Heirlooms are important: they provide a link to our forebears and the more generations that a piece of jewellery or a fine watch has passed down through, the more important they become. Engravings giving dates and occasions provide proof that those long-ago figures existed and give a concrete date for a moment in their life. These pieces, by their very nature – the age often makes them unique, and they are usually made from precious metals and gemstones – are sometimes worth a lot of money. But the sentimental value and connection to family members makes it very difficult to sell these items, even in times of need.
Everyone needs ready cash at one time or another: this is a simple fact. But it’s possible to raise money on sentimental family items, without letting the piece fall permanently into other hands. At Pawnbrokers of Rodeo Drive, we offer a first-class service, with a specialism in fine watches, jewellery, and even luxury cars and works of art.
How It Works
Let us assume you have, for example, a beautiful Breguet watch, a Perpétuelle from 1780, when the company was just getting famous for its innovative technology. Your great, great grandfather was interested in the latest industrial inventions and was just tickled with the idea of having a watch that never needed winding in much the same way that you are intrigued by the latest offerings of the technological age. So he snapped it up, maybe marking the occasion by having the watch engraved on the date of purchase. The watch has been handed down through the generations, and is now yours, in trust for your children, and grandchildren and so on. But…
It’s a tough time economically and you need access to some ready funds to invest in an opportunity that you’ve heard about: one of those rare opportunities that must be snapped up before the door closes and it’s too late to buy in. You don’t want to sell the watch: it’s impossible to auction off all that family history and sentiment, but it seems so counterproductive to have so valuable a piece of metal simply sitting there… A little research tells you that less than a hundred Perpétuelles (which, by the way, were known as the watch of kings because so many royals bought the beautiful and reliable watches) were made by Breguet and this obviously boosts the value even more.
But there is a way to access much-needed finance without selling off your loved and treasured possessions. Why not put the item up as collateral on a loan? In short, pawn the piece for ready funding, while your item is looked after safely until you pay off the loan and redeem your heirloom. At Pawnbrokers of Rodeo Drive, we understand the needs of our customer and our loan service is fast, discreet and confidential.
The Loan Service
Our loan service is strictly by appointment only, so there is no need to queue at the counter. Send an enquiry using our online form, and we will respond with a complimentary appraisal and approximate loan estimate. We are able to provide estimated appraisals over the phone too, or in person if you want to bring your piece in for a face to face evaluation. If you have any provenance, be sure to mention this too: it can help prove the item’s value and authenticity. Provenance is the word used for items like an original invoice, an industry expert’s certificate of authenticity or other documentary proof that the item is an original.
Antique watches are a fantastic item for collectors, being relatively small and holding their value reasonably well. We see many fine watches and will be able to let you know the value of your timepiece, as well as informing you as to how much you would be able to borrow against the item.
Be sure of getting the best offer for your watch by looking after it appropriately: do not use harsh chemicals on it, do not try to cover over any damage. Also be aware that it’s best not to have vintage pieces repaired: they can do better, value-wise, with all original parts even if they are not working.
Best Selling Watches at Auction
Watches can be simple, time-telling devices, or they can be something a bit more interesting. In older times when the idea of a man wearing jewellery was not the done thing, his watch was one of the few exceptions, and an expensive and beautifully crafted watch became the sign of a well-dressed, successful man. These days there is less of a need for time-telling as smartphones can do this, along with many other things, but a fine watch still has a place in today’s world, helping to polish the image and building the brand of the wearer. There is a thriving trade in both new and second-hand fine watches, and below are examples of some of the most expensive watches recently sold at auction.
Rolex is a high-end watch brand – arguably the best known of all. It will be no surprise that the highest price gained for a fine watch at auction was for a Rolex. To be specific, it was a Daytona known as ‘The Unicorn’. The watch was made in 1970 as a special commission for the customer, and what sets it apart from any other Rolex Daytona is the fact that it is made from white gold, rather than the more customary stainless-steel or yellow gold. The Unicorn recently sold at auction for almost six millions US dollars – its uniqueness, no doubt, was a major reason for that impressive price tag.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 is a very high-quality watch, going for as much as six hundred thousand US dollars retail. What makes this particular watch special is the fact that it was retailed at Asprey, the very exclusive British department store that has catered to the exceedingly well-off since 1781. This particular watch was made in 1952, which now makes it a vintage piece, and boasts signatures on the dial from both the retailer and the manufacturer: Patek Philippe and Asprey. It also has Patek Philippe on the caseback, along with a London import mark, and a hallmark from Asprey. So high-end is the store that being accepted for sale in those hallowed premises can boost the value of an item! The Asprey Patek Philippe sold at auction in 2006 for a then-record price of 2.2 million dollars. It sold again in 2018 for more than 3.9 million dollars: almost doubling the original investment made by the seller.
Of course, these two watches made so much money at auction because they are unique: there is something about them that sets them apart from other fine watches. But even ‘normal’ fine watches can achieve excellent prices at auction, with the Rolex Daytona and the Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 both appearing more than once in the top ten list of highest amounts gained at auction.
Pawning a fine watch is, one could say, a way of safeguarding your family’s history while accessing the cash you need to maintain or improve that family situation in the now. If you have a fine watch and some financial constraints, why not use our online form to ask us how we can help you?
If you are looking to sell your watch in the LA or Beverly Hills area, then Pawnbrokers of Rodeo Drive will buy your watch from you today! For more specific information on each of over 43 brands of fine watches we buy or loan against please visit our dedicated watches loans page, or visit some of the pages of the individual brands: Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger Le Coultre, Omega, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Nardin, A Lange & Sohne, Preziuso, AudemarsPiguet, Bamford, Blancpain, Breguet, Breitling, Bvlgari, Cartier, Franck Muller, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille, Rolex, or Vacheron Constantin to name just a few of the many brands we buy or loan against.