A luxury watch is an investment piece and the timepieces made by the biggest brand names in the business like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Tag Heuer are held in great esteem, so hold their value. While you may love your designer watch, there may come a time when you want to sell it. Maybe you want to downsize your collection or you need some funds because you have your eye on a new watch.
Because your luxury watch carries a significant value, you can’t just stick it on an auction site or Craigslist without some serious consideration. Selling a watch can be quite overwhelming, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve done it so there’s no embarrassment in getting a little help and advice.
Here are our top 5 tips for selling your watch successfully so you get the best sale price.
1. Find a Reputable Dealer
There are various routes for selling a luxury watch. There are online marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist and also dedicated websites and watch forums. Pawn shops are another option as are jewelers who deal in secondhand goods and also auction houses.
Each has its pros and cons:
eBay – While this is an easy way to sell anything with a huge pool of potential buyers, some buyers are put off making bids on sellers without an established reputation. eBay also charges fees and commissions that will reduce your profit.
Craigslist – This applies to other online marketplaces and forums too. You might not only not get the widest audience for your sale but there are security risks. Most of these transactions take place in person and also with cash. which might be a hassle.
Pawn shop – the most obvious reason to not sell your designer watch to a pawnbroker is that you won’t get full value. Although you would probably be offered a reasonable price, pawn shops make more money from pawned items (loans) than items for sale.
Jeweler – Jewelry is the main focus for most local jewelry stores and you are unlikely to get a good price for something they would consider an ancillary product. Most will lack the knowledge and experience to know the true market value of your watch.
Auctions – While a good idea for a unique or particularly special watch, a widely available Rolex will lack competition among buyers. Auction houses also charge quite a hefty commission – the minimum is usually 20 percent of the hammer price.
The best option for selling a high-quality watch to get the best possible price is a reputable pre-owned watch dealer. This is because a watch dealer:
- will keep their eye on the pre-owned market to analyze prices and changing trends
- will probably have been around for quite some time and will have a good reputation and a solid customer base. This can be checked through testimonials and review sites
- will have an efficient and secure platform for trading – usually a brick-and-mortar store and a website.
2. Gather Together All the Documentation You Have For Your Watch
A watch is easier to sell if you can prove its authenticity and have all the documentation from your original purchase. There are many fake luxury and designer watches around so it is best to not even allow any doubt to creep into your potential buyer’s mind about your watch’s genuineness.
Ideally, you should have:
Purchase documentation and original box – not having these will not prevent a sale but they do authenticate your watch and will help you get a good price. For some models, an original box can significantly increase the best price offer.
Model name, model number, and serial number – on some brands (like Rolex), these numbers are engraved onto the watch, otherwise, they will be quoted on your sales receipt, appraisal, or warranty document.
Sales receipt, warranty, and service papers – as well as providing additional proof of authenticity, these documents give the buyer a service history – a record of repairs, replacement parts, and cleaning of the watch.
Other issues important in this context are that your watch has all its original parts and the general condition of your watch. If parts have been replaced, inform the buyer, and if you still have the originals include them in the deal. If there are scratches, scuffs, or dents, or if the bracelet has lost some stretch, they will impact the resale value of the watch.
3. Always Get a Quote
Usually, a preowned watch dealer will have an online form you can submit. The form will ask for your watch‘s identification details such as those mentioned above and you’ll probably be asked to upload some photos.
Take very good photos of your watch. Watches aren’t the easiest thing to photograph so spend a little time getting pictures with close-up details, good color representation, and without glare. Get some clues from social media or watch websites.
This information is used to give you a quote. Most quotes are usually free and non-binding.
The initial quote is usually a statement of the minimum and maximum price the dealer will offer. A firm quote will not be provided until the dealer has examined the actual watch.
4. Send Your Watch For Inspection
The best option, if possible, is to visit your preferred dealer in person. If so, make sure you see a professional and experienced dealer to do the valuation and not just a general salesperson. If you have to send your watch away, you need to be sure it is safe in transit. A reputable watch dealer will advise you on the best method to send the watch to them and will usually cover the cost of insurance. Some will also cover the cost of shipping. Check the terms and conditions of having the watch returned to you too, if you do not accept the dealer’s offer.
If you have to be responsible for shipping yourself, make sure to choose a method that carries the appropriate level of insurance and keep all the documentation.
5. Check the Method of Payment
How the dealer will pay you is important but before you confirm this you need to make sure the basis on which the sale is being made. The quote should be a price for a firm sale. Do not be pulled into a consignment sale. This is where a dealer will sell the item on your behalf and you only get paid when the dealer has made a successful sale. The dealer may also get a considerably higher price for a consignment sale than they offer you. Yes, they have to make a profit on their watch sales but you also deserve a decent and fair price.
The common method watch dealers use to pay for the used watches they buy is an overnight check, an effective payment in 24 hours. Other dealers may prefer a direct transfer. If you’re offered a choice, select the one you are most comfortable with.
Be realistic in your expectations of how much you will get for your watch. Do some research as to what the current market value is. Take appropriate measures every step to ensure you only contact reputable watch dealers and protect your watch while it is still in your possession.
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