Submitted by plainsmen on December 12, 2011 - 12:53pm

Several times a week we get inquiries as to how much someones vintage Bulova watch is worth.  Rather than explain this over and over, I thought maybe we'd have one post we could possibly make a sticky for anyone inquiring.

The worth of your vintage Bulova or Accutron watch is very subjective.  There are no hard and fast rules that this one is worth X amount.  They are worth what someone is willing to pay for that specific watch.

We've all seen a nice watch sell for a price and then see the exact same watch in relatively the same condition sell for a huge difference in price a day or so later.  It really just depends on how much a buyer is willing to pay for your watch.

Condition also is a huge factor as to how much someone will pay for your watch.  Is it all original?  Has it been kept in relatively new condition with the original box in a sock drawer for 50 years or was it beat up with everday use by a brick layer?  Does it run?  Has it been cleaned?  Is the gold worn?  What is the gold content? 

These are all a myriad of questions that must be factored into every watch sale/purchase.

PLEASE.... do your own research.  Look at the auctions sites over time and see what a watch of your model has been selling for.  That's really the best "guesstimate" as to what your watch is "worth".

Just remember... by "worth" it means what your watch sold for on that given time and date... under whatever circumstances you sold.  It could all be way different the week prior or week after with a different set of buyers.

Posted December 12, 2011 - 2:28pm

I'd like to also add this:

I've seen watches that have been, shall we say "Modified" that I wouldn't want or have in my collection go for huge ammounts of money.

I've also had the fortune to pick up watches that I consider "Priceless" due to rarity or just unusual, that I've picked up for pennies even compared to what they sold for "New".

If it's a family "hand me down" there's sentimental value, so...................................................................

It's only worth what it's worth to YOU!

Posted December 12, 2011 - 7:41pm

 Amen,  this should be a prominent "sticky."

Posted December 12, 2011 - 7:45pm

some collectors perfer certain brands, making a watch of their brand more valuable. some like myself collect vintage or antique pieces that run and keep reasonable time. i know one fellow who collects great big stuff if it completely covers the wrist hes interested. i am lucky enough to have my fathers and grandfathers watches and no one thinks they are as vauable as me. so value it would seem to me depends on who the buyer and seller are. j foley

Posted December 12, 2011 - 7:56pm

Why is this so hard for people to understand? That is one of the first things your told when you join..even if you don't  join you are told that.....Now i have been yelled at for something that your are not told...even when it ask if a watch is for sale or not..(not a big deal i learned my lesson there)...Point is that people are rude and ignorant not only in a face to face situation but on the web also...These people that ask don't care, and are counting on someone giving an answer no matter what the rules are....These people that ask aren't even contributing memebers of this forum or anyother for the most part...They are people looking for what buy it now should they set the price at...or looking information to get the most for their watch...These are people who most likely found some family members old watch and instead of keeping a keepsake or a momento of them they want to grab a quick profit...These messages should be ignored.. i try to contribute as much as i can...although i don't have the knowlegde as some or as nice watches as others but i do try,as do most of the memebers here and those are the people who make this site great and its sad that this message has to be repetetly told....Sorry for this rant but i sick of rude people or people with no thought or manners for others

Elgin Doug
Posted December 12, 2011 - 9:19pm

Yep, you get this on every watch forum - first time poster asking 'How much is this worth?' as if there wre some Kelley Blue Book for vintage watches.

Perhaps we should just give a standard answer:

"It's worth between $5 and $1000."

Posted December 12, 2011 - 10:46pm

In reply to by Elgin Doug

Oh how many times I have wanted to give that answer....but resisted....

Elgin Doug
Posted December 12, 2011 - 11:57pm

In reply to by mybulova_admin

Some temptations are meant to be succumbed to...


Posted December 28, 2011 - 6:19pm

In reply to by Elgin Doug

Maybe the long version should be "$5 if you want to sell it, $1000 if you want to buy mine!"

Elgin Doug
Posted December 13, 2011 - 12:01am

The crazy thing is that there are SO MANY variables that go into what a given watch will sell for.  For instance, I'm sure we've all seen the 'waves' - those times when a particular model appears on Ebay that you don't see all that often, and suddenly there are half a dozen of them. Seems like the first one sells for a bit more than the last one!

Posted December 13, 2011 - 12:40am

In reply to by Elgin Doug

Lol Doug,

That is what Wayne calls the "Sock Drawer Syndrome", You can just hear those drawers open when one sells for big $$$!

Posted December 13, 2011 - 8:03am

We've all been around long enough to know what goes on around Ebay and we've probably all owned a copy of Cooksey-Shugarts price guide, not that those quidelines work either. As long as we are here at mybulova, some folks will do their own research, some won't. We even see that when people post an unknown asking "what is it?" and it's a commonly known model with several ads in the data base. So, better get used to having folks ask "what's it worth?" unless admin builds a HUGE billboard on the homepage,


I like Doug's answer "$5.00 - $1000.00"

Posted December 13, 2011 - 9:09am

When "Diplomacy" doesn't work, I suggest.....................................................................................

$1,000,000.00 and that's on the low end!
Posted December 13, 2011 - 9:27am

If someone is looking for information I see no issue with telling them what I can within the confines of the rules of the forum. What I sometimes do is give someone who asked this question an idea of where their watch fits within the relative rarity scale of Bulova timepieces.  If someone were to ask the value of an early cut corner Lone Eagle I would not give them a number but I would say that this is a rare and desirable model.  The same goes for a solid gold case being more desirable than a gold plated one. Plainsmen put it all very clearly.  And as others have said a family heirloom is priceless.


Posted December 13, 2011 - 9:41am

I know the knowledge, time and effort that goes into every finished (restored) piece I own and when (if) offered for sale will be priced accordingly.

Posted December 13, 2011 - 9:44am

Jay, I believe this whole post was designed to relieve some frustration that's been building for some time! Shawn pretty much spelled it out with his comment about certain people who join and are just to lazy to do the endless hours of reasearch we have all done to ID our watches.

Every one of us has helped new members in the past, be it on ID's or how this site was designed to be used.

My personal belief is I try to help "where I can, when I can".

Posted March 5, 2012 - 11:19pm

In reply to by simpletreasures


Thanks for the help you give when you can.  I posted the possibility of selling a watch that I inherited.  Not because I want the quick buck, but because I am trying to fund some missionary work that I am being called to do, in Cambodia.  If I can come up with funds another way, I will gladly keep my watch because.  I'm more of a Rolex guy (pre-1974) but the Bulova is a nice peice, and I have 2 others as well as pocketwatch, with no complaints.  Little did I know that I would be touching on a sensitive subject.  I understand though as I feel the same way about other collections I have.  I collect a lot of things ranging from vintage hockey memorabilia, fountain pens, ink wells, to watches.  I have a lot of each.  Most of my hockey stuff I got with my grandfather as I was growing up, and it means the world to me because it was our project before he passed.   Those things are priceless (at least to me). 


blessings, randy

William Smith
Posted December 13, 2011 - 3:46pm

I have a citation list (bibliography) including various price guides and internet auction sites etc... which can be useful if someone is willing to put forth that much effort.  Perhaps a "canned" message or post w/ this info could simply be referenced for these types of questions? 
The main core of contributors here are spending hours and days ID'ing and researching and adding to the ads and database etc... and these types of posts/questions are most likely taking away effort/resources from these folks as they strive to be accomidating while following protocol.

I'll dig out my bib and send to admin.....but then it takes time for admin to do something with this info- time which could be used more productively.

I have found the price of a vintage watch depends on the mood and motivation of both the buyer and seller at the time of the transaction.  ...but that's more vague than "...$5 to $10000"

Posted December 13, 2011 - 4:19pm

Here Here, Will, Well said. I'm sure admin will figure out a way to utilize your contribution even if it takes a little time. I simply won't respond to "What's it worth" queries as it is pointless given all the variables and the market places. What might sell for $300.00 today could sell for $125.00 or less  next week!

Reverend Rob
Posted December 13, 2011 - 7:00pm

 Just my 2¢, but there are watch forums out there that absolutely will not give any kind of valuations. One of the reasons I dislike eBay is that there is no way to know beforehand  exactly what you're looking at, what it's condition really is, or even if any claims made about it are even remotely true: "Serviced by expert recently, running flawlessly", is one of my faves. In most cases, this is misleading or an outright lie. I have even been handed watches from eminent authors and dealers (no names) that have been touted as the above, only to find them to be no such thing.  (Usually 'Buy the Seller' works, though) A good rule of thumb, of course is always calculate the price of a service into any watch purchased, unless you are holding it in your hand and someone can verify that it has been serviced. It's a crap shoot, as we are all aware. I much prefer flea markets.  Pardon me for the micro-rant, but as most of us know, eBay is not the last word on valuations. 

If someone asks, I will usually tell them what I would pay for the item, which is rarely what they have in mind. 

Posted December 13, 2011 - 7:52pm

your right about ebay not being the last word on any type of collectables...but all and i mean all of people and businesses go by ebay and nothing you can sell some that is worth 100 and someone got lucky on ebay and got for 20 and the person or buyer will give five dollars..and the bid doesn't even have to have ended, and we all know the bid usually just up last long as some sees a price at anytime that is what they think its worth...when i say a watch is running excellent i have monitored the watch for days in different positions and when i clean i watch i clean everything and take down and put back yes there are people who give false descriptions all the time then give you trouble returning the item..recently i sent a watch back to person and they never refunded the 79 dollars on the watch, Ebay didn't do anything about and paypal is always a pain in the ass to deal with..i wish there was another way to sell my watches but there is nothing with as much buyers coming to see whats there...