Man buys $5.99 watch at Goodwill, sells it for $35,000


Some poor schlub’s mom finally got tired of him saying “but these watches will be worth something someday, they’re an investment! Now please be quiet and let me watch Superman in peace!” and donated his entire collection while he was out with friends at Clocksicon.


Huh. I guess it pays to know your brands. Never heard of that brand and honestly the font and everything looks cheesy and generic. So it would probably pass by my radar. I know when I hunt for deals at estate sales etc I look for something quality. Even if I don’t know a lot about it, the age, etc, if I can find something that is clearly quality for a good price I have been able to resell it for more than I paid.


Certainly the most interesting question is how this came to be at a Goodwill shop. The second most interesting question is why the buyer decided that the best way to showcase the watch was sitting in a pile of French fries:


OMG what a find! Maybe I need to start trolling goodwill more often, and tag sales, etc. Ugh I would love that watch!!! And yes, I would definitely keep it and wear it, not sell. I love me some Swiss watches. :slight_smile:

Um, because lobster = classy!


The guy who found the watch is very lucky. Usually the Goodwill (Salvation Army, Savers, etc.) employees are pretty sharp at spotting valuable items and they rarely go out for sale to the hoi polloi in the stores. Rather, they end up for sale online on ebay or craigslist, or occasionally disappear into someone’s pocket.

I keep dreaming of finds like that.
But the stuff estimator staff at our local goodwill is too good at their job.
I did get a very nice sounding piano and a working Lesley Speaker for fair prices though…

“Oliver Smith Jeweler in Scottsdale” and I have very different definitions of the word “worth…”

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In terms of mechanical luxury watches, LeCoultre is arguably second only to Rolex. However, LeCoultre is better known for their clocks, especially the Atmos “perpetual motion” (obviously it’s not) clock.


The mechanical alarm watches are pretty cool, but my favorites of that type are the minute repeaters -


In what context, I’m not sure. It’s tough.
JLC is considered to have a much more refined collection of watch movements finished to a much higher degree, and generally by hand. Rolex is certainly more well known and worn, however. Pretty much anyone that collects watches has (or had) at least one. In terms of sales by “company”-
The Swatch Group (Omega, Blancpain etc…) is the biggest.
Richmont (JLC, IWC, VC, etc…) is next
Rolex is third. Though that’s extremely impressive as they are but one brand.


If I felt like plunking down some money on a new watch, I’d say there’s a decent chance it would be a JLC Master Calendar. swoon

Wow… a windfall like that, and it sounds like he’s planning to donate none of the proceeds.

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He responded in the comments section on Hodinkee that he did make a donation to the Goodwill store.


It definitely pays to know your brands when it comes to watches; I’ve delved in to that world a bit as I took up the hobby of collecting some of the more moderately priced watches over the last couple of years. One doesn’t need to absolutely know the brand to spot a value though - pretty much anything that is an automatic (which you can tell by the “sweep” second hand and whether it starts running when you shake it vs already running (or not) when you pick it up, and with a step second hand) is going to be worth more than $35. Swiss made is best, though even most Seikos are worth more than $35 in good condition. Add a complication like a moonphase, GMT hand or chronograph and you’re talking more serious money. And from my limited knowledge, mechanical alarms are among the more valued complications.

If only knew what that watch had been through to get where it is today…

When I was in college I supplemented my income by buying gold and silver items from thrift shops, tag sales, etc. for pennies on the dollar and reselling them.

One of my primary sources was a large thrift shop that supposedly had a jeweler screen all of their jewelry and watches before they were put out on the sales floor, setting aside anything of value. Based on what I bought there I kind of doubted that their screener looked at the stuff very often or thoroughly.

Chips. In English, we call those ‘chips’. Although proper chips come slathered in gravy and are usually accompanied by pie. Fish suppers should only happen by the sea, so the fish is really fresh. Frozen, well-travelled fish is rank. Mushy peas are optional. Personally, I can’t stand ‘em (an’ me from Yorkshire an’ all - I’m a disgrace to me race).


The moral of this story is that there’s no accounting for what some dipshit will pay a mint for.

Shit, wait, no, watches are classy, I’m supposed to be impressed. Forget I said anything.


If he can find the watch does that mean he can find the guy wearing the watch?