Acquiring education and expertise
The following are some of the resources available to appraisers who want to learn to appraise watches or brush up on their skills and knowledge.
Watch associations. Attend their trade shows, network with participating dealers and collectors, and familiarize yourself with their chosen niche/brand. Some only deal in early 20th-century wristwatches, while others stick with sports models. The more time you spend at these events, the easier it will be to learn the who’s who of the watch-dealer market. NAWCC and the International Watch and Jewelry Guild (IWJG) are two major watch associations in the United States.
Watch education. Watch education is an evolving part of the industry. I have taken some excellent classes from the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, particularly Adam Harris’s ‘Luxury or Lie,’ which focuses on detecting counterfeits. NAWCC is currently updating its watch fundamentals course and offers many educational webinars. If you are anywhere near Columbia, Penn., I highly recommend a visit to the association’s watch and clock museum. The extensive collection shown there walks you through the history of horology in just a few hours.
Appraisal education. Learning appraisal methodology and understanding how it applies to watches is critical if you want to appraise watches. This can ensure your approach and value conclusion are relevant to your client and to how your appraisal report is being used. Appraisal theory is offered by several associations in Canada and the United States, including American Society of Appraisers (ASA), International Society of Appraisers (ISA), National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA), American Gem Society (AGS), and the Master Valuer program. More information about appraisal education may be found in my article, “Work in progress: What you need to know to become an appraiser (and maintain your skills)” in the July 2015 issue of this publication.