"What??? You must be kidding, my watch is worth 10 times that!"
I must of heard this hundreds of times.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but there are some things worth knowing about evaluations.
First, this is not an exact science!
With the exception of watches that are still in production and are available for sale new (and therefore have an MSRP) - the value of a watch is determined by the market.
A watch is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it.
So how does the market determine value?
Well, there are many factors such as supply and demand in a specific market, commodity rates, availability of disposable income (designer watches are a luxury item) and fashion - to name a few.
Lets see some examples.
First, lets consider the Omega Seamaster 300 watch from the 1970's.
This is a diving watch with an iconic design.
Many guys love the rugged look of a diving watch, even though the closest they will ever come to water is washing their hands.
Importantly the Seamaster 300 is a relatively large watch, so its size fits with the current trend for larger watches.
This explains the demand.
Keep in mind that dive watches were often worn hard and abused.
Therefore there are not too many around from the 1960's and we have a limited market.
These watches are also often faked, so collectors will pay a premium for an all original genuine watch.
So we essentially have a sellers market, in which the Seamaster 300 will fetch relatively high prices.
Another examples is a lady's bracelet watch in 18K gold from the 1960s.
These were small watches, but often had a lot of gold in them.
In this case the watch might be less valuable than you would think.
First, the current fashion trend for Women's watches is also towards big watches.
Small watches are in less of a demand.
Second, there are not many collectors that are into women's watches.
Most watch collectors are men and they tend to focus on men's watches.
In this case, the value of the watch is mostly driven by the gold content, precious stones, etc, with the actual watch only adding a small premium.
The bottom line is that an evaluation is only an opinion and the best opinion is going to come from someone who follows the markets and specializes in watch values (hint - that would be me).
However, at the end of the day you need to remember that a watch is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.