Edward Howkins, May 27 2022

How To Sell A Watch

How To Sell A Watch

The Watch Collectors’ Club exists to help our members to learn more about the world of watches. Like us, you may not want to keep your watches forever. You might want or need to sell a watch. This short guide will help you find the best place to sell your watch, and will help make the process as simple as possible for you. 

What Type of Watch You Are Selling?

The first thing you should do when you decide to sell a watch is to assess what type of watch you are selling. The questions you need to answer are: 

  • What brand and model is the watch?
  • How old is the watch? 
  • Do you have the box and authenticity papers?
  • What condition is it in? Does it have scratches on the case or the glass?

These factors all contribute to the price you can expect to receive for your watch. Once you have established these things, it is worth researching the price of similar watches. You can do this by using online marketplaces, such as Chrono24. 

Once you’ve worked out what you are selling and how much you might be able to sell the watch for, you need to decide where to sell the watch. The following sections explain the types of watches that you could sell via each channel, and what to expect when using them. 

This very rare Rolex Datejust could be sold to a specialist dealer

This very rare Rolex Datejust could be sold to a specialist dealer

Second-hand Dealers

Sometimes called grey-market dealers, these companies typically specialise in selling nearly new watches. If your watch is a current model from one of the big Swiss brands, a second-hand dealer might be interested in your watch. People buy watches from these dealers because they will often guarantee the authenticity of the watch, they might provide a warranty, and they will often be able to source watches that have long waiting lists (such as the Rolex sports models). 

You can sell your watch directly to them, or you can sell it on consignment. This means that they will advertise your watch in their store, and will pay you when someone buys it from them. Bear in mind the price you see a second-hand dealer sell a watch for is not what you will get by selling a watch to them. Typically, you would expect to pay a 10-20% commission to the dealer when you sell on commission. If the dealer buys your watch straight from you to sell onto their customers, they will aim to make a margin of between 5% and 30% of the value of the watch. This will depend on how quickly they expect to sell your watch. 

You will get the best price from a second-hand dealer if your watch has box and papers, have recently been serviced, and is in good condition.

This modern Omega Seamaster could be sold to a second-hand dealer

This modern Omega Seamaster could be sold to a second-hand dealer

A Specialist Dealer

If your watch is old, unusual or rare, you might find that a specialist dealer is able to pay you the highest price. This is because their customers will trust them to verify the provenance of a watch. This means that they will investigate the watch’s history, particularly whether parts have been replaced. This can drastically affect the value of the watch. These dealers are often experts in particular brands or ages of watch.

Somlo in London’s Burlington arcade is a great example of a specialist vintage dealer. They are world-leading experts in vintage Omega watches and are the only vintage dealer with an official relationship with Omega. They are also renowned dealers of other high-end vintage watches. Like other dealers, they will sell on commission, or buy directly from you. 

Some vintage Omega's being sold by a specialist dealer

Some vintage Omega's being sold by a specialist dealer

A Marketplace or Forum

You can also use an online platform or forum to sell your watch directly to a buyer. Some of the most popular are Chrono24, collectingwatches and eBay. These often provide a verification service to give buyers piece of mind that they are buying an authentic watch. Whilst the watch might not sell for the same price that a second-hand dealer would charge, you might end up making more money selling a watch this way, as the sales commission is typically lower. Ed, our Co-Founder, has sold multiple watches on Chrono24, and has found the process very simple. You can also sell directly to a collector using one of the specific watch collector online forums. 

Whether you use a platform or a forum, is vital to provide high-quality pictures – we’ve written about how to take pictures of watches. You must also write accurate descriptions of the watch that you are selling, including highlighting anything that might affect the price of the watch. This might include damage or replacement parts. Follow any guidelines for the platform to reduce the risk of being scammed and make sure that when you do sell a watch, that you package it very securely before posting it – you don’t want it to arrive damaged! Most platforms will now use an escrow service to reduce the risk of fraud from either the buyer or seller. If you are selling an expensive watch it might be worth the security of using a platform to provide marketing, verification and escrow services. 

A collection of military watches. These will probably fetch the best price on a forum dedicated to military watch collectors

A collection of military watches. These will probably fetch the best price on a forum dedicated to military watch collectors

Conclusion 

Selling a watch is easier than many people think. There are plenty of resources to help you understand the value of your watch, and a wide variety of dealers who can sell it for you. You can also use platforms to connect directly with buyers, however, it might take you longer to get a sale. We’ve sold watches using all of the different channels that we’ve explored in this blog. There is no single best way to do it, as it depends on the watch you are selling. It’s important to explore the options specific to your watch and to work out what is best for you. Don’t forget to check out our latest series of watch events. Come and join us to learn more about the world of watches. 

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Make the watch world simple

Make the watch world simple