Hamilton Model 23 and the owner asked me to make him a reasonable offer. Although I think he is asking too much, he's asked me to make an offer and I don't want to insult him or low ball him.

I believe it dates to 1942 and based on my observations it is in incredible condition inside and out.

Can anyone give me an indication of its value? Any reference (pricing guide, etc) for the value given would be greatly appreciated as well!

Thanks,
Scott
 

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We do not do appraisals here due to the difficulty of evaluating a watch without having it in hand, and it would be especially difficult in this circumstance since we do not even have photographs to go on.

With that said, Ebay is as close to a "living" price guide as is available. Here are a few recent completed Ebay listings that actually sold to give you an idea of value range. Keep in mind when looking at these listings vs. the one you're looking at that condition is king. With model 23s in particular, you want to pay particular attention to the legibility of the case back markings, as well as to the case material(some were base metal, and some sterling silver). As you can see, there's a nearly $800 spread in prices in the below auctions.

Vintage Pocket Watch WW2 Hamilton M 23 Chronograph 16S 19J Runs Dial | eBay

Hamilton 1940s Model 23 Military Chronograph Pocket Watch 19 Jewels | eBay

Navigational Stopwatch Hamilton Model 23 19 Jewels Type AN5742 1 Running Nice | eBay

Hamilton 1942 Military Chronograph 19 Jewel Sz 16 Model 23 of Pocket Watch | eBay

Hamilton Model 23 Military Chronograph Pocket Watch WWII Era | eBay

Hamilton Navigational Stop Watch Model 23 | eBay

Hamilton Model 23 Military Chronometer Navigational Pocket Watch - NOT RUNNING

Hamilton Model 039 23 034 19 Jewel WWII Navigation Watch Just Serviced EX Condition | eBay

Hamilton Pocket Watch WWll Model 23 Navigational Chronograph 19 Jewel Works | eBay

WWII Vintage Hamilton Model 23 Military Chronograph All Original | eBay

Vintage Hamilton Model 23 Military Chronometer Navigational Pocket Watch | eBay

Hamilton 16S of Chronograph Military Navigational 19J Model 23 Stop Watch Pocket | eBay

Hamilton Pocket Watch WWll Model 23 Navigational Chronograph 19 Jewel Works | eBay

Hamilton 16 Size Navigational

Vintage Hamilton Military M23 Chronograph | eBay

Vintage Hamilton Model 23 Military 2 Reg Chronograph Pocket Watch WWII Era | eBay

Hamilton 1940s Model 23 Military Chronograph Pocket Watch 19 Jewels SN P1514 | eBay

Hamilton 1940s Model 23 Military Chronograph Pocket Watch 19 Jewels SN P27033 | eBay

Hamilton 1940s Model 23 Military Chronograph Pocket Watch 19 Jewels SN P12646 | eBay

Hamilton 1940s Model 23 Military Chronograph Pocket Watch 19 Jewels SN P12646 | eBay

Vintage WWII Hamilton Military Chronograph Pocket Watch Grade 23 16 Sz 19 Jewel | eBay
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your time and information Ben, it is very helpful. According to the 2014 Complete Price Guide to Watches - the watch is valued at $750. What does this number mean? Is this the resale vale? Market value? Is it a value for insurance purposes? If the watch I'm interested in could be classified by a legitimate "appraiser" as "mint", does is mean it is worth $750?

Again, any help would be appreciated as I'm very interested in making an offer that doesn't offend the seller.

Thanks to all!
 

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Thanks for your time and information Ben, it is very helpful. According to the 2014 Complete Price Guide to Watches - the watch is valued at $750. What does this number mean? Is this the resale vale? Market value? Is it a value for insurance purposes? If the watch I'm interested in could be classified by a legitimate "appraiser" as "mint", does is mean it is worth $750?

Again, any help would be appreciated as I'm very interested in making an offer that doesn't offend the seller.

Thanks to all!
This is purely my subjective opinion, but the values in the price guide are all but useless. I find that prices on common watches(and I'd classify the Hamilton 23 as common) are often anywhere from 25-100% high compared to what they actually sell for, whereas there are rare watches listed in the guide that bring 2-10 times their "book value" when they come to the market. I trust Ebay prices, live auction prices, and what I see things watches change hands for at NAWCC marts and other private venues far more than I do the price guide.

Incidentally, the two major horological auction houses that handle American pocket watches are Jones-Horan and R.O. Schmitt.

JONES & HORAN AUCTION TEAM

Horological Auction Specialists - R. O. Schmitt Fine Arts

Each of these houses generally hold two auctions per year, and have online archives stretching back several years with prices realized. I often use them as a reference when trying to research a price on a piece.

Going back to your price guide and condition question-I'm going to insert a mini-rant and say that most of the American collectors I run around with tend to avoid the word "mint." It's a word derived from coin collecting(where a "mint state" coin is quite literally in the state it was from the mint). That aside, whatever terminology you choose to use, it's very difficult to find a watch that is truly problem free("perfect" is the word most of the "anti-mint" collectors I know use). On common watches, the right column is the number that a dealer might price a watch at(but probably wouldn't actually get). If you're going to go by the guide, somewhere betwen the left and center column is probably the safer number to use for buying, especially on common watches.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your assistance - I made an offer on the watch based on eBay sales, sales from the two auction houses Ben recommended, and the "price guide". The seller countered with an extreme number, then I countered with just a little over my original number - and the seller accepted. I feel like I might have paid a smidge more than I should have but this is the make and model I've been wanting and the apparent condition is better than the ones I've seen over the last several months. I should have it on Monday! I'm pretty excited - this will be my first legitimate pocket watch and I can't wait!

Thanks again!
 
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