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5 reasons to keep your watch box and papers

In our for thcoming auction, Fine Jewellery, Watches, Silver and Objects of Vertu, 28th November, we have a number of ‘full sets’ as they are known in the trade. Some by virtue of being very new, even to the point of being unworn, others because their owners cared enough to keep all the accessories, box, guarantee, service receipt, matching notebook (unused) and silk handkerchief…!

Senior Watch specialist, Adrian Hailwood, tells us why your watch’s box and papers should always be kept safely.

Lot 269, Arnold & Son stainless steel DSTB wrist watch
no. 31/250, automatic movement
Est. £7,500-9,500 (+fees)

  1. Many people don’t

Watch boxes are often bulky things, designed to impress at the point of purchase. This can make them difficult to store, consigning them to ‘the land that time forgot’ in the loft or a dark corner of the garage. Here they may get damaged or left behind when moving to a new house. Some owners just throw them out in frustration, storing their watches in a dedicated display box instead.

If you have kept your box and paperwork in good condition you are unusual – and so is your watch when you come to sell, and rarity is one of the factors that increases value. The older the watch, the more chance the packaging will have been lost and so the higher the premium if you have kept them.

Lot 266, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date,
ref. 1803/8, 18ct. gold bracelet watch,
no. 5106674, circa 1977
Est. £5,000-7,000 (+fees)

2. Greater sense of authenticity

With the help of modern technology, box watch box and paperwork can be counterfeited – something our specialists check carefully for. That said, the presence of the original box and paperwork, especially for a period piece, lends an extra assurance of authenticity, giving the buyer confidence to pay more.

lot 217, Breguet XXI automatic chromograph,
serial 111289, boxed and documents
Est. £2,500-3,500 (+fees)

3. Greater sense of honesty

All the watches sold at Dreweatts are checked against the Art Loss Register to ensure that they do not have a shady past. The sale of a watch with all its attendant packaging reinforces this message of honesty as watches are rarely stolen as a whole ‘package’, especially given point 1 and the fact that they are usually stored apart.


Lot 254, Rolex Submariner, ref. 5508, James Bond,
stainless steel, no. 400499, circa. 1959, automatic movement
Est. £5,000-7,000 (+fees)
Lot 255, Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master,
ref. 1675, stainless steel bracelet wristwatch, circa. 1967,
Est. £4,000-6,000 (+fees)

4. More giftable

Watches make popular gifts, an while die-hard watch collectors may be delighted to receive a scruffy ‘barn find’ most would like to feel the watch is ‘as new’ even when they know it is not. When applied to a contemporary watch the recipient is more likely to compare their gift to the current retail price making the gift seem considerably more generous.


Left to right: Lot 266, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, ref. 1803/8,
18ct. gold bracelet watch, no. 5106674, circa 1977
Est. £5,000-7,000 (+fees)
Lot 268, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, ref. 18238,
18ct gold bracelet wristwatch, no. L930928, circa 1989
Est. £5,000-7,000 (+fees)
Lot 259, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, ref. 16518,
18ct gold wrist watch, circa 1991
Est. £7,000-9,000 (+fees)
Lot 267, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, ref. 18048,
18ct gold bracelet wristwatch, no. 9588320, circa 1987
Est. £5,000-7,000 (+fees)

5. The good feeling that the watch had a caring owner

When buying a pre-owned watch, it is comforting to think that the previous owner took great care of it, wore it gently, serviced it regularly meaning that it has many more years of life to give its new keeper. It may not have been your pride and joy but when it come time to sell, the presence of box and papers at least marks you out as someone who, at the very least… can be bothered to keep the box and papers. This implied a greater level of care in all other areas.

The catalogue for this auction will be available soon online at: www.dreweatts.com

For more information on buying or consigning watches at auction with Dreweatts, contact Adrian Hailwood: ahailwood@dreweatts.com | +44 (0)1635 553 553