As you all probably know, the difference in price between a watch with full box and papers compared to one without can result in a significant difference depending on the brand and model of a watch. When you take a closer look at the significance of having the box and papers, it does not really do much other than provide the assurance that the watch is authentic and the serial number matches the ones indicated on the certificate, after all, you are not going to wear the box and papers (i hope).
However, since value is subjective, there are collectors who strive to have the best of the best, and once you have attained the best condition watch, the next thing to look towards is that the watch comes with box and papers, and this results in a box and paper chase. With demand for these seemingly "useless" enhancements to the watch, premiums are charged for these watches. After all, just like collecting memorabilia like baseball cards, comic books etc, the ones that are completely mint and in original packaging command the greatest value, and it may not be easy to comprehend, but there are top collectors that do not collect watches for the sake of wearing, but for keep sake, and thus it would make sense to buy the watch box and certificate despite not having any "real" purpose.
I may talk smack about the lack of function of having box and papers, but of course if given a choice, i would personally prefer my watches that come with box and papers and may even pay slightly more for one that comes complete, i mean it is always good to know that you have the full set of something and also, there will be a another buyer willing to pay more than what you did if you decide to sell in the future. However, the maximum i would pay for a watch with box and papers would be up to 20-30% additional of the market value of the watch alone. The papers of a watch is definitely the more important piece of the puzzle as most watch boxes can be found and purchased separately, but the certificate of the watch is unique to the watch itself. Take for example the watch below, a beautiful vintage Tudor Honeycomb 7914 with papers fetched a whopping 3700 usd which is 200% the price of what you should expect to pay of a similar piece. It really makes me wonder how value is truly determined.
All perspectives aside, regardless of whether you are like me - reluctant to over pay for a watch with box and papers or if you are a hardcore collector that believes in having the full set of something, it is important to note that due to the high demand for watches with box and papers, there are counterfeited boxes and even papers being circulated in the market, and extremely high quality ones too, in particular for Rolex watches. Extreme care has to be taken when buying these watches that come with boxes and papers especially if they are charging a premium. It is also fairly common to see 100% authentic watches being paired together with period incorrect boxes and un-stamped papers and seller may try to ask for a higher price. Remember, as with buying watches, due diligence has to be done when checking for boxes as well as the certificates and always buy the seller.
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