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Yes you should be able to find quite a few catalogs online if you put the manufacturers name and then watch advertisments or vintage watch advertisments etc. in Google ie: “Elgin watch advertisements”.
I really wish I could help you with your other question but I’m not up on what grades or models of different American watch manufacturers would be your best choice and I don’t follow the different movement prices at all. It’s been quite a few years since I regularly bought and sold watches and when I did they were certain types of European watches that needed quite a bit of restoration work before I would resell them. I did sell some American watches from my site for a little while but again that was only for a short period of time and is not something I know much about.
My recommendation though would be to choose one manufacturer first and learn all you can about grades, models, history, prices and demand of that particular brand before moving on to other manufacturers. Parts for Elgin, Waltham and other biggies are more plentiful and that may be something to consider when choosing.
Concerning what quality to choose…that’s also a tough one as many highly collectible watches can have lower quality movements while some high quality watches may not be that collectable at all. I will say though that higher quality movements are usually more repair friendly and will most likely cut down on returns due to performance failure.
There are also the very high grade highly collectible Railroad watches where the profit margins are generally small. Knowing as much as possible about these watches before entering this competive market is crucial as one mistake will easily eat up any potential profit.
Highly collectible watches generally means buyers are highly knowlegable collectors willing to pay prices only within a tight price range leaving little if any margin for error whereas selling into a market that buys a watch purely for its ascetic appeal will often allow for a much more open and broad selling price range.
What I’ve said here I believe also holds true for wrist watches in many cases. An example would be Rolex. Very small profit margin and VERY little room for error. Profits are made through volumn sales. In contrast there are low quality Character watches that can sometimes be picked up at flea markets for next to nothing and after a little cleaning can command high prices. Also vintage watches sold at the retail level rather than the collectors level can prove quite profitable.
Lot’s to choose from I know but it really boils down to what fills your requirements and especially what suits your interests. If I decided to buy and sell into the Rolex market I would most likely go broke in no time at all. The competition is ruthless and they know their stuff! Whereas going into say the ladies vintage market would probably be much easier as collectibility is low while aesthetics is extremely important.
I know your interest is in pocket watches and that I’ve touched on lots of stuff here. I sited wrist watches just to make the point that if your interests lie with the collectible market then you will need to learn learn learn everything you can about what you decide to deal in. That’s why starting with and specializing in only one brand is so helpful.
Hope this helps B,