Over the weekend I was going through some junk I’ve not touched for twenty years. Among a LOT of other stuff I found a bunch of old, probably dead, Timex watches. This was totally no bigee.
But there was one other watch in with the old Timex junker watches. I did not know it was there and I really cannot recall why I have this watch. It is a gold LeCoultre timepiece from circa 1960, and it works just fine!!
Looking this thing up on eBay it could easily be worth a thousand bucks!! It certainly does not belong in a junk box. If you’e thinking “who is this guy trying to kid”:
For my entire life I’ve never worn anything on my hands or wrists. It’s just a “thing” I have; cannot explain it. I never wear rings of any sort or nature. I never wear any sort of wristwatch and never have. I own several pocket watches. On the rare occasions I need to have a watch, I carry a pocket watch or wear one on a cord around my neck. But never anything on my hands or wrists.
Also back at that time I certainly did not have the kind of money it took to buy a LeCoultre watch; not even close. I have to assume these watches belonged to my dad. He passed away many years ago. If the LeCoultre watch was instead given to me long ago I would just have set it aside and forgotten it, as appears to have happened.
Anyway, can anyone help? Does anyone know about watches? The watch seems to run well and it is keeping excellent time. Should I just leave it alone or should it be serviced? Are wristwatches cleaned and oiled? This thing, insofar as I can determine, has 17 jewels. Do you clean and oil jewels?
I can remember when I was younger there were watch repair services offered in many places. Searching now on the net, there seem to be not so many watch repairers as in the past. And I do not want to entrust this watch for service to someone who is not highly skilled in watch repair.
I really have no intent to sell the watch. It is small and valuable so seems to me a good store of value, like gold itself. Really I just have no clue how a knowledgeable “watch person” would proceed at this point, since I’m not at all such a person. Maybe the best course it simply to “do nothing”, leave it alone, and watch its value continue to ascend. I’m definitely not putting this LeCoultre back into my junk box.
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Perhaps surprisingly, you can find pages and pages of discussion of watches that cost more than beater cars over at Bogleheads. Here’s one such thread, although there are more recent ones.
Seems like there’s plenty of watch aficionados there to get some good advice if you wanted to post.
Reddit is another good source of info. The watches subreddit is typically pretty friendly to giving advice on what service it should have and where to send it.
edit: here’s a discussion on Jaeger-LeCoultre, and a subreddit for buying and selling.
Hopefully it’s something like this that you found - $149,000 retail.
Thanks to xerty and tmonkey. Much appreciated.
After writing the OP I began to have extremely vague memories of the watch. I’m now nearly sure this was my dad’s watch. It was so long ago, and memories fade . . . especially when something is not of prime importance even in real time. But I seem to recall my dad wearing this watch perhaps fifty years ago. We never had the money for something this expensive, but we did have a rich relative back then. My guess is the watch was given to my dad, used, by that relative.
The fact of it being a prized LeCoultre watch would never have registered with me long ago. It is only in recent years I have heard the commercials which include offers to buy certain brands of watches, LeCoultre being one of those brands. That is how I became aware of the LeCoultre name. It is funny, because the Timex watches almost surely also belonged to my dad. Dad was a normal person, unlike me, and wore a wristwatch like many people did back then.
Anyway, plan now is to simply leave the watch alone as it appears to be running just fine. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” will be my guide here. Also influential is a report I saw that it can cost $400 to service a LeCoultre watch!!!
I have 3 watches that belonged to my mother. She died 20 years ago. I wear one of them most of the time. It is an Omega & I had it appraised a couple years ago. Appraisal $20K. Beautiful but it is not electric as ALL watches are now.
You are right about finding a jeweler to clean or repair wristwatches. I took mine to a jewel shop in town & it had to be mailed to a nearby town to be cleaned. I took several weeks to get it returned. $200 for the cleaning.
So I will keep all 3 forever. I have 2 sons & I’m sure they will have no interest in the watches. I do have a daughter-in law, but she doesn’t even wear a watch. So who know what will happen to these prize keepsakes.
@shinobi, thanks for your post. It has prompted me to do some research on a Jules Jurgensen watch that my late father gave me over 30 years ago. He had bought it at an auction, confident that it was made before there was some kind of change of ownership or something which led to their making inferior products.
IIRC, my Dad told me he got it for $95 and said it was actually worth around $600. If any FDer can share any info on this make, I’d appreciate it.
Sign up and post here about it:
You will probably get more information than you’d like about it. Definitely don’t sell it like you said. It may need servicing at some point to prevent catastrophic failure with the movement (assuming it’s automatic). It’s just like a car engine, things will need to be cleaned, lubricated, and generally checked.