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Does Polishing A Watch Affect Its Value?

Joe P. from Belarus asks:

My question concerns when a watch is sent in for service. The recommended time period to service my watch is coming due. Once sent to the manufacturer, I understand it will be inspected and serviced to the manufacturers exacting levels. I am specifically wondering what is the normal watch advice, for the owner, if polishing is recommended by the manufacture. Does this diminish, enhance or maintain the value of the timepiece?

It sounds like you are asking if polishing your watch during servicing will affect its value. That is a good questions and highly subjective to the collector. If you want to preserve the value of your watch as vintage, then polishing is not recommended. The same goes for replacing anything visible – hands, dial, bezel. A full movement service, on the other hand, is an excellent idea.

Vintage valuations are very random, so we’d personally recommend you enjoy the watch, and have whatever you want done that strikes your fancy. Most vintage watches lose value with the exception on marquee brands like Rolex and such. There are also instances where collectors like items like crystals and dials to be preserved, but like cases that look “worn.”

Service-polished watches don’t always look like newly polished watches as different techniques are used. We believe that often times, cases are polished by default when sent in for servicing. If you don’t want your watch to be polished then it is often best to request that the polishing service is not done.

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  • laup nomis

    I have heard than some of the more haute brands don’t give you a choice.
    You can ask not to have it polished, but if they feel it needs to be done, then that’s what will happen. Mainly because they know better than the customer (sic), and they don’t want a watch that’s had an official service looking like it’s just come from the skip.

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